Thursday, April 26, 2012
My Review of MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
Photo Credit: Scholastic Press
SPOILERS of the previous two books in THE HUNGER GAMES
For seventy-four years the nation of Panem has punished its twelve outlying districts for a failed uprising by forcing each of the districts to send one teenage boy and one teenage girl to a televised fight to the death held annually called The Hunger Games. It’s a sick world where a powerful Capitol finds its greatest enjoyment in the annual bloodshed of the Games. Up to this time, the districts have been held in submission. No one is rebelling, and no one believes they even could. Until in the seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen commits an act of defiance that forces the Gamemakers to choose two winners instead of one. When the Capitol tries to rectify Katniss’ defiance by forcing Katniss and Peeta Mellarck to partipate in another Hunger Games, a secret faction of rebels breaks her out of the arena and takes her to the once-thought-annihilated District 13. The districts of Panem have been pushed to the brink by the murder of their children in The Hunger Games, but they need a symbol to unite them against the Capitol and end the Games once and for all. As Katniss assumes the role of Panem’s Mockingjay, she must battle the despair she feels over the widespread loss of life her actions have caused and the fate of Peeta who has been kidnapped by the Capitol. Can the rebels win? Can Katniss be the symbol that unites them? Will she ever see Peeta again? The race to the end is thrilling, heartbreaking, and full of surprises.
When it comes to the third book in a trilogy, all bets are off. Everyone is dispensable. Anything can happen. And the tension is raised higher than it ever has before. MOCKINGJAY, the final book in THE HUNGER GAMES Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, kept me up at night. Because I had to finish it and because I felt like I had to deal with the difficult themes it wrestled with. MOCKINGJAY is a book that will make you think long after it’s over and feel the emotions it provokes even longer than that. It’s what you would expect after you’ve been invested in these characters for three books.
I had to wrestle with this one for a couple days because as a piece of dystopian literature, the ending is bittersweet. I didn’t want the story to end, but all great stories must come to an end. For Katniss, the journey to the final page of MOCKINGJAY is mired in heartache and widespread loss of life. The twists and turns of this story kept me reading until the end. In fact, I read MOCKINGJAY in two days.
In the end, I think Suzanne Collins wrote an incredible finale to an emotionally stirring series. I’ve read that many people were disappointed with it, but as the story unfolded, I understood that within the context of the story Collins was trying to tell, the events leading up to the end made since.
There’s a chilling scene near the end that I won’t give away, but it was a brilliant move on Collins’ part to raise the unsettling question of whether the rebels who are trying to overcome the Capitol might just end up another incarnation of the Capitol. Though the goal is to stop The Hunger Games, will the rebels actually stop it or see it as something necessary to maintain control? MOCKINGJAY, as well as the other two books, is a startling exploration of the inner darkness that seems to dwell in human hearts.
MOCKINGJAY explores some weighty themes such as love, vengeance, war, and ultimately hope for a better world. Collins has created a thrilling and thought-provoking story that stands along some of the greatest stories of our time. People will be talking about this one for a long time.