Book Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins

Posted: 5 May 2014 in Book reviews
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In the final volume of the epic trilogy by Suzanne Collins, we find Katniss surveying the ruins of what once was District 12.  After Katniss was rescued from the arena with Finnick and Beetee, the Capitol retaliated by decimating her home.  Those that could escape, thanks to Gale, were relocated to District 13, which until now had long been thought destroyed.

But life in District 13 isn’t exactly roses.  District has thrived solely because they harnessed the nuclear weapons that could have destroyed the Capitol.  And like before, they are still in the forefront of the rebellion.  They now have Katniss, the symbol of the rebellion.  But she isn’t exactly who President Coin wanted.  She wanted Peeta as he is likeable, unlike Katniss.  But like it or not, she is the symbol, the mockingjay.  And it only seems to make her life hell.

First, her relationship with Gale has taken a dire blow and only seems to get worse.  He is all for the rebellion and this seems to drive a wedge between them as she tries to reason whether or not the deaths of all these people is worth it.  With each assault and battle, he becomes more hardened while she becomes more confused.  They both have the same goal, but different approaches to how it should be reached.

Then there is Peeta who is still captive in the Capitol.  There are broadcasts sent from the Capitol in which Caesar speaks with him and he explains his view on the whole war with District 13 not really knowing what is being done to him.  It isn’t until Peeta warns them of an attack that he is noticeably different.  His warning saves the people in District 13, but results in his torture.  A rescue mission is sent for him shortly thereafter, but what they bring back is only a shadow of the man Peeta once was.  During his torture, he was made to believe that Katniss was a mutt and never human.  All his memories of her have been tainted and he feels extreme anger whenever she is around or mentioned.  It seems almost hopeless to reverse the severe damage done to him.

Now the time has come to attack the Capitol. But some obstacles are put in Katniss’ path. Once she has proven physically able to fight, she learns that she won’t be actually fighting in the Capitol. That is until the arrival of Peeta at the front lines. She then understands that President Coin intends for her to die, a martyr to their cause. But that isn’t going to happen. Until a filming session where disaster strikes and the team’s only option is to move into the city. One by one they are picked off as they fight to reach President Snow’s residence. Once they arrive there, the unthinkable happens, shattering Katniss’ world forever.

You really have to feel bad for Katniss at this point. She can’t seem to catch a break. She’s put into two Hunger Games, grew up dadless, the life of her family is threatened always, everyone she knows dies or ends up dying, Peeta turns on her after torture, Gale turns on her because she isn’t so gung-ho about the whole rebellion thing, President Coin wants her dead, blah, blah, blah. And no, things don’t get much better from where I ended the synopsis (hence why I ended where I did). You really just have to feel bad for the girl. But holy hell, if only I were as strong as she is. I just got all annoyed for the last month because someone didn’t apologise to my face. She’s getting shot at and shit and she just brushes it off. Makes the phrase ‘turn the other cheek’ come to mind.

As the final book of the series, it wraps up the story quite nicely. What I really like about (and of course obviously hate) is that not everyone comes out unscathed at the end. People die, are scarred (emotionally and physically), the world is changed with the hope that a new, better one can be built from the ashes. While it sucks, I love that because that is the reality of life. It’s why I also love Harry Potter and hate (well one of the bajillion reasons I hate) Twilight. It was hard not having Peeta swoon over Katniss. It was sad knowing that Cinna was dead. But that’s what makes a book feel real.

There are a couple new characters thrown into the mix here. We have President Coin (the leader of Disctrict 13), Boggs, and the film crew. Not that they were pivotal characters, just they were constants. President Coin was important though. She was not a very nice person. In reality, she was a lot like Snow. It was no wonder Katniss didn’t completely trust her.

There was one thing that kinda confused me and didn’t seem realistic. So Peeta was tortured to believe that Katniss was a Mutt and it didn’t seem likely that there was any way to reverse the damage. Well it seemed like there was some option, and then before you know it, he is manageable (albeit not perfect) and able to control his uncontrollable desire to kill Katniss. Now, not sure if this is me, but most of the time it takes quite a long time to perform tests, and then even longer to ensure that the patient is actually getting better. This book seemed to take place over a matter of months so the reality of this happen is highly unlikely. Now I may be wrong (if so please tell me), but that is my view.

If I were to be critical of the book, I would have to say that it has less action than the prior two. It also feels almost too big. I mean we are talking about a rebellion here and it happen in less than a year. Wars in the real world aren’t even over that quickly. It felt rushed a bit. I wish that the element of time had played a larger role in the book. What I mean is the expression of time. For myself, it was almost impossible to determine how much time actually transpired from the rescue from the games to the collapse of the Capitol. Maybe I just missed it.

Otherwise I obviously enjoyed the book. Part of me is glad there is no more, because honestly, I don’t know how much more that poor girl can take, but a part of wishes there was another book. Oh well. I hope you enjoy/ed the series as much as I did 😉

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  1. Great review! I’m reading this right now and at first I was a little hesitant to read what you had to say in case there were major spoilers so thank you for writing a review that was informative and spoiler-free 😀


    • cetracy says:

      you’re welcome and thank you! i hate when people spoil things for me as well so i try to not do the same to others. glad you enjoyed it 🙂


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