Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3) Review
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With the conclusion of Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, readers were promised a thrilling conclusion to Katniss Everdeen’s story. After all, author Suzanne Collins had spent two action-packed installments building up to a final showdown between President Snow and his followers in the Capitol and the rest of the people of Panem. Now, finally, in Mockingjay, the nation’s tension comes to a head.

As the finale opens, Katniss, Gale, and their families have moved into District 13, an underground community that, for years, was thought to be destroyed. Instead, it’s the tightly regulated head of the rebellion, where the leaders are eager to turn Katniss into their symbolic head: the Mockingjay. Reluctantly, Katniss agrees to the new role—but only after the leaders agree to her conditions, including a pardon for Peeta, who’s been captured by the Capitol and has been publicly speaking out against the rebellion ever since.

Tension continues to build between the Capitol and the rebels until war is the only remaining option. Not satisfied to continue to film propaganda pieces while others are out fighting, Katniss demands to be allowed to join the battle, her sights set on killing President Snow.

While earlier books in the trilogy were certainly tense and thrilling, Mockingjay takes the action to a completely different level. The conclusion is dark and gritty and somber, with less fanfare (and hope) than before. While the action in the previous books was definitely life-or-death, this time, it’s not just a deadly game that’s organized (and controlled) by the Capitol. It’s a real war, with so much more than just the usual 23 tributes going to their death. This time around, thousands of innocent people lose their lives, giving the story an ominously heavy feel.

Meanwhile, after getting to know the main characters throughout the first two books in the trilogy, it’s fascinating to see how they’ve grown and changed—and not all for the better—throughout the series. Katniss has been transformed from a stubborn kid to a strong, determined (yet still uncompromising and rebellious) young leader. Though her actions are sometimes rather troubling, you’ll understand her motivation, and you’ll hope for the best for her and her friends.

Unfortunately, the real action of the story feels rather rushed. The battles are horrifying, but they’re almost brushed over as the book hurries to its conclusion. After two books of build-up, fans deserved just a little bit more—a little more action, a little more explanation, a little more closure. And when it all comes to an end, many readers may find themselves scratching their heads, still mulling over the outcome.

In the end, Mockingjay is a rather perplexing end to a captivating series. Of course, if you’ve read (and enjoyed) the first two books in the series, you’ll want to check it out. But don’t go into it expecting a perfectly satisfying conclusion.

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