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Suzanne Collins' 'Mocking Jay': A Review

Updated on April 22, 2012

Pages: 390

Rating: ***

'Mocking Jay' follows 'Catching Fire' and is the third and final book of 'The Hunger Games' series. Thankfully! Collins could have easily stretched out the series to include at least two more books. There is a lot of ground that could be covered in between the last two chapters. I say thankfully that the series ends here because this novel seems very inconsistent, and the plot seems just a bit ridiculous in some places. Given the nature of the story, the progression makes some sense, but when you consider Katniss as a character, it just doesn't seem natural.

After escaping the second arena, Katniss and several of the other tributes find themselves deep within the bowels of the elusive district thirteen. Mentally disoriented and confused by the traumas caused by the Capitol and the blood shed, Katniss wanders around in a daze, surviving on a day to day basis. After weeks of being a recluse, she is forced to accept several harsh truths. District twelve has been decimated by fire bombs, most of her fellow villagers are dead and Peeta is still being held captive by the Capitol. With the lingering sting of her slap with reality, Katniss begins some tough negotiations and agrees to become the Mocking Jay, the face who will inspire the districts to stand up and fight the Capitol. Her first order of business, rescue Peeta, alive. Katniss soon suspects a trap has been set when Peeta's rescue goes rather smoothly. What she finds is her friend has become an assassin hellbent on destroying the Mocking Jay. Going through incredibly torturous brainwashing, the Capitol has convinced Peeta that Katniss caused the destruction of their home and only used him as a pawn in the Games. As the rebels begin to plan their strike that will bring the Capitol down, Katniss must focus on several important issues: How can I put the past behind me? How can I protect Prim? Can Peeta be saved? How does Gale fit into everything?

Although I absolutely adored the first two novels, Collins made the right decision to end the series here. While the book keeps the incredibly fast paced dramatic formula, the plot at times just became over the top. We see Katniss transform from rogue hunter to gun toting army sergeant, and I'm not convinced. The mental issues are completely understandable. I don't think that any person to survive The Hunger Games would ever be the same again. Jumping from mental instability to drug use to paranoia would seem to be fairly common given the post traumatic stress disorder inducing conditions. The first two entries made life seem so primitive. To jump from simple to nuclear is such a system shock that it makes the story all the more unbelievable. As the story ends, the scene jumps from the heat of battle straight into a more tranquil setting. Which, I wouldn't mind accept it seems that a lot of time has passed. What happened? I will give the story credit for surprising me with the ending. I would hate to be Katniss in real life and have to deal with the horrible consequences that the conclusion brings. Nevertheless, I'm grateful to have an ending, even though my appetite was satisfied with 'Catching Fire'. I gave 'Mocking Jay' an average three stars for not being able to soar above Collins' prior fiery games.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)

The dramatic conclusion to the 'Hunger Games' series.


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