“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”
The final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of The Hunger Games series of novels, Mockingjay, originally published in 2010, follows on from the cliff-hanger of Catching Fire, with the echoing words that District 12 has been destroyed.
Transferred to District 13 in her fragile state, and now under the charge of President Coin, Katniss Everdeen must now become the iconic Mockingjay, a symbol of hope and courage in the revolution, to unify the districts of Panem, rescue Peeta, fight to save those she loves, and attempt to shatter the games forever.
The following post is a review of the book only. You can read my review of Part 1 of the film here in comparison to the book or Part 2 of the film here.
Catching Fire left us on a massive a cliff-hanger, leaving only one way for the trilogy to conclude, the only way a dystopian story should, with a final act of revolution. The best characteristics of a dystopia are always around the themes of standing up for yourself, fighting against wrong, and making a difference, and it’s what we’ve been waiting for Katniss to do. Now, she must become the iconic Mockingjay, a symbol of hope and courage in the revolution, to unify the districts of Panem, fight to save those she loves, and attempt to shatter the games forever.
It’s this focus on character that a majority of the book focuses on, seeing Katniss build up her strength and prepare for a revolution. This first half of the book works incredibly well to build up the atmosphere. Emotions of fear and desperation in a world nobody wants to live in are strong, and Katniss becomes the heroine she was born to be.
Throughout the trilogy of novels, the love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta has been a constant distraction, and it remains a heavy subject in this final book. But there are a few brilliant hurdles thrown into the plot to confuse things even more, with the team rescuing Peeta only to find that he has been ‘hijacked’ by the Capitol.
With Peeta’s rescue, Finnick being reunited with Annie, and Johanna recovering from the Capitol’s torture, these turn in events picks up the second half of the book, as Katniss attempts to bring Peeta back to reality and the rest of the team begin their training. As the preparation for the revolution begins, and after a lot of build-up to the third act of the book, the epic conclusions that we’ve all been waiting for are well and truly in motion.
Unfortunately, the revolution itself seems somewhat rushed in the book, especially after the lengthy scenes of District 13’s preparations. But there’s a lot that goes on before the attack against the Capitol, and there’s a lot that happens after it, too.
Of course, with such a huge, guns-blazing battle to end it all, there are more than a few deaths at the end of the book. The series hasn’t been shy of killing off its characters so far, unavoidably so with its bleak premise, but the deaths in this final book don’t nearly have the same impact as they have done in previous instalments. With most of them happening in a hurried moment, leaving them to fall insignificantly against the backdrop of everything else, you often find yourself re-reading paragraphs to make sure you hadn’t missed something.
It’s a huge shame that the deaths feel this way in the book, but, nevertheless, relationships are tested and conclusions are met.
For a final book in an impressive trilogy, Mockingjay is certainly the least imaginative and engaging of the series, but it’s still a brilliant end to the best young adult dystopian franchise of the over-crowded bunch.