Mockingjay is the third and final installment to the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. For me, Mockingjay was a bit of a let down. This trilogy had so much promise and was such a good idea but it fell prey to a bit of bad writing and lack of plot development by the author. Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the other two novels then you probably don’t want to read this review as it gives away parts of the plot from the other novels.
Plot: The Hunger Games trilogy is set in a futuristic setting or in an alternate universe where the United States is no more, and instead in its place is a nation called Panem that has a Capital (where life is good and the rich people are) and then 13 districts. Each district is known for producing something in particular and some are middle class and nice and some are poor and discouraged. The Capital used to rule the other districts using force to keep them in line. But now, thanks in part to Katniss, there is a rebellion brewing with the President of District 13 at its head.
Mockingjay starts with the rebels beginning to really fight against the Capital. War has begun. They have rescued Katniss, Finnick, and a couple of other victors from the Quarter Quell Hunger Games and the rest of the rebel victors have been captured by the Capital. Also District 12 (Katniss’s district) has been burned to the ground by firebombs. The rebels, freed victors and refugees from district 12 go to sector 13, which was supposedly destroyed but wasn’t. The population of sector 13 has been living underground ever since the last war. They have quite a bit of technology, as they were the nuclear sector. They have some hovercrafts and a very militarized, organized society. Food is highly regulated (since they don’t have much) as is all other necessities and everyone is given a schedule every day to follow. District 13 is the core of the rebellion and they have been waiting for the perfect time and situation to rebel and now they have it. Their president, Coin, is the leader of the rebellion and is expected to be the new president if the war is won by the rebels.
When we start the novel, Katniss has lost her mind, literally. Peeta was left behind and captured by the Capital so Katniss who hasn’t even blinked since the beginning of the trilogy—goes nuts. She basically wanders around sector 13 hiding in closets while the rebels determine the best way to use her as a figurehead to help win the war. They figure the other sectors will rally behind her as a figurehead. They start planning promos to film to use as war propaganda. They want to film Katniss saying and doing things that will encourage the rebelling sectors, but we all know how well Katniss performs on camera. Will Katniss pull it together and find someway to rescue Peeta and to achieve her ultimate goal, which is to kill President Snow? And will the rebels win the war or find themselves at the mercy of the Capital once again? You will have to read Mockingjay to find out.
I had high hopes for this series. I enjoyed Hunger Games, but could have completely skipped Catching Fire, and Mockingjay was a bit of a let down as well. I didn’t like what Collins did with the characters. I ended up not liking Katniss. She comes off as weak and mean in Mockingjay. She seems cold and indifferent to the two boys she supposedly loves. She is supposed to love and take care of her family but she basically ignores them while she is falling apart over Peeta whom she can ‘t even admit she loves. For me, this just adds up to a selfish character that I don’t want to know anything about. Gale comes off even harsher. He is more bloodthirsty than previously shown. He makes a great soldier, commander but a pitiful human being and boyfriend. We don’t get much interaction with Prim who could have had a decent role in this book, and we don’t get enough of Finnick who is one of the better characters of the series. The only characters I have ever liked in this series are Peeta, Finnick, Cinna and Rue.
Also this book could have used much more plot. It could have been expanded or separated into two books. We could have had more of the war in the Capital, which is fought way too quickly. We could have had more instances of Katniss fighting in other districts (which in my opinion were the best scenes in the book). And more importantly we could have had more character development. Also there are several instances were key turns in the plot we done off screen so to speak and not utilized to their fullest potential in the story.
Lastly, there are a lot of unanswered questions left for me. There were characters I wanted to know more about, and situations that weren’t fully explained. It was one of those “is that it?” moments when I finished the book.
Overall, I am glad I read the novel but I was disappointed. This is another case of good idea but bad writing in my opinion. If you liked the other two novels then you will probably like Mockingjay as well.