Mockingjay, the third and final book in Suzanne Collins‘ Hunger Games trilogy, in my experience is the most controversial in the series. People that I’ve talked to feel no indifference, they love it or hate it. I loved it. I’m embarrassed to actually say this, but reading the book felt very deep to me. And although I usually try to keep spoilers out of these reviews, I didn’t know how to analyze the book with out giving some of the major plot points away.
The political commentary that is hinted at in Hunger Games, and brought to light in Catching Fire is on steroids in this book. As Katniss learns to take her place in the rebel District 13, the reader learns that just because the Capitol is bad doesn’t mean that the rebels are good.
In a series where control is a looming theme, District 13 with their stringent rules, tattooed schedules, and strict regulation of food intake is almost more controlling than the capital. The role of celebrity culture and propaganda comes center stage, as Katniss reluctantly embraces her place as the face of the rebellion. There is also a strong theme of ends justifying means. In district 2 should they eliminate the population hiding in the mountain? Does the victory against the capital justify the purposeful loss of Prim?
What is strange, and I think effective, about the books is that while these serious themes are on steroids so are the traditional YA elements. The love triangle is more present in this book than the other two. Katniss is shown as more selfish than ever. Leading to the next question, does what she’s been through justify her selfish behavior.
I read in the NYT review that the book, like the capital, uses the things we are attached to against us. This seemed pretty spot on for me. Peeta remained by largest connection to the book. Although his torture and its aftereffects broke my heart, it made their love story more interesting, equal, and further invested me in it. “Real or not real?” was definitely my favorite narrative device used.
The end of the book left me with a lot of questions. Namely, why did Katniss and Haymitch vote yes at the end and did Katniss plan to assassinate Coin? I also felt like the epilogue could have been a little longer. After 3 books of nonstop tragedy, a few more pages of happy were definitely in order.
For further reading and reviews: