Mockingjay is the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I very much enjoyed the first novel, The Hunger Games, and its sequel, Catching Fire, was also quite good, but not up to the standard set in the first novel. Mockingjay, unfortunately, continues the downward trend and while it completes the trilogy and delivers a good story, it’s nowhere near as enjoyable to read.
We start following the events of Catching Fire: Katniss has been saved from the arena by District 13, the district that everyone is told died when the Capitol made an example of rebellion many years ago. As expected, this reporting turns out to be misleading and the residents of this district live underground, plotting to eventually overthrow President Snow and the Capitol. Now with Katniss in their hands and Peeta held by the Capitol they finally have the tools they need to make a solid effort at rebellion. Katniss is stuck in the middle of this, willing to be used by District 13 if she can have her way in certain regards, but all the while wanting to save Peeta from President Snow and the Capitol.
Mockingjay breaks from the mould of the previous two books with Panem no longer under the strict rule of the Capitol and forced to complete in the Hunger Games. Rebellion is everywhere and Katniss is used by District 13 to further their end of overthrowing President Snow. While all this sounds quite good – and it is in some respects – it’s just not on the same level as the previous novels. I was expecting a finale with a bang, and while their are aspects throughout Mockingjay that were enjoyable to read, it’s in fits and starts, not sure whether to go all out or not.
One of the things that is most notable is the way that Collins tries to incorporate the feel of the Hunger Games in a real situation within the Capitol, traps and all. It’s understandable and fits in the the Capitol’s iron rule and paranoia of rebellion, but it clearly reads like similar action sequences to the previous books, rather than the fight of life and death, freedom and oppression that it should be.
I did enjoy Mockingjay though, but it didn’t live up to the potential it had. Katniss hasn’t changed too much, although their are nice surprises towards the end of Mockingjay, and it sometimes felt like obstacles were put in her path for little reason other than to give the story a little more excitement or entertainment. I think that the scope of the story just didn’t quite work within the confines of Mockingjay, even though it was obvious that this is where the story was heading.
I’d say that you really should read this if you’ve read the first two novels, but I’d hesitate to recommend the trilogy as a whole – it just doesn’t quite measure up.