And now for the third and final book of The Hunger Games trilogy; it’s Mockingjay! I’m sure you remember I wasn’t enamoured (I love that word) with Catching Fire. Have no fear though, I have no such thoughts for Mockingjay.
At the end of Catching Fire, the surviving Tributes have escaped from the Hunger Games – them being Katniss and a few others; but no Peeta. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. The survivors are taken to District 13, where the rebellion is being headed. Katniss pledges to aid the Rebellion Council, but on her own conditions – that all participants of the Quarter Quell are granted immunity (including Peeta) and that she reserves the right to kill gamesmaker President Snow. The Council keep Katniss away from the action however, and focus on making her a propaganda front for the rebellion. Meanwhile, the Capitol are also pulling strings with videos of the mentally ill Peeta. Eventually, the Council rescue Peeta as he is affecting Katniss, but he has been brainwashed into thinking she is the enemy. After much therapy he begins to improve, and the Council begin planning the final strike on the Captiol.
This is a busy book, and moves with much more of a pace than the first two – and it works brilliantly. There’s always a sense of unease and an air of disaster. Katniss walks around like an emotional timebomb, and it’s all tense an highly strung. I think Collins did well by not immediately turning Katniss into a warrior, as the fact that she is used as a tool gives hints at how politicians will always use people to their advantage. A lot of people, or so I am lead to believe, would have preferred Peeta rescued along with Katniss, and had them lead the rebellion together. I don’t think that would have worked. The Capitol is such a powerful oppressor, open warfare would be ridiculous and in wars such as the civil strife of the Hunger Games, it is not heroics that are looked for but victory. To turn the duo into knights in shining armour would not have worked despite how splendid they may have been. In a tale such as this, there has to be the element of heartbreak, and that not everything can turn out right. That, I think, is why Prim had to die. Yes – little duck-tail Prim dies on the front lines. Also, this gives way to the magnificent ending that Collins delivers with the book, as it wouldn’t have worked otherwise. I think Collins wanted it all along to have the ending a little different, and little Prim was the sacrifice that made it possible. This will sound sick, but I’m glad Prim died as it much improves the quality of the book.
The characters in Collins books weren’t ever top notch, as I’m sure you’ll remember, but there is some improvement to be seen here. Katniss’ emtions feel like they have a direction now. She begins to use them effectively, to help her guide and govern the war. Again, we aren’t introduced to any huge key players. The only real plot influence is President Coin, the leader of the Rebellion Council; but at the end of the day he doesn’t really do that much either. Peeta is slightly more of a person too, though Gale is still the background boy. I think the Katniss-Peeta-Gale triangle was a bit of a failure really. I don’t know whether Collins wanted that choice to be an actual theme of the books, not knowing who katniss will choose, but by the end of book one we know that Katniss is only ever going to be with Peeta. Collins could have made it a full sub-plot of the book if she wanted to, just by introducing some romancey scenes with Gale, but she didn’t bother. Just a little of Gale being the dark horse and scenes of Katniss confusion would have made it work, but she didn’t. Perhaps it would have added a little too much to the book, and she preferred the straight up storyline. I don’t know really, I just don’t think it was done very well at all.
Overall, I think Mockingjay is a worthy end to the trilogy, and it salvaged the disappointment of Catching Fire. A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link and all, but I think that overall this is a good series, and one worth reading. It’ll keep you entertained for a week at least, and I recommend it. If you’re one for lore and backstory like I am you may find it lacking in those areas, but for those after an action fix it should suffice. Obviously all three are coming out on film, and I’m actually quite looking forward to it. The first film was pretty good, and I think they can live up to it. But hey, if you want to read about the film then hit up on rotten tomatoes.
Mockingjay gets an 8/10 from me. It was enjoyable, it was punchy and it was cool