Note: Some spoilers in the following review.
Suzanne Collins finishes off her highly acclaimed Hunger Games series with Mockingjay. After reading the first couple of chapters at a friend's home, I ended up picking up the ebook for my Nook and have finally finished the book while waiting for my Thanksgiving meal to digest.
Katniss Everdeen survived the Games, not once, but twice. Rescued by the rebels of District 13 but separated from Peeta, Katniss finally accepts that to finally break the chains that the Capitol has on the rest of the Districts, she must fully pick up the mantle as the Mockingjay. First in the hands of President Snow, now in the hands of the rebels' President Coin, Katniss discovers that being the face to the rebellion is not the same as being in control. Katniss must deal not only with her pursuit in assassinating Snow, but with her conflicted feelings for Gale and Peeta. Everything Katniss discovers puts her on the path leading to the final battle at the Capitol, where winning the war isn't the same as winning freedom, and the truth is not always easy to live with.
Living was a theme that permeated this book: Katniss had to make and eventually live with many choices that resulted in several deaths throughout the book. Her sense of responsibility for her family, for Gale and Peeta, for her styling team and final squad is in conflict with her own need to make things right for her - to kill President Snow and help the Districts live free from the Capitol's rule. But with each new discovery that all is not as obvious as right and wrong, Katniss makes a climactic decision after the last battle which changes everything, including her thoughts on who should live and who should die.
I wasn't surprised by Katniss' slant from altruistic to selfish motives of revenge and back, not even when she voted in support of running the Games again at the end. What did surprise me was how the Gale vs. Peeta storyline kind of washed out. Who she ended up with was not too much of a stretch, but the lack of dynamic collision between the characters made it seem like Katniss just let life throw the person at her, as opposed to her making decisions, as she lamented about during the conversation Gale and Peeta had about her before the final battle.
I believe that Mockingjay is a solid ending to the series, but I was not as swept into the story as I was with its predecessors, especially Catching Fire.
Title: Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Date: August 2010
Read: Barnes and Noble Nookbook