“If we burn you burn with us.”
Kaniss Everdeen’s final battle has begun.
Part Three of the astonishing Hunger Games Trilogy.
A month after CATCHING FIRE and Katniss Everdeen is in the underground city of District 13. District 12’s been obliterated by the Capitol’s bombs and Peeta is President Snow’s prisoner - only seen in staged interviews where his condition is visibly deteriorating. District 13’s commander, Alma Coin, wants Katniss to spearhead the rebellion against the Capitol, which is slowly gathering steam among the other Districts.
Riddled with guilt and traumatised by her experiences, Katniss doesn’t want to but Gale encourages her and soon her desire for revenge leads her to comply. Reinvented as a figurehead for freedom, she risks losing everything she holds dear as events rapidly spiral out of her control.
The conclusion to the bestselling HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY is a dark and brooding affair that explores the dark side of rebellion – even rebellions against evil regimes.
Katniss is a broken figure, worn down and guilt-ridden by the violence she’s witnessed, perpetrated and suffered. Collins does well with highlighting her doubts at her cause and the reasons for her decisions – especially the bad ones. I’ve always found her distant and difficult to empathise with but I liked the fact that Collins doesn’t change that. The best scenes revolve around Katniss’s reunion with Peeta who has been similarly warped by his experiences and the punishment meted out by President Snow. Ignore the Team Peeta/Team Gale debate - Collins herself hints that it cheapens her theme that damaged people can help each other heal, even in small ways.
While the story’s themes are dark, mature and interesting, its scope makes it difficult for Collins to wrap everything up satisfactorily. The wide cast drift in and out as the themes dictate it and get treated in a cursory way. I would have liked to see more of Gale, particularly how his story closes out given the repercussions of some of his actions, while the comic relief provided by Finnick is in too short supply and his mini-arc ends too abruptly. The epilogue didn’t work for me - Collins uses it to try and close all the loose ends, but given the nature of the story it might have better not to.
All in all though, this is a really interesting book and while it doesn’t succeed in everything it sets out to accomplish, the scale of its vision and the points it raises make it worth checking out.
Having been unimpressed by CATCHING FIRE, I found MOCKINGJAY a really interesting read. Collins lifts her story above the love triangle element to explore themes of the horror of war, how rebellions fought for good reasons can spiral out of control and how violence leaves everyone damaged. Although it is a flawed book, with some elements not really coming off, it’s a fascinating, mature and dark read and one that I would recommend checking out.
Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.