Mockingjay is Katniss’ book, and it’s appropriate that it’s titled for her. In the Hunger Games Series the first book introduces the world that lead to the Hunger Games, and the games themselves and is in that way perfectly titled. The second book, the weakest in my estimation, is also perfectly titled in that the world around Katniss is beginning to catch fire; the seeds of rebellion are being planted. The third book erupts with secrets and civil war, and chronicles what such a thing costs one girl. In the end, it costs her nearly everything.
I won’t be doing a full on synopsis as part of this review, by now this series has permeated nearly all of popular media and I went into this book with the ending spoiled for me. And the middle. But there was still a lot of nuance and depth left to explore. While I remain unconvinced that Collins is a great writer, she does excel at picking her metaphors and sticking with them. This allows for the reader to unpack as much or as little of the subtext as they want and as a YA novel that is a benefit to the younger readers who devour this work. Collin’s metaphors this time add to the previous ones: we have Snow’s roses and fire from before, but now we also have the hanging tree song.
I know for others this can lead to dull reading, the repetitive nature of what Collins does with these literary tricks. The books have also been accused of having the most boring love triangle resolution ever. I refer those people to my CBR5 review of Catching Fire where I argue that this isn’t a love triangle at all.
Another boon for this book is that Collins doesn’t back down from the darkness of the tale she is telling. That’s why I could not finish it on my first go late last year. I intended to pick it up right after Catching Fire and just march to the end, but Katniss’s mental state is such that I could not live with her in that pain. When I picked the book back up this week I skipped the first three chapters which I had already read and jumped into the story from there, for fear that the bleakness of Katniss putting together what had transpired at the end of the 75th Hunger Games and what District 13 and specifically President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee need and want from her would just be too much. And I really wanted to have read the book before watching the movie(s). The ending is grim. The war has consequences. Characters we have grown to love die. They make stupid mistakes because they are tired. And because of the effort to not tie it all up in a bow (regardless of the epilogue) I’ve rounded my rating up from 3.5 stars to 4.
This review like all of my others is cross-posted.