I have to admit that I did not enjoy the much awaited Mockingjay as much as I thought I would. Perhaps part of it was that my life has gotten very hectic and I haven’t had as much time to indulge in a good long uninterrupted reading session. I found this book more violent and more psychologically violent than the past two. In the past two the violence at the Games was enough out of the realm of one’s everyday experience to be internalized as fantasy. The battles in the capitol at the end of Mockingjay have more realism to them and resonate with my feelings about the urban battles being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan where innocent children and civilians are targeted. Also, we see characters we have bonded with die or move on.
Katniss and her family are settled in District 13, an underground colony (literally) with very strict rules on resources. She finds her former make up artists jailed for having stolen some bread. Peeta is a prisoner in the Capitol and probably being tortured. The rebellion is still picking up momentum in the other Districts.
The council wants Katniss to accept the position of Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution. She agrees on some conditions: that she and Gale be allowed to hunt topside, that Peeta be pardoned if he ever makes it to the colony, and that her family is protected no matter what happens. Oh, and that she gets to kill President Snow herself.
In return, she is dressed and styled by a group of make up artists again, as happened in the games, to make her more gritty and glamorous as a poster girl for the revolution. After visiting a hospital of the wounded in one of the districts she goes renegade and engages the enemy. I can’t tell you what happens as it would give away a good scene, but it is well written. The council realizes they can’t really control her actions.
She finally leads a mission to the Capitol with a personal objective of killing Snow. Her selfishness in this regard leads to a sad and gruesome loss of life. The romantic elements play out in the background. Will she end up choosing Gale or Peeta? I am not giving away any more hints on how it resolves.
Collins, Suzanne, New York Times Bestselling Author. (2010). Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN 978-0-439-02351-1, $17.99, 390 pages.