24 January 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Wow!  Suzanne Collins has done it again!  Mockingjay absolutely lives up to the hype that was surrounding its release.  As the last book in the series, Mockingjay needed to wrap up Katniss' story, but also address the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of Catching Fire.  It succeeds amazingly well in doing both, and the story still includes the twists and surprises we grew accustomed to from reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

WARNING:  Minor spoilers may be present.

The book starts off with a brief overview of everything that happened between the end of Catching Fire and the time at which Katniss has to choose her role as the Mockingjay.  While this section reads at a much slower pace than the rest of the book, this narration was necessary to set the stage for the rest of the plot.  In my opinion, Collins handled this as best as she could while still propelling the story forward.

The story really gets moving when Katniss and the others begin actively participating in the life of District 13.  I don't want to give away too much here, but District 13 was nothing like I imagined it would be.  Panem is in the midst of a bloody and trying war, and District 13 is trying to cope with it while still staying true to their beliefs about the country.  This is an important plot point- so I will lay it to rest here.

The character development, I have to say, was my absolute favorite part of Mockingjay.  After the events that ended Catching Fire, the tributes, some of the other Hunger Games personnel, and a few District 12 habitants find themselves thrown into District 13, which even if it had not been preparing for war, is very different from 12 or the Capitol.  Collins did an amazing job of tracing each character's journey in 13 and exploring not only their actions, but their thoughts as well.  More so than in either of the preceding books, I felt like I really knew each character.  Even when there were plot twists that shocked me, in some way, they were not completely out of the blue.  They all fit with some aspect of that character's personality.  The characters all felt like real, not like a fictional creation that they were.  It made Mockingjay an even more captivating read, because the character progression felt so natural.

The ending, the ending...satisfied me even though I really expected it not to.  But after reading the whole series, this ending is really the only one that makes sense, after all.

READ THIS SERIES!  That's really all I have to say.  Even if you are not a dystopian fan, the character development and plot progression of The Hunger Games trilogy rivals those of any other series I have ever read.  You will find yourself wrapped up in what is happening to Katniss and Panem, and unable to put the book down.

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