Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins was published in 2010 by Scholastic Press, following Hunger Games (2008) and Catching Fire (2009). The last in the trilogy, Mockingjay was expected to bring to a close the intense drama that surrounded Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire. Mockingjay did bring an end to the drama, however, the most anticipated part of Katniss’ drama was the resolution of her romantic triangle between Gale and Peeta. Instead of spending quality time resolving these issues, the author, by virtue of using first-person, makes us spend most of the book in a drug-induced haze. Disappointed hardly begins to describe how I felt after finishing the final book of the Hunger Games trilogy. If it wasn’t for the epilogue, we may have never gotten a real sense of closure in Katniss’ life.
We start this book with Katniss in District 13, living underground with her mother and sister and Gale. Gale was able to rescue Katniss’ mother, Prim, and his own family, along with a few hundred other people before District 12, Katniss and Peeta’s home District, was blown to bits. Because the Head of the Hunger Games, Plutarch, is on the side of the rebels and is responsible for rescuing Katniss and a few of the other victors from the arena, he also wants to see that Katniss is made into a public figure leading the rebellion. They want her to flame the fire of the rebellion with her appearances on television and her ability to draw people in to her story and her life. At first she refuses, but eventually she realizes that the only way she will get Peeta back is to agree to the terms of District 13 leaders and other rebellion leaders.
Katniss makes appearances on television as the war-torn Mockingjay, giving hope to the rebels in other Districts. Over time, the other Districts, all but District 2, are able to overthrow the Peacekeepers and wrestle control away from the Capitol. In the meantime, Peeta has made some appearances on T.V. himself, each time appearing weaker and stranger. It isn’t long and Katniss cannot continue, knowing that every move she makes is probably causing Peeta more trouble. Eventually a group of Capitol insiders and District 13 soldiers rescue Peeta and other victors from the Capitol. A relieved Katniss soon discovers that there are levels of torture that go beyond just the physical.
During Peeta’s time in the Capitol, he has been brainwashed, his thoughts and feelings “hijacked” so much so that he is turned into an assassin bent on killing Katniss. Time after time, Katniss gets injured and spends time recuperating. Her dealings with people are not as fully developed in Mockingjay as they were in the previous two books. Eventually Katniss gets a chance to move on the Capitol, in search of the President, whom she intends on personally killing.
This last book could have been turned into two books, with the scenes from the Capitol and beyond becoming the final book. People were quickly killed and ruthlessly tossed aside after so much time was spent bringing their characters into fullness. Katniss seems to move past everyone so quickly and when she is finally given time to reflect and heal, that time is given cursory treatment. The last chapter of the book happens so fast that it barely seems like the author gave it any thought. So much, really too much, is left to our imagination. One of the things I liked best about the first book was the depth with which we got to know how Katniss was feeling. By the end, we aren’t given the satisfaction of knowing how her life truly turns out. Did she turn to Peeta out of love, out of respect, out of loneliness? It is so hard to determine. Yes, I was rather disappointed with the final book as a whole.