Monday, October 24, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games trilogy comes full circle as author Suzanne Collins provides a gripping conclusion to her action-packed, politically charged young adult series. A page-turner from start to finish, Mockingjay is a flawed yet resonant denouement to this tantalizing tale of rebellion, warfare and the loss of one’s childhood.

In the aftermath of her surviving the Hunger Games a second time, Katniss Everdeen is brought to the frontlines of war as she’s taken in by the authoritarian regime of District 13 and prepared for battle with the Capitol. Her comrade and love interest Peeta Mellark has been taken hostage, and she reunites with her best friend, Gale, as they become soldiers in arms against the Capitol’s high-tech weaponry. Despite Katniss’s single-minded determination to bring down the regime and assassinate President Snow, she soon finds herself questioning who she can trust and what to believe. Her torn loyalties culminate in a series of betrayals and plot twists into a breathtaking climax in which her survival skills are put to the test.

The love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta reaches resolution as Katniss grows and gains some perspective on herself. As the battle to bring down the Capital wages on, she finds her principles clashing with the ruthless tactics that Gale and his fellow soldiers employ. Meanwhile, during Peeta’s imprisonment, the Capitol employs human experimentation to brainwash him against Katniss and the rebellion force. The rapport between these three provide depth and intrigue beyond the nonstop action, and helps the novel achieve emotive significance in addition to its thrills and plot twists.

The novel’s ending was slightly rushed, leaving some loose threads untied and having characters disappear without readers knowing their fate. Readers may feel cheated out of following their favorite character to the end, and will be left begging for more. Nonetheless, we do know the fate of our courageous heroine Katniss, who has been the driving force of all three novels with her audacious pursuit of revenge and justice; perhaps, for some readers, that would be a satisfying wrap-up.

Mockingjay will certainly prove enthralling to fans of the series who have eagerly awaited the outcome of districts’ rebellion. While they have a few disappointments their way, this one does succeed at the quality and level of intensity of the first two.

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