“There are much worse games to play”
― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay
Mockingjay, the third book in the science fiction trilogy by Suzanne Collins was released in 2010. I loved the first two books of the Hunger games series which obviously raised my expectations for the last one. When it comes to the last book of the series we always want it to be the best and have a satisfying end which we can live with, but many a times it happens that the author who is already under the pressure of giving the book a happy ending is not able to make it satisfying. Mockingjay is the conclusion of the Hunger games trilogy and the only book of the series which doesn’t actually have the namesake tournament in it.
Katniss Everdeen who was rescued from the 75th hunger games visits district 12 to find it in ashes after the capitol blew it up as revenge. Peeta could not be rescued from the arena and is now held captive by the capitol along with some other tributes. District 13 is heading the rebellion against the capitol and Katniss plays the role of the Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion. Katniss tries to unite the other districts and is able to encourage them to stand against Snow. The rebels succeed in rescuing Peeta and the other tributes from the capitol only to find out that President Snow has turned Peeta into a weapon against Katniss by a technique called ‘Hijacking’ (a form of brainwashing). Soon Katniss along with a special team of rebels enters the capitol where Snow has set new challenges and obstacles equivalent to the Hunger games. After a lot of fighting, escaping and loss of life the rebels are able to conquer the capitol and take Snow as prisoner. On the day Snow is to be executed, Katniss takes a decision which shocks everyone and becomes the best part of the book!
Themes like loss, power, politics, warfare and hope for a better future make this book complex , intriguing and a mess! The first two books of the series gave Collins the comfort of writing almost the same book twice (which she did brilliantly) but Mockingjay was supposed to be the Epic conclusion or the awaited war novel which required a lot more. The book has all the right ingredients needed to become an epic conclusion but lacks the fluidity and pace to bind all these factors together. When compared to the previous books Mockingjay is darker and more complicated as Katniss realizes the truth behind politics and power. There are times when it is really annoying to see Katniss as a mere pawn doing whatever is told to her but towards the end you can see some growth in her character. Another important factor of the story which is the love triangle or the Peeta vs Gale contest finally ends with Katniss going with the obvious choice (not that I’m complaining).
What people sometimes forget is that Hunger Games is not a love story or a mere good vs evil story, it is much more than that. This series portrays the harsh realities of our own world and the politics and corruption of our governments. The struggle of the districts to bring down the corrupt leader is more than relatable today. The story may be set in some futuristic setting but the story has been inspired from our own world and history. Alma Coin is one of the best characters as Collins has accurately depicted how the world is not just black and white. Coin has her shades of grey and they are not just in her hair. Another great character who mostly gets the best quotes in the book is Plutarch Heavensbee.
Even though I enjoyed reading Catching fire more because of all the adrenaline, I do feel that Mockingjay is somehow a better book because of its originality and complexity. There maybe some dull moments or even chapters but the maturity of the plot and portrayal of the revolution makes it so ‘Real’! (hope you get the reference :p)
Memorable quote- “We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self destruction.”
My Rating- 8/10