I finally finished Mockingjay this morning. I'm not sure why it took me so long. If anything, this is the fastest-paced of the three books. While the first and second books take their time setting the scene and developing character (though they are both full of heart-pounding action), this one felt much more rushed.
(Warning: spoilers ahead, if you haven't read the first two books.)
The book opens with Katniss making a return trip to District 12, which has been destroyed. She lives now in District 13 along with Gale and all the other survivors from District 12, except for Peeta, who has been captured by the Capitol. Peeta is being used as a propaganda tool by the Capitol and District 13 wants to use Katniss the same way if only she will agree.
Large parts of this book read like a description of a video game, and I think that will appeal to many of my students. But I'm not sure what they are going to think of the ending. To me it felt inevitable, and I was glad that Collins had the courage to follow through. I know that's cryptic, but I can't spoil it for you - go read it yourself!
I have read reviews that criticize this book for being too anti-war but to me this is the beauty of the series. Katniss learns about the futility of violence and hatred and deals with the terrible consequences of both. When people dehumanize each other and see other human beings as less than themselves, everyone suffers. There's not a way to sugar-coat this idea, and Collins doesn't even try. Heavy stuff for adolescents, and yet this is the way the world is. This dystopic series is well worth reading and discussing.
This was book #65 of 2010.
This post is linked to the November 27th edition of the Saturday Review of Books.
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