“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2010)

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In the long, impatiently awaited conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay does the job to everyone’s satisfaction, but still leaves readers wondering why everything had to get wrapped up so quickly and completely in one book, when longer series are more popular; it must’ve been something Collins had decided from the start and stuck with right up to the end.

The resistance is ready to take the dictatorial government of the Capitol down.  The supreme and primary hideout is the destroyed waste of District 13, where an elaborate system of dormitories, living spaces, training rooms and compounds, mess halls, and command centers exists beneath the ground.  Katniss is to be the spokesperson and figurehead for the resistance – the Mockingjay.  At first Katniss doesn’t know if she’s ready or even able to do this, after everything she’s gone through.  Gale is training with her, while Peeta remains a captive of the Capitol.  Then she comes to a decision after a shocking experience; she will be the Mockingjay.  The resistance begins a series advertising campaigns, as they attempt to convert all the districts against the government.  Katniss is front and center in most of them, visiting those in need and rescuing and helping who she can.  Once all districts are united against the Capitol, the final showdown will happen.

Collins continues with the magic in her writing from the first two books, getting readers hooked in from the first page, and then shutting themselves out of their own lives until they get to the end.  Collins covers a monumental amount changes, events and happenings in Mockingjay, leaving this reader wondering why this last book didn’t get expanded into two or three, giving her characters more room to develop and change with the events taking place; as a result Mockingjay feels a little rushed at times.  Nevertheless, it is a satisfying conclusion to the series, and fans will be wondering what Collins will be dishing up next, while other writers jump on the “teens in a post-apocalyptic setting” band wagon to try to cash in on the Hunger Games success.

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Originally written on September 18 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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