Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)
Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press
Published on August 24, 2010

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About Mockingjay
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.

My Review
This is my least favorite book in the Hunger Games series. I still enjoyed reading it, but I felt like Katniss remains a passive character for much of the beginning. I really wanted her to go on the mission to rescue Peeta (though I guess this would have made the book super long) instead of staying home feeling lost.

I thought it was clever the way the whole world sort of becomes an arena as Katniss and the rebel army advance toward the Capitol. The political elements of the story deepen as well, and the rebel force and its leader aren’t quite the benevolent group Katniss had hoped they’d be. On the whole, Mockingjay takes a darker tone than the previous books. While the first two stories show Katniss and others in the arena for sport, now she faces off against the Capitol in warfare. As the war gets more desperate, the rebels face some moral dilemmas concerning battle strategies. The Capitol has sacrificed the children of the districts every year for seventy-five years. Does this mean it’s okay for the rebels to attack Capitol children?

Katniss argues against these kinds of tactics, but not all of her allies agree with her. And as the war grows ever bloodier, even she begins to consider some of these more desperate payback attacks. It showed how easily war makes us forget the humanity of the other side.

I liked the new side characters Katniss works with as the Mockingjay. And I loved the way her relationship with Peeta unfolds, even though it involves a lot of disillusionment on both sides. I feel like that allowed them to rebuild their connection from scratch, and on more even footing since they each had to face some flaws in each other.

I’m not sorry to have read this whole series. (I’ve read it more than once, actually, but for some reason I hadn’t managed to review it before now.) This one has a bit more violence than the others (or maybe it seems more violent because of the context of war), so see the content information below for more specifics.

Mockingjay on AmazonRecommended for Ages 14 up.

Cultural Elements
All major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between a boy and girl. Finnick reveals that in the Capitol he and other attractive tributes were forced to have sexual encounters with wealthy citizens who purchased their time. Katniss remembers a time a man teased her about buying a kiss from him.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to torture. Scenes show some carnage from triggered traps. A net of barbed wire slices up a soldier. A bomb blows another’s limbs off. Bombs kill children and medics. An assassin shoots and kills a political figure.

Katniss and Gale disagree about methods of warfare. Gale believes any violence against the Capitol is justified, since the Capital has used and continues to use awful tactics against the rebels. Katniss believes the rebels must have a higher value of life, and especially a regard for the lives of innocents like children and civilians.

Katniss has nightmares about people who’ve died coming back to haunt her and trying to kill her. She also remembers and sings a song her father taught her about a man talking to his lover and asking her to “meet [him] in the hanging tree.”

Drug Content
Katniss and Joanna takes morphling to alleviate pain due to her injuries. It’s a highly addictive drug and both girls feel the pull of addiction from taking it. Haymitch drinks alcohol.

Mockingjay on Goodreads

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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