TITLE: Mockingjay
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
RELEASED August 24

Suzanne Collins ends her Hunger Games trilogy with Mockingjay. The first book, Hunger Games, built a world ruled by a dictatorship, where every year children from different regions are chosen to fight to the death in a giant televised event. In that book, Katniss, a young girl, disrupts the games by breaking all the rules and taking control. In Mockingjay, Katniss is still breaking the rules. She is the face of a rebellion against the Capital. This book is all out war. The games are no longer contained to an arena. They’ve spread out over the entire world, in everyone’s home.

Heartbreaking, horrifying, and brutal are the best ways to describe the events that take place in this book. Collins does not spare on blood and gore, but doesn’t do it pointlessly. Each wound, each kill, they all have a purpose and a horrible aftermath. Everything is connected, everything is written for a specific reason. The reader feels every blow emotionally, just as Katniss does. As loved ones fall (and there are many that do), Katniss slowly falls apart and Collins writes so well that the audience falls apart with her.

Not only is the action intense and riveting, but the relationships are so real. Twilight may have Team Edward and Team Jacob, but Hunger Games has Team Gale and Team Peeta, two men in Katniss’ life who both declared their love for her in the previous books. She loves them both, but romance has never been a priority for her and that stays true in Mockingjay.  It’s always been about survival for Katniss and making sure all of her loved ones, including Gale and Peeta, survive at all costs. Nevertheless, she does decide between the two and that decision is satisfying and real.

Collins. AP photo.

The relationships Katniss has with all the people she loves are so intense and so well described that she is not the only character the reader cares about. Each character carries their own weight, making this not only a great action and suspense story, but clearly character driven.

The trilogy is wrapped up well with this story, but not in a false or unrealistic way. Nothing is nicely presented with a bow on top and the characters don’t go frolicking into the sunset in the end. This is not a predictable or even a happy ending, but just an ending, which stays true to the tone of the rest of the books.

Mockingjay also has a brief epilogue. Many epilogues fail and drag a story on needlessly, but I found this one to be very well placed. It stayed true to Katniss’ character and how all the struggles she endured in the story will affect her for the rest of her life. She can never leave her nightmares behind.

People who have not read the other two books would not follow, or really enjoy this book. It’s a continuous story, and you can’t just jump in at the end. But if you’ve followed along, this book (even moreso than the other two) will make you catch your breath and stop everything you’re doing just to finish the text on the page. Pure reading pleasure. Fantastic!

RATING: 10/10