Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mockingjay is the only book in the Hunger Games trilogy that doesn't center on the heroine’s (Katniss’) struggles in the games. By this time she is fighting her real enemy, the government that created the games. It follows that this book loses some of what makes the other two unique, but Mockingjay is still an exciting read and an interesting commentary on the various ways governments control their populations.

The first two books told the story of a society with an economic system structured to funnel money away from the workers, making them dependent on the central government. The games were designed to intimidate the population by reminding them of the power that government held over them. This book presents another government (in district thirteen) that controls its people through laws designed to emphasis the society over the individual. The comparison of capitalism vs. communism is clear and powerful. These books are allegories.

The books are also adventure stories and in Mockingjay there are some changes in the way the adventure is handled. Katniss’ archery skill is so great, one could argue that she is a superhero in the first two novels. In the third, that skill is deemphasized. Katniss contributes to the fight against the Capitol by becoming a symbol of the resistance. Her most important skill is her ability to encourage others to fight rather than her own combat abilities. Or course, the leaders of the resistance cannot keep Katniss away from the frontline because she hates what the Capitol has done to the people she loves. There are plenty of action scenes.

The love triangle relationship Katniss has with Gale and Peeta continues in this book with Gale playing a bigger role and Peeta, who is being held by the enemy, kept in the background. The relationships seem to be propelled more by circumstances and less by emotions in this book. I saw that other reviewers complained about that fact, but in the end I was satisfied with the way things worked out.

On its own, Mockingjay would not work as well as the other two books, but along with them it creates an excellent story that is fun, poignant, and has a powerful message.

Steve Lindahl - Author of Motherless Soul

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