As much as I adored Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay fell short of my expectations, akin to The Hunger Games. The action of Catching Fire was captivating; by contrast, the majority of Mockingjay focused on the political affairs of District 13 and Panem (which were interesting) until the final third-or-so of the book, which brought the war to the reader.
Mockingjay briefly highlights some key topics of the real world, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and grief. However, these topics are somewhat lost to the bulk of the book, which is mostly Katniss’s angst and rage toward the Capitol, President Snow, and later, District 13’s leader/the rebellion’s President Coin.
Following the Quarter Quell, Katniss was rescued by District 13, where she now remains as she heals and the rebellion gains power, taking various Districts under their wing and working to undermine the Capitol. While Peeta is held captive by President Snow, Katniss works alongside Gale, and the reader is given an opportunity to see the devolution of Gale, who is filled with so much vengeance toward the Capitol that even Katniss seems like a pacifist. I enjoyed this part of the book because Katniss and Gale had so often been compared for their likeness; however, as the rebellion advances, we see that these old friends are torn apart by their vision for the future of Panem.
As Katniss and her rag-tag group of insurgents march toward the Capitol, the reader watches her reactions as she loses various loved ones, such as friends, family, and fellow Victors. Although Katniss occasionally seems numb to their deaths, I believe this is because the pain she carries is so great that if she lets herself feel it, she will buckle. This presents a great discussion opportunity—how do you carry on when loss is dragging you down?
For the discussion opportunities, I’ll give Mockingjay four stars. This book didn’t hold my attention the same way Catching Fire did, but it’s a solid conclusion to the original trilogy.
You can see my Lifetime Reading List analyses for this trilogy here: