WARNING: Some possible spoilers!
So I come to the end of The Hunger Games trilogy. Mockingjay starts in District 13, the district that was supposed to be deserted after the Dark Days of 75 years ago, the district that no longer exists. And it doesn’t exist…at least not above the ground. The war between The Capitol and the Districts is in full flow; District 12 has been burnt to the ground and the rebels are slowly infiltrating the remaining districts, turning them against the Capitol one by one. Katniss has been freed from the Arena of the Quarter Quell and asked to help the rebel cause; Peeta has been captured by The Capitol, and who knows what tortures they have in store for him there.
I have put a spoiler warning, but I am going to try and write this with as few as possible. In all honesty, this was my least favourite of the series, for me it lacked the structure of the previous two as there was no Hunger Games to base the narrative around. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Mockingjay because I did, but I missed the games. Anyway, on to what I did enjoy. Perhaps my favourite parts were where we got an insight into the lives of the Victors and how they continued to be used as Capitol pawns years after their victory. I loved getting an insight into why Haymitch and Finnick behaved in certain ways, and I personally would like to have read more about some of the other contestants and their treatment, but that is understandably a whole different book, and me just being curious about what makes people tick so to speak.
Katniss continued to live up to my expectations about positive female role models in literature. Yes, there is the love triangle between her, Peeta and Gale, but she never turns soppy about it, and instead conveys mixed up, yet believable emotions about the difficulty of who to choose, if either of them. This is a constant subplot to the main action, which is why it works so well as it isnt thurst in the reader’s face every two sentences. In the end, her decision was a shock to me, but her reasons for it made perfect sense and were in fitting with what we learn about her as the trilogy progresses.
And the best bit for me – Collins doesn’t chicken out of killing major characters, although I guess this was to be expected since the actual Hunger Games are all to do with death anyway. It’s not like another well known literature/film franchise which skirts coyly around the issue of death. I was a little sad at some of the deaths, but then I like a roller coaster of emotions when I read, so I shouldn’t complain. Perhaps the one bit I didn’t like or agree with was the decision for one final Hunger Games in light of the outcome of the rebellion. It didn’t make sense and I don’t quite agree with the ‘eye for an eye’ idea it seems to represent.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this series, but for me The Hunger Games was the best of the trilogy. It had me enthralled from the off and was unlike anything I had read before. I can understand why so many of my students are gripped by the series and I would highly recommend them to anyone who has yet to pick one up. I am looking forward to the release of The Hunger Games:Catching Fire film later this year.