Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Review

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’ 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” – Mockingjay.

In Suzanne Collins’s 3rd book of The Hunger Games trilogy, the Mockingjay lives on. After an introduction to the gruelling world of dictatorship, oppression and fear among the citizens in the Districts, Mockingjay tells the story of the rise of rebellion and a sense of freedom garnered by the central character of Katniss Everdeen. As we learned before, the revolution has been long time coming, but there was never someone fitting enough to lead it. What the people needed was someone who could not only represent and lead the them but inspire and embody the courage and hard-headed revenge that was about to be launched against the Capitol. When Katniss Everdeen came along, there seemed like there was hope for justice again.

Mockingjay: the symbol of a revolution. Image Credit: Nichxav via Flickr Creative Commons.

After Katniss is rescued from the Quarter Quell of the Hunger Games, it is revealed that a revolution had already been in planning efforts in what was supposedly a non-existent district – District 13. Katniss is then forced to confront the reality of the uprising that depends on her leadership. For her, a daunting choice needs to be made – whether or not to accept the role of the Mockingjay. But to the leaders and citizens geared for the revolution, she already is.

The novel begins with the description of a previous war against the Capitol that left District 13 underdeveloped and under resourced. But against all odds, the people of District 13 manage to find a way to be self-sufficient beneath the surface of the earth. Amid this bizarre living condition, a rally unfolds above ground, district by district, as plans are strategically put in place to launch the ultimate war against President Snow and his men. There is nothing less than a great amount of propaganda, manipulation and psychological wars that cause much anger and confusion among the key leaders of the revolution. While Katniss tries to connect the dots between her position as the Mockingjay, relationships she can trust and her love for either Peeta or Gale, a more impulsive side to her emerges. In the last few chapters of the book, she emerges as an assassin herself and she eventually kills – who she thought she should instead of whom she was meant to.

Suzanne Collins skilfully details the process of the revolution, bringing to light a new dawn of courage among the oppressed while piecing together the puzzles from the previous two books. Mockingjay is the reconciliation of civilisation portrayed in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire as much as it is the designation of an ill-fated dystopic society. Collins allows the chain of events to unfold very quickly in the plot, accurately reflecting a real-time sense of war. In all the suspense that Collins leaves, there is no stone unturned. All our questions that we ask in the beginning of the book (even the previous books) are answered by the time we finish the story.

Corruption inevitably invades what’s left of humanity’s innocence as war against the Capitol is waged and fan favourite characters are pulled into the centre of controversial choices. New characters are also introduced as Collins intelligibly weaves answers to previously asked questions through their development. Every chapter of the book is tied together with originality, insight and a powerful creativity. In the end, the final instalment of the trilogy allows us to live through the tragic consequences of war, the reunion of lovers and the rebirth of hope.

If the success of a story depends on the author’s ability to draw readers in, place them in the shoes of the characters and take them on a surreal, emotional journey, then Collins surely succeeds. Mockingjay paves the way for readers to be distressed, burdened and overwhelmed by the outrageous realities of merciless violence. But with all that said, Collins also manages to resolve the trilogy with a whole-hearted satisfaction for readers. There will be madness but there will also be peace; manipulations but justifications; ruthlessness but also empathy. There is a sense of peace with the resolve that Collins writes of – not just as the resolve of the book itself, but the resolve of the trilogy.

There is no disappointment towards Collins’ concluding novel to The Hunger Games Trilogy. It is a mark of consistent authorship on Collins’ part and the beginning of an excitable wait for Mockingjay the movie (Part 1) to be released in the cinemas in November this year. The first and second teaser have already gone viral online and for now, we can only wait for the full-length feature film to be released.

The book has officially won its place in my list of recommended titles. From its mystical reality and rapidly paced storyline to the remarkable details, Collins makes the experience of reading dystopic-fiction so easy. For all that The Hunger Games lives up to, may Collins’ words be ever in your favour.

Natalie Ong Lih Tyng

Tyng is currently completing an undergraduate in Media Studies (majoring in Journalism and Communications) at the University of New South Wales. When she's not scrolling the news or arranging interviews, she writes for various online magazines. As she explores the enjoyment of writing, she is fascinated at the way words are able to influence human emotions. In the long run, she hopes to be able to use writing as a medium to inspire, encourage and give voice to those who are less fortunate.

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