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Mockingjay (Collins) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Mockingjay is not as impeccably plotted as The Hunger Games, but nonetheless retains its fierce, chilly fascination. At its best the trilogy channels the political passion of 1984, the memorable violence of A Clockwork Orange, the imaginative ambience of The Chronicles of Narnia and the detailed inventiveness of Harry Potter. The specifics of the dystopian universe, and the fabulous pacing of the complicated plot, give the books their strange, dark charisma.
Katie Roiphe - New York Times


Nothing is black or white in this gripping, complex tale, including the angry, self-doubting heroine.... This dystopic-fantasy series, which began in 2008, has had such tremendous crossover appeal that teens and parents may discover themselves vying for—and talking about—the family copy of Mockingjay. And there's much to talk about because this powerful novel pierces cheery complacency like a Katniss-launched arrow.
Mary Quattlebaum - Washington Post


This concluding volume in Collins's Hunger Games trilogy accomplishes a rare feat, the last installment being the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level. At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss had been dramatically rescued from the Quarter Quell games; her fellow tribute, Peeta, has presumably been taken prisoner by the Capitol. Now the rebels in District 13 want Katniss (who again narrates) to be the face of the revolution, a propaganda role she's reluctant to play. One of Collins's many achievements is skillfully showing how effective such a poster girl can be, with a scene in which Katniss visits the wounded, cameras rolling to capture (and retransmit) her genuine outrage at the way in which war victimizes even the noncombatants. Beyond the sharp social commentary and the nifty world building, there's a plot that doesn't quit: nearly every chapter ends in a reversal-of-fortune cliffhanger. Readers get to know characters better, including Katniss's sister and mother, and Plutarch Heavensbee, former Head Gamemaker, now rebel filmmaker, directing the circus he hopes will bring down the government, a coup possible precisely because the Capitol's residents are too pampered to mount a defense. "In return for full bellies and entertainment," he tells Katniss, explaining the Latin phrase panem et circenses, "people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power." Finally, there is the romantic intrigue involving Katniss, Peeta and Gale, which comes to a resolution that, while it will break some hearts, feels right. In short, there's something here for nearly every reader, all of it completely engrossing. (Ages 12-up.)
Publishers Weekly


(Audio versionGr 7 & Up.) The final installment of Suzanne Collins's trilogy sets Katniss in one more Hunger Game, but this time it is for world control. While it is a clever twist on the original plot, it means that there is less focus on the individual characters and more on political intrigue and large scale destruction. That said, Carolyn McCormick continues to breathe life into a less vibrant Katniss by showing her despair both at those she feels responsible for killing and and at her own motives and choices. This is an older, wiser, sadder, and very reluctant heroine, torn between revenge and compassion. McCormick captures these conflicts by changing the pitch and pacing of Katniss's voice. Katniss is both a pawn of the rebels and the victim of President Snow, who uses Peeta to try to control Katniss. Peeta's struggles are well evidenced in his voice, which goes from rage to puzzlement to an unsure return to sweetness. McCormick also makes the secondary characters—some malevolent, others benevolent, and many confused—very real with distinct voices and agendas/concerns. She acts like an outside chronicler in giving listeners just "the facts" but also respects the individuality and unique challenges of each of the main characters. A successful completion of a monumental series. —Edith Ching, University of Maryland, College Park.
Library Journal


(Starred review.) The highly anticipated conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy does not disappoint. If anything, it may give readers more than they bargained for: in action, in love, and in grief.... Collins does several things brilliantly, not the least of which is to provide heart-stopping chapter endings that turn events on their heads and then twist them once more. But more ambitious is the way she brings readers to questions and conclusions about war throughout the story.
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