This is the third, and final, book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. If you read the first two books, you will read this one. All I can say is to be prepared for one heck of a ride. A lot happens in this book and Collins doesn’t hold off on killing off a lot of people.
The book starts where Catching Fire left off. Katniss is in District 13 with Gale, her mom, and her sister Prim. The Rebel group based in District 13 is trying to get Katniss to take up the Mockingjay symbol and become the face of their revolution. Katniss is unsure if she wants to go this route or not. Peeta is still missing and presumed captured by President Snow and being held in the Capital. Katniss’s journey eventually leads to the capital itself and a final face-off with President Snow.
This is a hard book to review without spoilers but I will give it my best shot. The pace of this book is relentless. Collins does not pull punches when it comes to killing off large groups of people, as well as people we love and care about. This is a dark book, and that is putting it mildly.
As far as characterization goes we begin to see even more of what defines Katniss as a character; she is not sentimental, she is a survivor foremost and that it what sets her apart from others. A lot of the decisions made by Katniss in this book are driven by that personality trait. In fact at one point Gale and Peeta are discussing Katniss and who she will “choose”. Gale sums it up perfectly when he says something to the effect of “Katniss will choose whoever she can’t survive without.”
On to other characters. The ruthlessness we saw in Gale at the end of the Catching Fire is built upon in this book. Gale is ruthless and practical to the point of dislike at times. He begins to look like a character that likes what Katniss stands for, rather than who she is. At the end of book two I was Team Gale all the way. I thought that Gale and Katniss had more in common in survival instincts and could pull off a good relationship based on those characteristics. As this book starts and continues, we see a side of Gale that is more ruthless and dispassionate than ever before.
In order to avoid spoilers I won’t say much about Peeta, except that he is back in the story for the second half of the book.
Collins does an excellent job at showing both sides of the story. You get to see both the good the rebel forces do, and the harm they cause in rebelling against the Capital. As Katniss and team enter the capital, Collins relates the Capital takeover as yet another type of dome just like previous “Hunger Games” this is an interesting idea and ties the three novels together well. In each of them we see our teams of characters struggling to stay alive, doing things no one should have to do. In each book there are brutal deaths.
There’s quite the twist at the end of this book. People may be surprised at who Katniss kills. All I have to say about this is that I was satisfied with the choice Katniss made, and had actually been hoping that Collins would have it play out that way. Katniss’s actions at the end seemed like the best way to follow Katniss’s beliefs, while trying to ensure the best ending for humanity as a whole.
The epilogue was interesting. It was kind of nice to get a definitive ending to everything that played out before. It wrapped things up nicely. Still, I didn’t think the epilogue was necessary and I think the book would have actually been a bit better and more thought-provoking without it. As with the previous books the writing style of this book was incredibly readable and engaging; no matter people think of the plot, you have to admit Collins is one heck of a great writer.
Overall I thought this was an excellent conclusion to the series. Readers may not like how some of things play-out; but I thought they played out realistically and I liked the decisions Katniss made at the end…I thought her decisions really stayed true to the core personality trait of her character, which was to survive. I am eagerly awaiting whatever Collins comes up with next.