In the third and final installment of the saga of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins brings us Mockingjay. This incredible story chronicles the details of a nation's revolt against those who would seek to keep it under their thumbs, and the power of love and friendship in the face of tremendous adversity.
It is the time in the aftermath of the Quarter Quell, and Katniss Everdeen is hanging by a thread. Everything she has ever known has been lost, except for her mother, her sister, and her best friend Gale. Panem is in full-scale rebellion. The disastrous end to her latest trip to the arena keeps her mental state in constant disarray. In addition to all the rest, she is having to struggle to learn a new way of life outside of the only home she has ever known. Alliances formed during the Games are the only link she has to her life before everything around her exploded away.
With Peeta and many of the other Victors being held captive, all thought is bent on how to free them from whatever horrors they must be enduring. Spies from inside the Capitol have the intel they need to strike back, but it comes at a terrible cost. It is only after their mission succeeds that they learn exactly how injurious that may be.
Life after the return of the captives turns to keeping the Mockingjay in the public eye, to give the rebels the strength of will to carry on. As Katniss is shuffled from one district to another, she has to learn to grieve everything that she has lost. Old friendships begin to die out in the face of what has been done to her, leaving precious few allies in her court. Her mother and sister remain in their new home, receiving medical training. Slowly, she begins to find the courage to be the person that everyone already believes she is.
When the fight for Panem finally reaches the Capitol, Katniss endures weeks of physical training to be eligible for combat. She and her squad begin attempts to make it to City Center, with the assassination of President Snow being the main objective. Many heartaches are suffered along the way to achieving their goal, and true colors begin to be shown. When the fighting reaches its horrifying climax, the cost is too much to bear, leaving Katniss shattered beyond repair.
Once the final mission is over, the former residents of District 12 begin to slowly trickle back into their old lives. Stock is taken of everything that has been lost, and people begin to rebuild what the war destroyed. Some return, while others can't bear to come home. The mental instability that gripped Katniss at the outset has had a resurgence, and only one person can help her to lift it away -- Peeta, who has finally returned to her after being hijacked by those in the Capitol. As the story comes to a close, we see the bright new future that waited for the people of Panem.
While this was my least favorite of the three, the book was incredible nonetheless. (The mental illness Katniss suffered hit a bit too close to home, and made reading from her perspective somewhat more difficult than I was quite prepared for.) Definitely a fitting end for a dystopian masterpiece, however heartrending the anguish may have become prior to the conclusion. I can't recommend this trilogy highly enough!