Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I don't expect my review or other ones like it to deter people from reading this book. Anyone who follows this series is going to want to know what happens to the characters they love and the world they inhabit. Though I don't often think this, I hope the movie franchise Hollywood-izes the finale. Without giving too much away, I felt this ending was an attempt to portray what would really happen to people in the circumstances these characters have been in.
There are two problems with this, though. 1) Readers will be used to reading these books as an escape from real life, not to have gritty reality rubbed in their faces and 2) I didn't find it realistic. See, the thing is, I know people who've been tortured. One of my teachers was a survivor of Robben Island and has been one of Amnesty International's highlighted prisoners for a year. A letter writing campaign moved him from one torturous situation (I don't remember which, because before being on Robben Island and after, he was shunted around to work camps and other horrific places) to a slightly less torturous one. Another advisor of mine was imprisoned in Chile's national stadium, which was converted in to an enormous prison when their Marxist government was overthrown. I've known people who were child soldiers, refugees, and the survivors of genocide attempts, so when I say Mockingjay is unrealistic, I don't mean that I merely wish life were different.
I felt that this series started with a promise, that Katniss was going to be someone whose journey mattered, and I felt this third book fell a little short of that promise. Her final act of rebellion is shrouded in a haze of psychological detachment. It's hard to say why she did it. The love triangle is resolved for her, not by her. My biggest disappointment, though? Peeta. He was the survivor of the Hunger Games who lacked the ruthlessness to win them. He was a classic example of someone who's witnessed atrocities and not allowed himself to be changed by them. I fully expected him to go on to have a major role in the new political system, and what happened instead made me wonder why I'd been following his journey all this time. I don't regret reading this book at all. I had to know how things turned out, but I think the characters I met in the first book really were capable of more.