Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's 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.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.
Intense. Fast paced. Picks up not too long after Catching Fire leaves off. Katniss was rescued by the rebels from District 13 and Peeta was captured and taken to the Capitol. While happy to be reunited with her family and Gale, she is devastated at the thought that she may have lost Peeta.
As Katniss tries to come to terms with the fact that Peeta may not be part of her future, she realizes that she must embrace the cause of the rebellion, knowing that the future, with or without Peeta, is uncertain. As she struggles to accept and understand her role, she also discovers that life in District 13 isn't necessarily any better than it was under Capitol control.
My heart ached when Katniss was finally reunited with Peeta and she realizes how changed he is. Peeta always embodied hope to her. His goodness and kindness were beacons in their dismal, oppressed world and to watch their relationship shatter into pieces was simply heartbreaking. To see Katniss finally view herself through Peeta's altered eyes was tragic. He was no longer the Boy with the Bread who loved her. He was the boy who would look at her and see that she had manipulated and used him. Her fear that their relationship may never be the same is palpable. Yet, I was so frustrated when, rather than do all she could to help get him back, she pushed him away.
As the war against the Capitol rages, the story's pace intensifies. There is a lot of action and this is another one that I can't wait to see how it translates onto the big screen.
Like The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, it's not an easy book to read at times. There is a lot of action and a high body count, but the rebellion is strong and while the course the story follows isn't predictable, it's a logical road for it to take. There are many who will complain about the ending, but I found it appropriate. After what Katniss and Peeta have experienced, after fighting a war and surviving like they have, no ending is perfectly wrapped up. There are going to be loose ends, there are going to be questions, there are going to be consequences.
This is a series that has stayed with me. I've thought a lot about it. I've reworded and rewritten my reviews. Is it about government oppression? Is it about war and rebellion? Is it about society fighting back? Is it about the haves and have nots? Is it about survival of the fittest? Or, is it about the human spirit and that no matter what happens, you will never kill it off?
I don't have one specific answer. But, I do think this is a great, thought-provoking series and one that I think should be read by both parents and their youth. It's a great springboard for discussion about society, government and relationships. I loved it. I wanted more, especially in the epilogue. But, I loved it.
A fitting end to a fantastic series. Real or not real?
I read my own personal copy, but you can purchase your own here.
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**This post has been edited because as I continue to think about this book, my thoughts evolve and develop. This review will probably go through several reiterations before I'm completely happy with it.