Mockingjay is perfect.
Completely, utterly and 100% perfect. I could not, in a million years, have predicted how Suzanne Collins could have ended her epic dystopian trilogy so perfectly.
Like many fans, I cracked open the spine of Mockingjay with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation. I couldn’t wait to find out how everything would end, yet I feared the possibilities. I knew there was a very good chance things would not end well – but despite my general preference for happily ever afters, I also knew that a saccharine ending wouldn’t be satisfying, either. Not this time. There had to be more, and Collins delivers.
With Mockingjay, Collins stays true to her characters and the world she’s created since page one of The Hunger Games – while still giving them room to grow and flourish. Katniss has depth we’ve only glimpsed until now – and she continues her role as an imperfect, unlikely and reluctant heroine. There is much still to learn about both Gale and Peeta, as well — and what role they will play in Katniss’s life. And then there are the supporting characters, who each rise to a new level in Mockingjay: Haymitch, Prim, Finnick, Johanna, and several new faces. And let’s not forget the face of the enemy – President Snow.
The book also further explores themes from the first two books. There’s the subject of the enemy, who can be trusted, and the corruptible nature of power. The overarching idea of televised entertainment and the power of the media continues to serve as a backbone to the story. In a way, both the Capitol and the rebel forces use the media as a form of warfare more potently than guns and weapons. And without seeming preachy, the concept really makes one sit back and consider the world around us today. What we see on TV. How information is disseminated. (It’s an especially poignant concept for me, considering I work in TV news. It was an odd feeling to find myself relating to certain characters who were always angling for the best possible camera shot to make a story look good on TV.) And then there’s the sense that Katniss and her companions are still deeply entrenched in the Hunger Games themselves, even though they’ve long since left the arena.
Mockingjay is haunting and emotionally draining, but in the best possible way. I’m not prone to crying over fiction, but I found myself closing the book with tears in my eyes simply as a way to unleash some of the compounded emotions. (And please bear in mind that people cry for many, many reasons – so don’t take my tears as an excuse to jump to any conclusions). I finished Mockingjay with a sense of completion, exhaustion and exhilaration. I wasn’t just satisfied by the ending; I was consumed by it. It was, as I’ve said, perfect. It ended exactly how it needed to end. And while I closed the book with tears in my eyes, there was also a huge smile on my face. There still is.
So all I’m left to say is this: Thank you, Suzanne Collins.