Mockingjay is the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy and pretty much my least favorite. It is still a great book but the last page of the book (not counting the epilogue) just left a bad taste in my mouth- but more on that later. Please Note: this review may contain spoilers for those who haven't finished the series.
Mockingjay opens with Katniss recovering in District 13. She has her mother, sister and Gale with her but Katniss is worried about Peeta, who has been taken by the Capitol. District 13 is, in many ways, the opposite of the Capitol but in some ways, they're the same. Everyone is 13 has food to eat, it's doled out based on the size and age of the person as well as the physical requirements of their job. District 13 is run a bit like socialism in it's purest form. Everyone is assigned a job and they get what they need in exchange for doing that job. The Capitol is the opposite in that the Districts provide everything for the Capitol and receive little in return. The people of the Districts are starving while life in the Capitol is all about over indulgence. The Capitol and District 13 are both kept running by the tight control that the leader keeps over the people at large. If someone steps a toe out of line, punishment is swift and severe. The leaders can not appear weak to their people if their government system is to work.
President Coin of District 13 wants Katniss to become the Mockingjay, the face/spokesperson of their revolution. At first she is unmoved by the offer, wanting only to spend time with her family while she heals and mourns Peeta's fate. Katniss believes that she is responsible for his capture and whatever may be happening to him at the hands of the Capitol. But she's not in love with him! She thinks she may be falling for Gale but Katniss gradually realizes that Gale's ambitions and beliefs are not a match for her own.
Eventually, Katniss does decide to become the Mockingjay but she makes a list of demands that District 13 must agree to before she agrees to be their poster girl. She gets a new bow made especially for her by Beetee and a Mockingjay outfit with armor that Cinna designed before the Capitol attacked him. Katniss is taken out to be seen by the people of the Districts so that they will rally behind District 13 and their revolution. They have her make commercials to help get their message out to the masses. Eventually, a team from District 13 goes into the Capitol to free the victors who had been taken hostage, including Peeta, Johanna and Finnick's true love, Annie. When Katniss is brought to see Peeta, it becomes evident that he has been brainwashed by the Capitol. He can no longer stand her. It breaks her heart a little, I think, to no longer have the Peeta that she knew- the Boy with the Bread.
Katniss suggests that they should try to counteract the brainwashing and Peeta does begin to heal slowly. When the day comes that the revolutionaries are supposed to take the Capitol, President Coin has added Peeta to Katniss' team. Katniss and the others believe that this means that the President is hoping that Peeta will snap and kill Katniss. The team makes their way through the Capitol with the goal of finding President Snow and capturing him so that he may stand trial, prior to Katniss executing him.
Will Peeta ever be himself again? Who is Katniss going to end up with? Is either government right? All kinds of questions are answered in this book. Now, I have to make it clear that I did like this book. I did. It was emotional, thought provoking and action packed. The main issue that I take with the book is the way that the ending was handled. I've said before that it goes a bit like this: Peeta and Katniss take up scrapbooking, eventually get together, the end. Really?! It was not a satisfying ending for me because I wanted to have some closure. I wanted to see them heal and come back to one another- not one paragraph and a 2 page epilogue on their children. It felt rushed and a lot like Suzanne Collins just ran out of time or was rushed to get the book out. I would have really dug a different ending piece but everything up until that paragraph was really good.