“People of Panem, we fight, we dare, we end our hunger for justice!”
District 12 is gone. Katniss has escaped from the Quarter Quell along with Finnick and Johanna, but Peeta was left behind and may be dead or being tortured by the Capitol. Gale is poor comfort to Katniss, given that they are stuck in underground bunkers and cannot hunt. And now the leader of District 13 wants to use Katniss as the face of the rebellion…
Mockingjay is at once a wonderful and unsatisfactory ending to the Hunger Games trilogy. The political revolution and the war that must come in order to end the Capitol are expected and necessary, but brutal and overcooked. So many people die. The huge final battle goes on for ever and you read faster and faster trying to get to the end of it and you end up getting lost because here’s another terrible thing – snakes! Treacherous ground! Mutts! Sirens! It’s a bit “here be dragons” except over and over and over again. Much like the last instalment of Harry Potter.
Gale and Peeta are both developed thoroughly as characters in volume three, and both discover very dark sides. Gale’s proficiency at war design is frightening; Peeta’s brainwashing is awful and terrifying – particularly as he never seems to fully shake it off. His strength becomes a liability, rather than the boon it was in the first two books. The love triangle is eventually resolved; I don’t think I would have minded which one she ended up with! But Mockingjay is full of personal tragedy for Katniss.
As in Catching Fire, Panem’s political system has some surprises for us. Coin, the leader of the rebels, is not all she seems. Katniss does something extraordinary towards the end of the book and is then isolated during its aftermath, so we don’t really see the aftermath very well.