05 October 2010

Book of the Week (75): "The Hunger Games 3: Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins

I find trilogies tricky. More often than not I love the first volume, even more so the second, and find that the third doesn’t live up to the promise the previous two hold. I was therefore very much relieved to finish the third instalment of the Hunger Games series (entitled Mockingjay) as it is a real cracker.

Instead of going down the route of mushy love triangle, beautiful heroine, and a clear cut victory, as one expects these days from a bestselling series as this one, Collins carries on down the treacherous path she laid out in the first two volumes – Katniss Everdeen remains tough, often self-centred, at times unpleasant, and a brilliant protagonist. Her two leading men are no prince charmings either, and often as in real life, the opposition is not that different from the government in power.

The plot begins with a rebellious Katniss stranded in District 13 against her wishes, and mightily ticked off at the fact that Peeta was left behind and is now at the mercy of President Snow and the Capitol. Being underground makes her claustrophobic, and the constant pressure to become the Mockingjay - the televised face of the districts’ revolt - is getting on her nerves. As usual, she has to do things her way, and via twists and turns, she finds herself with a small, but not really trustworthy, crew, fighting in the streets for her life and for the ultimate cause – to take her revenge on President Snow.

This novel is a page-turner alright, but there is more to it. The violence escalates with tragic results – expect the death of many loved characters, and the scarring, emotional and physical, of many more. After all, this is what Collins is out to show – war is ugly (and reality TV is bad for you). Enjoy!

Recommended by Noga Applebaum

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