Mockingjay is the third in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games Trilogy (one of the most exciting future dystopia YA books out there these days, highly recommended for boy and girl readers).

cross posted to Goodreads

Mockingjay picks up with an emotionally devastated, scarred and confused Katniss hanging out with the rebels in District 13.

After the wounds, both physical and emotional, Katniss sustained in the Quarter Quell, she retreats with the other participant survivors and Gale to District 13, where if life isn’t the same as her home district 12, at least she is with her family and there is a routine.

Katniss slowly gets better, until she makes the fateful decision to become the rebel’s Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion, and to not only join in the fighting action against the Capitol, but to go after President Snow himself.

I picked up Mockingjay with some trepidation. The first two books were standouts, nail-bitingly tense, glorious characterization, and a heroine who refuses to be cornered or boxed in.

And after the horror of the Quarter Quell, and losing Peeta to President Snow, I didn’t know how the author could go any further with the story without wading into the morass of depression, loss of hope, collateral damage of war, and spiraling descent into a chaotic rebel war with losers on both sides.

And that’s what happens. It isn’t easy to watch Katniss get in more and more over her head. It isn’t easy watching her make new friends, and lose them in horrible ways. It isn’t easy watching her be careless with life, and not reach out to Peeta or her sister in the way she should.

But that’s not why it didn’t get all the stars for me, because those parts, while difficult to read, aren’t necessarily badly written. On the contrary, I liked the choices the book/author made that showed up Katniss as being unarguably human and fallible. Particularly the scene near the end where they are voting on whether to reinstitute the Hunger Games as a form of revenge, and your heart is hoping for Katniss to make the “right” choice….and she makes her own choice.

You can’t help feeling gritty and under a cloud because of it.

No, what made this book not as wonderful as the others was a kind of slowness that made it, coupled with the emotional stupor of Katniss, hard to slog through the text.

Maybe it’s inevitable that a series that starts with such a bang would be hard to end in any way but with a slow, chaotic dance to the finish, but I wanted more from Gale and Peeta, and more from Katniss’ own life than the end provides.

This Book’s Food Designation Rating: Canned chili because you know you’re getting into something a little more than you can handle, and by the end of your bowl, you are not feeling as jazzed about it as you were at the beginning, and yet it still curiously satisfies.