The last in The Hunger Games trilogy is certainly a much grimmer affair than the two preceding it, if is even possible. If you haven’t read this book (or indeed the series), beware spoilers below.
Mockingjay begins with Katniss gravely injured and depressed, Peeta a tortured captive of the Capitol, and District 12 destroyed with its few refugees fostered in the confines of militant District 13. This small collection of tragedies is set against the larger backdrop of civil unrest overtaking Panem, as President Snow and his allies wage war against the rebels within the districts and even the Capitol itself. As is likely in most wars, too much is expected of its participants, with Katniss asked to serve as a figurehead for the dissidents. She is aware that she is a pawn in a much larger game she struggles to understand, but begins to see the larger picture and is really unable to see an alternative.
This final novel is dark and depressing, and a demonstration of how Collins successfully broadens the world of The Hunger Games, both geographically and politically. It is dark and dangerous, where it is evident that there will likely be no happy endings for anyone. Collins is Whedonesque in her willingness to hurt or kill beloved characters, some of them knowingly sacrificed and some just randomly killed. It is not what I would have expected of a YA adult, with characters it can be hard to like and storylines without pat lessons offered.
It has been several months since I finished this series, and I have had to restrain myself from going back and rereading it, given how far behind I am in my reviewing and feeling pressure to keep up my reading pace.