Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, and you want to read them, just bookmark this page and come back to it later on.  It’s impossible to review a sequel without giving away some of what has happened in the previous books.

Mockingjay is the third and final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  This book picks up in the aftermath of Katniss’ escape from the arena.  Katniss, Beeta and Finnick are all rescued from the arena by District 13, the district that was long-ago thought to have been destroyed by the Capitol as an example to the other districts.

Turns out District 13 was alive and kicking all these years, but they made an agreement with the Capitol to not destroy it with nuclear weapons if the Capitol would just leave them alone.  Since that time, District 13 has been living underground, building up a resistance in the Capitol, and biding its time until everything started falling into place, which began with Katniss and Peeta’s decision to commit suicide by poison berries in the 74th Hunger Games, rather than kill one another at the end of the Game, forcing the Capitol’s hand and undermining their rule.

By the time the book starts, some of the districts are in outright rebellion against the Capitol.  Some have even taken control of their district entirely.  Katniss is back at District 13 where the heads of state want to make her a spokesperson for the rebellion.  Katniss struggles with becoming this figurehead, but upon seeing Peeta, who was unable to be saved during the escape from the Arena at the end of Catching fire and is clearly being tortured by the Capitol, she makes up her mind… on the condition that she gets to kill President Snow.  Katniss gets involved in the rebellion, and the rebel troops close in on the Capitol and President Snow.

I won’t give away the ending to the series here, but let me say, it was unexpected.  As I was reading, in the back of my mind, I had the story wrapped up in a neat little bow.  That package was set on fire… literally before the final chapter brought closure to Katniss’ attempt to assassinate President Snow.

You pretty much know from the beginning that the rebels are going to capture the Capitol and that it’s reign is coming to an end.  It’s how we get there that is somewhat surprising.

The series as a whole is a study on human nature in horrible situations.  By the end of the third book, I couldn’t help but wonder how things would have continued for the new government if one particular decision was carried out – namely, to start a new series of Hunger Games by drafting the children of the Capitol.

I would definitely recommend these books if you are looking for some simple summer reading.  Again, not award-winning writing, but it is fun, entertaining and engaging, which is good enough for me.

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