What You Need to Know:|
• MockingJay is the third and final volume in the hugely popular Hunger Games Trilogy.
• Please refer to our Hunger Games review (first volume in the series) if you haven't read any of them yet, to
• This is a thrilling, compelling, disturbing and TERRIFIC read.
• This is best-seller for a reason, just not appropriate for younger children.
• It has killing, violence, slavery, war, starvation. It can be read on many levels. But there is no simple level, and you
should read on before you put it in the hands of a child.
Sweet Series Background:|
The Hunger Game Trilogy is currently flying off bookshelves. The three books are on lots of bestseller lists, including 73 weeks and still going on the NY Times List. It is these types of books that we debate reviewing and recommending, because it is likely you will have already heard of them, without our "sweet" help. However, these much publicized books for older readers, the chapter books, are precisely why you need us. Sweet on Books reads them for you, if you don't have the time to, and let's you know what's in them so you can make an informed decision on whether your child should read them. And ultimately, if your child does read it, you can be informed about what discussion points are in there.
It is very common for kids who can read well, to get ahead in their reading. But even if they can decode and understand the text, is the content always appropriate? This is a decision we need to make individually and personally as parents, but here at Sweet on Books we would like to provide you the information to make those decisions.
The Hunger Games is set in the not-so-distant future in a fictional nation called Panem, which lies where North America once was. Panem has one central city called The Capitol and thirteen outlying Districts. The Capitol calls the shots for all the Districts and effectively keeps the Districts oppressed by rationing food, electricity and all basic needs. We learn that the Districts live in abject poverty and life is pretty miserable. So miserable that District 13 got so disgusted that they rose up and rebelled. The Capitol was able to quell the uprising and only smoking toxic remains are left of District 13, the land and the people obliterated as an example to the other 12 Districts. Then, in the ultimate form of control, and as a reminder to never do what District 13 did, the Capitol requires each District to send a boy and a girl between the ages of 12-18 each year to the Hunger Games. This abhorrent event is where the 24 tributes, as they are called, will compete to the death on live television until only one survivor is standing and declared the winner. The tributes are picked by lottery, with the poorest and least desirable in each district having the most entries.
Suzanne Collins, the author, has said the story for this trilogy is loosely based on the Greek myth Theseus and the Minataur. Collins has also said Panem is loaded with Roman references, and the actual Hunger Games is modeled on the Roman gladiator games. Click here to read the whole interview with Suzanne Collins.
MockingJay starts with Katniss Everdeen recovering in District 13, where the opposition has taken her to recuperate after their daring rescue of her at the end of Catching Fire. MockingJay is very much the story of a revolution. District 13 is the home district of the rebels. The uprising, that started this trilogy, was quelled by the Capitol. The Capitol thought they obliterated 13 back then. However, the rebels just dug down and ran their opposition from underground (literally). And now that they are public, they want Katniss to be the face of their cause, the Mockingjay. Katniss reluctantly agrees, as long as the rebel's leader, President Coin, saves the other Hunger Game victors and grants them immunity.
When the other victors arrive in District 13, all seems well. However, in a Collins-worthy plot twist, Peeta (her Hunger Games partner and love interest) has been so brainwashed to hate Katniss, he immediately tries to strangle her in their reunion. It seems President Snow, the leader of the establishment and their enemy, has turned Peeta against her.
The rest of the story is about the revolution and what happens to Panem, Katniss, her family, her beloved Gale and Peeta, and the rest of the victors. However, I will stop my plot synopsis here, because I refuse to be a spoiler of this terrific trilogy! You will have to read the books yourself to find out what happens. I think it is possible this is the best book in the trilogy, but some don't agree. A fourteen year old son of a friend found Collins has wrapped the trilogy up too nicely for his taste. Others have said they think the action in this final volume was too futuristic and not believable, I also think this installment is a little more introspective than the other two stories in this trilogy, so others who are looking for pure action are getting a little reflection on the side. Probably not what fourteen year old boys are looking for. Finally, it is impossible for those of us who have waited with baited breath for this book to be released, not to be a little let down that it is over. The lucky readers are those who now pick up Hunger Games for the first time, and get to read all three in a row with no wait. I envy those who haven't read this trilogy yet, and who still have them in their future!
As with the first two books, Mockingjay has many themes embedded that could be used as discussion points with an older audience, including government control, socioeconomic divisions, racism, personal liberties, exploitation (Reality TV, anyone?) and many more. If your reader is not ready for this trilogy, maybe you are?
2010, 400 pages
Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship, Mystery, War
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