Mockingjay is a 2010 science fiction novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is the last installment of The Hunger Games, following 2008’s The Hunger Games and 2009’s Catching Fire. The book continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, who agrees to unify the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.
The hardcover and audiobook editions of Mockingjay were published by Scholastic on August 24, 2010, six days after the ebook edition went on sale. The book sold 450,000 copies in the first week of release, exceeding the publisher’s expectations. It received a generally positive reaction from critics. The novel was adapted into two films. The first part was released on November 21, 2014, while the second part was released on November 20, 2015.
Katniss, her sister Prim, and her friends Finnick and Gale all reluctantly adjust to a highly structured life in the underground District 13, which has been spearheading the rebellion in Panem. Feeling manipulated, Katniss eventually agrees to act as “the Mockingjay” — the symbol of the rebellion — but only on the condition that District 13’s President Alma Coin grant immunity to all of the surviving Hunger Games tributes, including Katniss’s friend Peeta Mellark and Finnick’s lover Annie Cresta. Coin, however, insists on flipping for Katniss’s other major demand – the right to personally execute Panem’s President Snow.
Katniss and the rebels learn that Peeta is alive, though he is being tortured by the Capitol in an attempt to demoralize and control Katniss. When a rescue team succeeds in extracting him, they discover that Peeta has been brainwashed, programmed to fear and despise Katniss. After he attempts to kill her, he is kept restrained under heavy guard at all times, while medics seek a cure.
A controversial strategy proposed by Gale results in a decisive victory in District 2, enabling the rebels to launch a final assault against the Capitol itself. Katniss is assigned to a squad and sent to a relatively quiet sector so that a film crew can shoot propaganda. President Coin sends Peeta along, even though he is still dangerous and unpredictable. From this, Katniss suspects Coin wants her dead because she has too much influence and has not shown much support for Coin.
While they are filming in a supposedly safe Capitol neighborhood, Boggs, the team’s commander, is killed. Before he dies, he puts Katniss in charge. She decides on her own to try to infiltrate the Capitol and kill Snow. Her team follows her. In the intense urban warfare that ensues, most of Katniss’s comrades, including Finnick, are killed. Katniss perseveres alone. As she reaches Snow’s mansion, a hoverplane drops parachutes carrying bombs, some of which explode among a group of children being used as human shields around the mansion. Rebel medics (including Katniss’s sister Prim) rush in to help the injured children, but in a calculated move, the rest of the bombs go off, taking a heavy toll on the medics. Prim is killed and Katniss sustains severe burns, but the rebels succeed in taking the Capitol.
During her recuperation, Katniss is deeply depressed over her sister’s death. When she confronts Snow, he claims that Coin orchestrated the bombing that caused Prim’s death, arguing that Coin made it appear to be Snow’s work to turn his remaining supporters against him and that, if he had had a hovercraft at his disposal, he would have used it to escape, rather than send it on a futile bombing mission. Katniss is horrified to realize that the tactic that killed the medics had been proposed earlier by Gale (though for another purpose). When Katniss confronts Gale about his possible involvement, he does not know. She becomes convinced that, rather than establishing a republic governed by representatives from each of the Districts, Coin intends to take Snow’s place and maintain the status quo.
On the day Snow is to be executed, interim President Coin asks the remaining Hunger Games victors to vote on a proposal to hold a final Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol’s leaders. Katniss votes “yes—for Prim.” She draws her bow, supposedly to execute Snow, but instead turns and kills Coin. She immediately attempts suicide, but Peeta stops her, and she is arrested during the ensuing riot. Afterward, Snow is found dead.
Katniss is acquitted of murder by reason of insanity and sent home to District 12. Months later, Peeta and some other District 12 natives also return there. Peeta has gradually recovered the memories of his love for Katniss. Katniss embraces her love for Peeta, recognizing her need for his hope and strength. Together, they write a book to preserve the memory of those who died. Peeta still suffers flashbacks from being brainwashed, and Katniss still wakes up screaming from nightmares.
In the epilogue set 20 years later, Katniss and Peeta have two children. The Hunger Games are over for good, and the children represent the hope that future generations will benefit from the sacrifices of their parents. Katniss dreads the day her children learn about their parents’ involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels distressed, Katniss plays a comforting but repetitive game: reminding herself of every good thing she has ever seen someone do. The series ends with Katniss’ somber reflection that “There are much worse games to play.”
#1 USA Today Bestseller
#1 New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
#1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2010
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A 2010 Booklist Editors’ Choice
A 2010 Kirkus Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010
“Fans will be happy to hear that Mockingjay is every bit as complex and imaginative as Hunger Games and Catching Fire.”
“Suspenseful… Collins’ fans, grown-ups included, will race to the end.”
“At its best the trilogy channels the political passion of 1984, the memorable violence of A Clockwork Orange, the imaginative ambience of The Chronicles of Narnia and the detailed inventiveness of Harry Potter.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Unfolding in Collins’ engaging, intelligent prose and assembled into chapters that end with didn’t-see-that-coming cliffhangers, this finale is every bit the pressure cooker of its forebears. [Mockingjay] is nearly as shocking, and certainly every bit as original and thought provoking, as The Hunger Games. Wow.”
-Los Angeles Times
* “This concluding volume in Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy accomplishes a rare feat, the last installment being the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level.”
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
There are two “winners” in this Hunger Games lottery, a girl and a boy. Actually they are selected – drafted. Their names are pulled out at random. They get to compete with eleven other boys and eleven other girls in a war- games-type arena. There can only be one winner in the Hunger Games – the person still alive at the end of the games.
We follow Katniss, a girl from District Twelve, the poorest district, and Peeta, the baker’s son, from the same district. Peeta has had a crush on Katniss since she was five years old. She owes him for giving her bread when her family was starving. She feels she should repay this debt. Now they might be forced to kill each other.
The pageantry leading up to the games at times resembles a beauty contest, at times resembles training for participation in a less-lethal sport and at times it resembles preparation for a bullfight.
This is a terrifying story, but it’s also a life enhancing a story as the 24 children (ages 12 to 18) in the games sometimes form alliances based on friendship or need. It’s hard to trust anyone knowing that person might soon become your killer.
There’s are lessons in survival here. There’s also romance as Katniss isn’t sure if she loves Peeta, but she cares for him enough to fight for his survival as well as her own.