Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

Mockingjay - Suzanne  Collins I'm going to preface this review by saying that while I loved this book (and loved the Hunger Games series overall), I understand why there such a divide on those who may love and hate this book to tears (or be somewhere in the middle). Considering this series has been an eye opening account of war in the eyes of a teenager who utterly finds herself fighting against every challenge she faces (whether she wants to or not) and struggling to determine whom she loves in the process, this book basically takes the mental strain Katniss Everdeen has faced up to this point and starts to show us where she breaks down, and it's not a pretty picture. I'm not so much saying that she's an anti-hero in this book (she may very well be to some), but it certainly feels like she doesn't have the same mental scope as the previous books. Considering the scheme of events that happen to her in this book, I don't blame her. Many tend to forget she's only a teenager, and the mental strain of all the loss is understandable, but I wish it were handled a little better towards the end.When I finished reading this, I'll admit I felt completely, emotionally drained, in probably the same way that I felt drained when I saw an old anime series called Space Runaway Ideon (which, if you watch the final movie and what happens to essentially all the characters - it's brutal, depressing and yet somewhat hopeful, regardless of how you might feel about the original series). I'd describe Mockingjay in somewhat the same way - brutal, depressing and yet somewhat hopeful, but it may not be obvious to the reader where the hopeful part comes in.Let me give a bit of background on this book before I post my interpretations. Katniss has not only survived two Hunger Games, but she wakes up to realize that District 12 is completely decimated by the Peacekeepers and forces from the Capitol. Peeta's family's dead, her family managed to get out alive with Gale's help, and the Capitol is waging a full-on tete-a-tete with Peeta as their representation. Even while Peeta tries to send messages to Katniss and rebel in his own way, it's obvious that he cannot hold up that measure for very long.Torn by the events she observes and wanting to fight where she can, Katniss agrees to become the symbol of the resistance - the Mockingjay. Here's where I think Collins created a beautiful duality - you can only get so far in terms of being a symbol on your own. Where Katniss falls in terms of trying to be the representation of the Resistance, even when there are moments where she does step up to plate and does it beautifully, it's not enough to be that representation and not go hand in hand with the ideals you may have - it's about where you fight. It's interesting that the resistance movement in District 13 has it's own stringent rules and regulations that could compare to the Capitol, and all in all, Collins shows about how pawns are manipulated on all sides in war, and that in the end, everyone suffers a loss, even if it turns across in victory. There are many character deaths in this book, but I don't think they progressed so quickly that I didn't feel for them. It's realistic, gritty, and unerringly tragic.But I do think there were areas where Collins could've ended this better. I want to say in the last third of the novel, towards the end, it was thrown together in a way that I think dwelled too much into Katniss psyche where it was drawn out too much in her numbing mindset. Realistic yes, but effective - not always. I do think the Epilogue comes full circle with establishing that in these kinds of games, there may be winners but with heavy costs. Overall score: 3.5/5