Mockingjay  - Suzanne  Collins Original review (2011):
Wow, just wow. I've enjoyed the previous two books in the trilogy but this was really something else, emotional and powerful and excitement at every turn of the page. The tension and action was amazing, and the issues dealt with in this series makes it easy to forget they're young adult novels! I would recommend this series highly and this book was by far the best of all. I'll be thinking about it for a long time, so many things still rattling around in my head after reading.

Updated audio book review (2013):

This review is also available here on TotalTeenFiction.

Spoilers for THG and Catching Fire ahead!

Audio Review:
I've been listening to the whole Hunger Games trilogy on audiobook as a way to re-read the series, and I was so excited to get to Mockingjay, the final installment.

What struck me about listening to this book in particular was how well the narrator managed to get across the fear and turmoil each of the characters was feeling. Both Katniss' inner monologue and the other character voices were spoken with such emotion. This is a book that really packs a punch when it comes to certain emotions and the narration really added to that.

Like the previous books, I found listening to the book made me focus on some of the smaller details that I missed on my initial reads. The books are so fast paced and addictive that it's easy to get carried away and miss things. In the case of Mockingjay, I really appreciated some of the atrocities that took place in a way I didn't the first time round. Listening to it at a much slower pace (McCormick's reading speed is quite gentle) made me even more horrified at what was going on.

I think of all the audiobooks, this is by far my favourite. I didn't really have any niggles or problems with it as I was so absorbed in the story. I'd highly recommend listening to this trilogy and in particular this book. It brings the story to life and makes everything that bit more real. A thrilling end to a gripping trilogy.

Audio Rating: 5/5

Plot Review:
As this was a re-read, I was already aware of the plot of Mockingjay, but there were plenty of moments I'd either forgotten about or were just as exciting second time round. The book starts out with the reader learning of the destruction of District 12 and discovering more about the mysterious District 13.

What I really like about Mockingjay is that it feels completely different to the previous two books. Whereas they relied on the Hunger Games to provide the action and main plot, this book steps away from the completely and turns to the harsh realities of war in the real world. It makes for a different structure and a more powerful story.

Collins has really succeeded in highlighting the effects of what has been happening in Panem. Every character is showing some sort of scar from the events of the past few months, whether it be physical or mental. I thought the mental distress of several of the characters was handled really well and demonstrated clearly just how horrifying and traumatic war can be.

What I loved about Catching Fire was the imaginative ideas used in the arena, and in Mockingjay all the imagination is channeled into the way of life in 13 and more information about the Capitol. All those ideas of things we see in the arena are even more terrifying in the real world. There were some truly powerful ideas and moments that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

There's a great focus on the characters, their loyalties and their roles in the war. I thought it was really interesting getting a look at these characters we've come to love in such a troubling situations. It really tests them and shows their true colours. Everyone gets their moment to shine, or highlights why they're not as perfect as they seem. I thought it was great how everyone's story gets wrapped up in some way, whether that be good or bad. There were some heartbreaking moments for me as the war starts to take its toll.

It's a phenomenal end to the trilogy but I liked that not everything was made to be happy and perfect. I liked certain elements of the ending and how certain questions were answered but there was still so much to think about once you've finished. It's a book that stays with you for a long time.

Plot rating: 5/5

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