OPINION ONE: Collins' conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy is without a doubt a page-turner. The author pushes the emotional buttons as Katniss tries to make sense of her new reality. The romance triangle wraps up in a satisfying manner. However, overall, the book is stark and bleak — much like war itself. The resolution is not entirely satisfying, and the Katniss shown in the epilogue seems almost removed from her own reality.
OPINION TWO: I know the response to Mockingjay has been varied, but I love, love, loved it. I thought the inherent darkness of the tale was absolutely necessary to the plot, and really, if Katniss — who, let's be honest, was never chipper to begin with — was lighthearted after all she'd been through, it would have really rung false. Katniss' struggles throughout the novel are heart-wrenching and realistic and I'll be darned if Collins didn't wring some tears from me. I even loved the end even though I was (ahem) firmly on the other Team, boywise. Collins does this amazing thing in her prose, where she consistently zigs when you think she's going to zag. "Oh, I know what's going to happen next," you'll think, and it never, ever does. The trilogy is destined to be a classic, one I'll relish reading again and again.
OPINION THREE: The first time I read Mockingjay I devoured it so quickly I had to go back and re-read whole swaths. This was no sacrifice; Collins is so skilled and masterful that I did so gladly. Katniss’ character arc is heartbreaking and believable, and her friends — and enemies — are well drawn. I was happy with the love-triangle resolution, but it’s secondary to the main point of the story, which is, to quote a popular ‘70s poster: War is not healthy for children and other living things.
SUMMARY: After being extracted from the arena by the rebels following her second Hunger Games, Katniss must deal with the devastating fallout and consequences of the revolution, including the annihilation of District 12. Adjusting to life in District 13 proves difficult as she struggles to accept the role the rebels have set out for her, while President Snow continues to bait her from afar. (SCHOLASTIC, Sep., 400 pp., $17.99)