POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT
At the stroke of midnight on August 27, 2010 after 12 hours of nearly continuous reading I found myself leaving the dystopian world of Panem, being startled to find myself in the familiar setting of my living room with one word in my mind...WOW. I had just picked up my copy of Mockingjay that morning when buying a couple of items at WalMart. I know, I know you are probably thinking, what took her so long to get a copy?!
Well, I have a quirk, one of many actually. When I read a superb book like Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games followed by the sequel the next year knowing that I will probably have to wait another year for the final book, I wait to read book two. I had just started Catching Fire on Wednesday finishing it up on Thursday night. It was so good that there was no way I was going to take a chance on whether the mail would deliver book three the following day. Of course, now I have two copies but I know my students will be using them.
And how do I describe Mockingjay to you? I will tell you that the quality of writing does not waver. You just get sucked into this shell of the former United States like you did in the first two books from the very first sentence. The action, suspense, psychological ploys used by characters and plot twists were so intense that sometimes I had to remind myself to breathe. Characters you have come to love or hate were so finely drawn in subtle nuances that you are actually cheering out loud or softly crying. Katniss Everdeen, so strong, a survivor in every way and yet so vulnerable has never come to life as she did in this final book. Peeta, her partner in that Hunger Game that broke all the rules and sparked the rebellion, has become a deadly puppet. (Or has he?) Gale, her hunting partner from District 12 who understands her better than any other, has begun to shift his alliances. As the plot pulled me along I could not help but wonder who would be left? Who would be with who? You just never knew.
And that is the sheer beauty of good writing...when the days of the story become your days...when you look up from the pages of the book and expect to see the characters in front of you...when your surroundings fade away and you...are...there.
This trilogy of Suzanne Collins will find a place on my shelves right next to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. They are keepers. They are books to be initially enhaled and later savored again and again.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the buzz begins about casting for the movie. Of course as good as the movies may be, they are never really quite as good as the books.