Popular Kids Book

Posted by jcmaziquemd on August 29, 2010

Children’s Books


    By Suzanne Collins
    Scholastic Press, 390 pages, $17.99

    In the final volume of Suzanne Collins’s blockbuster Hunger Games trilogy, people are murdered by a stunningly baroque variety of means: snared in barbed nets, smothered with gas, coated in poisonous gel, steamed like lobsters, melted like candles and beheaded by mutants. In one scene, victims only narrowly escape the metal teeth of something called the Meat Grinder. Light romantic comedy this is not—nor is it suitable for younger readers, however ready they may insist they are—but admirers of the first two books, “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire,” are likely to find “Mockingjay” everything they’d hoped for. Having survived two horrific tours in a televised gladiatorial arena, 17-year-old Katniss Everdeen has become the media face of a provincial rebellion against the cruel, decadent Capitol. Dressed in a dramatic bulletproof costume, primped by stylists and followed by a film crew, Katniss goes about giving succor to the wounded and dealing death to the enemy. Her acts are turned into “propo” videos designed to rouse the rebels and demoralize the Capitol. Yet evil President Snow is broadcasting unnerving propos of his own, featuring Katniss’s sometime boyfriend, Peeta, who is evidently being held and tortured. As in all the books, Katniss is a deeply conflicted person. She is torn between the desire to protect and to destroy, between the competing imperatives of leadership and independence, and between Peeta and her handsome childhood companion, Gale. Soon Katniss begins to question whether the rebels are really as noble as they wish to seem. The author’s prose tends to be rather flat—Ms. Collins does much more telling than showing—but that won’t impede her legions of fans as Katniss’s story hurtles to its violent, if ultimately hopeful, conclusion.

    —Meghan Cox GurdonPrinted in The Wall Street Journal, page W8


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