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Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay: shocking and original

August 23, 2010 |  6:57 am

MockingjayFirst thing tomorrow, Suzanne Collins' much-anticipated "Mockingjay" goes on sale. It's the conclusion of the post-apocalyptic young adult trilogy that began with "The Hunger Games," securing Collins a regular slot on bestseller lists. Susan Carpenter has our review:

Where "The Hunger Games" set the stage for the unusual post-apocalyptic world in which Katniss first rose up from her inconsequential and impoverished life as an ace archer to win fame as a killer with a heart (and to become an unpredictable antihero for the masses), and "Catching Fire" uses that same stage to prime the pump for a brewing rebellion, "Mockingjay" takes readers into new territories and an even more brutal and confusing world: one where it's unclear what sides the characters are on, one where presumed loyalties are repeatedly stood on their head.

Much of the action takes place on a battlefield akin to Iraq -- where innocent civilians are murdered to further a cause and each side resorts to unsavory tactics that could lead to a terrorist label. More maudlin than the first two books in the series, "Mockingjay" is also the most violent and bloody and, based on the actions and statements of its characters, its most overtly antiwar -- though not so much that it distracts from a series conclusion that is nearly as shocking, and certainly every bit as original and thought provoking, as "The Hunger Games."

"Mockingjay" officially goes on sale just past midnight; on Tuesday, The Mystery Bookstore opens at 9 a.m. with breakfast, games and prizes for fans of the Hunger Games series. They'll begin selling copies of "Mockingjay" at 10 a.m., when other stores around the city will begin ringing it up, too.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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