"Mockingjay" reviews: how fares the summer's most anticipated book?

"Mockingjay" may be the best thing to happen to publishers this season.

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    "Mockingjay" author Suzanne Collins reads from the last book in her wildly popular "Hunger Game" series.
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"Mockingjay" has finally landed. And while last week some of my adult friends still didn't know what that meant, today it seems that most of them – along with the rest of the world – are getting a clue.

"Mockingjay" is the third book in author Suzanne Collins's wildly popular "Hunger Games" series. The books offer a dark, dystopian take on America of the future (Collins says she drew her inspiration from imagining a cross between the war in Iraq and reality TV) in which children must compete to the death in a series of televised games.

The books may not sound like typical young adult fare but that's the audience they were aimed at – although they now appear to have fully crossed over and to be every bit as admired by adult readers.

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"Hunger Game" fans have been waiting all summer for this week's release of "Mockingjay" and, much like the release of a Harry Potter book, many celebrated at midnight parties. And was it worth the wait? If you check reviews to date, the answer would appear to be yes.

"Fans aren't likely to be disappointed," says the Los Angeles Times, which credits the book with bringing the series to "a wrenchingly satisfying conclusion."

" 'Mockingjay' is the real deal," declares USA Today, which predicts that "Collins' fans, grown-ups included, will race to the end."

Entertainment Weekly, which is using "Mockingjay" to kick off its new book club, gives the series closer a grade of B+. "Fans will be happy to hear that 'Mockingjay' is every bit as complex and imaginative as 'Hunger Games' and 'Catching Fire,' " writes EW critic Nicole Spurling. Spurling also notes, however, that "Collins has kicked the brutal violence up a notch" in what she calls "an edge-of-your-seat plot."

What's our take on "Mockingjay"? Check back tomorrow to see Monitor critic Yvonne Zipp's review of the book that she, too, couldn't wait to get her hands on.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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