Katniss Everdeen, the 'girl on fire', has survived, even though her home, District 12 has been destroyed. Gale has escaped to District 13. Katniss' family is safe. Peeta has been captured and tortured by the Capitol. District 13 does exist. There are rebels and there are leaders. A rebellion is unfolding and war is on the brink.
"It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans — except Katniss."
"The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss' willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay — no matter what the personal cost." She also has a plan to kill President Snow, but when it comes to the point where it's all up to her, she remembers what President Snow said in The Hunger Games, "I thought we agreed we weren't going to lie," she says, "that's right, we did," and she aims a little above President Snow's head, and shoots President Coin.
Part One: The Ashes
Katniss takes stock of her new position as a rebel in District 13. Only three victors were saved from the arena: Beetee (An old man from District 3, also known as Volts), Finnick (The handsome victor from District 4 and Katniss' first ally) and Katniss herself, but Peeta wasn't one of them – he's still missing, along with other victors Enobaria (the female tribute from District 2), Johanna (tribute from District 7), and Annie (who wasn't in the Quarter Quell but was arrested when the arena blew up). Katniss is still haunted by Snow and fears for Peeta's life. The book starts in District 12, which has been reduced to ashes. Katniss alone wanted to see the district herself. This is about a month after the arena was blown up. While she is there, she takes back Buttercup (Prim's cat), her father's old hunting jacket, a photo of her mother's wedding, and a book of plants. Before she leaves, she notices one of Snow's white roses on her dresser.
A hovercraft takes her to District 13 where the survivors of District 12 now reside. When she returns, she watches an interview between Caesar and Peeta. She is relieved when she finds that Peeta looks unharmed, healthy even, but during the interview, Peeta calls for a cease-fire and is accused by many people of being a traitor. This is why later on when she decides to become the Mockingjay, she asks for the immunity of Peeta and the other tributes as well as hunting rights for her and Gale, the right to keep Buttercup for Prim, and permission to kill Snow. President Coin, the leader of District 13, agrees to these conditions and Katniss officially becomes the Mockingjay.
Katniss has to star in commercials for the rebel side, called propos. For one propo, she and a team that includes her old friend Gale are sent into District 8, where they see a hospital get destroyed. This inspires Katniss to call for justice. During the airing of an Interview with Peeta in the Capitol, Beetee is able to gain control of the broadcast and air the propos for a short time before a battle for control of the broadcast breaks out. During the back-and-forth, Peeta manages to send out a coded message to the rebels warning them of an attack. The Capitol then breaks into chaos, the camera tilts to the floor, screams can be heard and blood splatters can be seen, leading us to believe Peeta is being tortured.
Part Two: The Assault
Peeta Mellark warns Katniss of the impending bombing of District 13, after briefly fighting off the tracker jacker venom, which leads to him being tortured. He does this during an interview with Caesar Flickerman, when he is asked what he desires to say to Katniss, in which they are "still dragging out the star-crossed lovers thing," as Johanna Mason and the hijacked Peeta referred to it bitterly later on in the novel.
A shrilling alarm sounds, to evacuate the upper levels into the bunkers. As Katniss is viewed as the symbol of the uprising by the people, she composes herself and is one of the first to reach the bunkers, coming to ensure that her mother and Prim should still be relocating the hospital patients. As she waits, disturbed by the flecks of blood on the bunker sign, she grabs three packs of the instructions.
As time passes, her mother arrives, and they become wary of why Prim hasn't arrived yet. She imagines herself as Prim, and suddenly grasps the situation. Prim, being herself, had rushed back to their compartment to get her beloved cat, Buttercup.
After much panicking, Prim, along with Gale, arrives back to safety with Buttercup. Everyone waits in the bunker for several days until the bombing has stopped. Katniss finds out during the bombing that the Capitol is using Peeta and every time she says something against them, they hurt him. When she is looking above ground at all the wreckage after the bombing, she sees that President Snow has planted more roses. Katniss starts crying when her camera crew tells her to say a short line for the camera, to show that she is alive and still fighting. Finnick explains to the perplexed camera crew that Katniss knows the Capitol will hurt Peeta if she does so. They tell her that she can go. The next day, people tell her that they have sent a group to rescue Peeta, knowing that she won't do anything more until she knows the Capitol can't hurt him.
Part Three: The Assassin
While embracing Peeta after a rescue team went to the Capitol to save him and fellow victors: Annie, and Johanna, Katniss is shocked that Peeta had tried to choke her to death. While meeting with Plutarch, Haymitch and Beetee with Prim by her hospital bed side, she learns that the Capitol had used an uncommonly used technique known as hijacking. The hijacking was done by giving Peeta a dose of tracker jacker poison then showing him a clip of Katniss and telling him she destroyed his family and friends, therefore tricking him to hate her. After Peeta's arrival, Boggs makes a call to Coin about his being in the squad. When he returns, he says that he believes Coin sent Peeta personally to kill Katniss since after the war, a new leader will be chosen and Katniss, having a lot of influence as the Mockingjay, will be a threat if her vote doesn't go to Coin. To shut Katniss up, Coin sent Peeta to the Squad, hoping he would kill her. After a call from Haymitch, Katniss resolves to start trying to help Peeta remember his former memories. The Squad creates a game, "Real or Not Real," to help him separate the hijacked memories from the real ones. During this, Peeta reveals that when he was held in the Capitol, they forced him to watch the execution of two Avoxes, Darius and Lavinia, under the guise of trying to get information about the rebellion.
During a propo shoot, Boggs hits a mislabeled pod that blows off his legs. At the same time, another pod is activated, creating a black wave that is advancing onto the squad. While trying to move Boggs to an apartment to escape the wave, Peeta has an episode and nearly kills Katniss with his gun. When a member of the squad, Mitchell, tries to pin him down, Peeta accidentally kills him by throwing him off of him, causing him to land in a mislabeled pod that encases Mitchell in a net of barbed wire. Inside the apartment, Boggs transfers the Holo to Katniss and dies after telling her four orders: "Don't trust them, don't go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do." Katniss tells the team that she is on a secret mission to kill President Snow on Coin's order. She admits that she thinks that only Boggs knew. Cressida backs up Katniss' story, saying that Plutarch wants the assassination of Snow to be televised, thinking that it would end the war.
They walk to an abandoned apartment and find couches strewn across the room. They all sit down, with Jackson still pointing her gun on Peeta. The TV soon turns on to inform Panem that Katniss, Gale, Finnick, Boggs, Peeta and Cressida are dead. Peeta suggests that they kill him but Katniss won't allow it, saying that he is too important to the mission to lose. After they find food to eat, Snow comes on the TV to talk about how Katniss was just a girl, not a leader, and that the Capitol will now win the war. District 13 takes over and President Coin says that she believes in what the mockingjay stands for and that the rebels will find the strength they need to get rid of their oppressors.
The bright side to everyone thinking that they are dead is that they have a head start. They start looking for a way out, as the streets are not a possibility and the roof is just as bad. The team then heads to the sewers with the help of the Avox crew and navigate the underground. After they sleep, they are attacked by lizard mutts. After running for a while and the death of many team members, including Finnick, the team escapes.
The team manages to stay in the cellar of Tigris' shop, where they stay for a couple of days and watch the rebels advance. While waiting, Capitol citizens are sent further into the city. With the help of Tigris, Katniss, Peeta, and Gale blend in with the crowd.
As they flee further into the Capitol with the intent of finding and killing President Snow, Katniss finds herself pressing on alone towards Snow's mansion, which has supposedly been opened to shelter Capitol children (but is actually intended to provide human shields for Snow). Afterwards, bombs placed in supply packages kill many of these children, Rebel Medics, and Katniss' sister, Prim, while Katniss gets severely burned.
President Snow is tried and found guilty, but he tells Katniss that the final assault that killed Primrose Everdeen was ordered by President Coin, not the Capitol. Katniss realizes that if this is true, the bombing may have been the result of a plan originally developed by her friend Gale, however, Gale denied his involvement.
Katniss remembers a conversation with Snow in which they promised not to lie to each other. When she is supposed to execute Snow, she realizes that he was telling the truth and kills Coin instead. A riot ensues and Snow is found mysteriously dead, having possibly choked on his own blood or trampled by the crowd. Katniss is acquitted due to her apparent insanity and she and Haymitch return to their home in District 12. Peeta returns months after Katniss and Haymitch arrived, having recovered immensely from his brainwashing. Finally, Katniss surmises that falling in love with Peeta was inevitable, as he had always represented to her the promise of a better future, rather than the destruction she now associates with Gale. She says that she did not need Gale's fire, as she already had it herself; she needed Peeta, who symbolized the hope she needed to survive ("What I need is the dandelion in the spring, the bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on no matter how bad (the) losses. That it can be good again"). Together with Haymitch they create a book filled with the stories of the previous tributes and others who died in the war so that they will not be forgotten.
In the epilogue, Katniss speaks as an adult, more than fifteen years later. She and Peeta " grow back together" and though it is not indicated if they are married they do have two children together, a boy and a girl. The Hunger Games are over, but she dreads the day her children's innocent world will be shattered by learning the details of their parents' involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels upset, Katniss takes to reminding herself of every good thing that she has ever seen someone do, "It's like a game. Repetitive, Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play."
- For a complete list, see List of Mockingjay characters.
- Katniss Everdeen — Symbolizes the Mockingjay for the rebels. Katniss provides hope and suffering. She fought her way into the Capitol and ended the Rebellion. Killed President Coin. Lives in District 12. She becomes the symbol of rebellion against the Capitol. She returns to District 12 after the war and she and Peeta "grow back together." It is unclear if she is married to Peeta but it is revealed that she loves him in a final game of "Real or Not Real" which is also how Part III of the final book ends. In the Epilogue, it is revealed that Katniss and Peeta have two unnamed children together, a boy and a girl.
- Peeta Mellark — Was in the arena with Katniss but got captured by the Capitol. He has loved Katniss since they were little kids. He was kidnapped by the Capitol after the 75th Games, and they hijacked him to make him hate Katniss. He once tried to kill Katniss be this did not proceed. He eventually cures himself and after the war he returns to District 12 months after Katniss. They do eventually marry and grow back together and they have two unnamed children, a boy and a girl.
- Primrose Everdeen — Katniss' little sister. She helps Katniss keep sane when Peeta is not there. Prim worked as a healer in District 13, and died during a bombing by Coin's soldiers when a hovercraft with parachute bombs dropped on a herd of capitol children. Prim was working as a doctor in the explosion.
- Gale Hawthorne — Katniss' best friend and hunting partner. He is in love with Katniss, but eventually exiles himself from her life due to the fact that she blames him for Prim's death. He ends up a government official in District 2. The rest of his fate is unknown.
- Haymitch Abernathy — A drunken former victor from District 12 who used to be a mentor for the Hunger Games. He helped in the rebellion and then returned to District 12, where he remains a drunk. Victor of the 50th Hunger Games.
- Effie Trinket — The escort for Peeta and Katniss in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. She is a resident of The Capitol so she is noted for her odd clothes and distinct capitol accent. She is arrested at the end of the 75th Hunger Games but is released when the rebels win the war against the capitol. She witnesses Katniss kill President Coin and goes back home to the capitol afterwards.
- Plutarch Heavensbee — Used to be the Head Gamemaker for the 75th Hunger Games, but was secretly working with the rebels to overthrow the Capitol.
- Finnick Odair — Victor of the 65th Hunger Games. President Snow forced him to sell his body to wealthy people of the Capitol after two years of becoming victor for his Hunger games by threatening to kill off people he loves if he didn't. Originally from District 4. Helped in the rebellion against the Capitol. He and Katniss help each other keep sane when Peeta and Annie aren't there. He marries Annie Cresta after she is rescued from the Capitol, but is killed by rose-scented lizard mutts during the mission to assassinate President Snow. He and Annie have a child.
- Annie Cresta — Victor of the 70th Hunger Games, she went mad when she witnessed her district partner get beheaded. She is arrested by the Capitol after the Quarter Quell. She is Finnick Odair's love interest and later becomes his wife. She is widowed when he is killed by Snow's mutts during a mission, and later gives birth to his child.
- Johanna Mason — The female tribute from District 7. She participated in the 71st or 72nd Hunger Games, and participated again in the third Quarter Quell.
- President Coriolanus Snow — The cruel President of Panem, who died from either choking on his own blood or being trampled. Katniss pointed out that no one cared and it didn't matter. He smells of roses and blood and poisoned people to come to power. He also drinks the poison when he poisons people as to not look suspicious. He takes an antidote after, but it does not stop open sores from forming in his mouth, which give off a bloody smell that he uses rose perfume to cover up.
- President Alma Coin — President of District 13. She authorized the final bombing of the Capitol's children, which killed Prim. Katniss kills her for vengeance during Snow's execution.
- Boggs — Katniss' bodyguard and army captain. He is killed in battle, but not before transferring command and the Holo to Katniss so she can continue her mission of killing President Snow. His last piece of advice is to kill Peeta, not trust anyone, and do what she came to the Capital to do, kill Snow.
- Commander Paylor — The leader among the rebels in District 8, and later became the president of Panem after Katniss kills Alma Coin during Snow's execution.
- ↑ Keith Staskiewicz (2010-02-11). Final 'Hunger Games' novel has been given a title and a cover. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.