PART I: THE ASHES

Chapter 1

The Capitol has bombed District 12 into rubble. Katniss Everdeen stands alone among the ruins of her former home. She tries to remember what happened in the arena a month ago, but she struggles due to the concussion she suffered. Katniss recalls that she and Peeta Mellark won the 74th annual Hunger Games, and also participated in the Quarter Quell, the 75th anniversary of the Games. Their strategy included a fabricated romance and the pretense that Katniss was pregnant. Afterward, President Snow warned her she could spark a rebellion that would destroy the entire country of Panem, and seemed to be asking for Katniss’s help in preventing this outcome. 

Katniss blames herself for the destruction of her district, but she also blames District 13 for pulling her into a plot to overthrow the Capitol. No one in District 12 even knew that there were people living in District 13 until days after the bombing. Gale Hawthorne, Katniss’s best friend, had led District 12 survivors to safety, and they were taken underground in District 13. Katniss makes her way through her ruined district to the Victor’s Village, the only part of the district left standing. As Katniss gathers a few family possessions and collects her sister Primrose’s cat, Buttercup, Katniss notices a sweet, artificial smell. She spots a single white rose, still fresh, and she recognizes it as a warning from President Snow: he knows her every move. She does not mention the rose to Gale as she boards the hovercraft to return to District 13. 

Chapter 2

Katniss and Gale return to District 13. In the time since the Dark Days (a term that refers to the rebellion seventy-five years ago, during which the Capitol supposedly obliterated District 13 and all its citizens), the Capitol has shown propaganda footage of the district to make it look like a desolate wasteland. However, the Capitol did not kill the citizens of District 13; instead, they agreed to a secret truce. The former seat of Panem’s nuclear arsenal, District 13 agreed that they would not fire the weapons at the Capitol, as long as the Capitol left them alone. As part of the agreement, the citizens of District 13 stay out of sight underground. 

Katniss is reunited with her family and then joins Gale for dinner, but they are interrupted by a summons from District Command. Katniss and the others watch as President Snow airs more propaganda, a “propo.” In an interview with Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman, Peeta Mellark describes the last moments of the Quarter Quell when Katniss shot the arrow into the force field enclosing the arena. He explains his plan to save Katniss and their supposed baby, and he tries to convince Caesar that Katniss didn’t know what she was doing. Peeta calls for a lasting cease-fire between the Capitol and the rebels, fearing that the conflict will destroy all of Panem. 

Katniss is overwhelmed after Peeta’s interview and leaves Command. Gale follows, and he and Katniss argue over the damage Peeta may have just inflicted on the rebellion. Gale believes Peeta is still trying to protect Katniss, and she concludes that Peeta must not know the Capitol destroyed District 12. Katniss decides to tell Coin she will embrace her role as the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution.

Chapter 3

The rebellion, led by District 13’s President Coin and former Hunger Games maker Plutarch Heavensbee, rescued Katniss from the arena, hoping to use her fame for their cause. Katniss tells Prim that she plans to agree to accept the role of the Mockingjay. Prim suggests that Katniss might be able to name any condition she liked, including Peeta’s rescue. After breakfast, Katniss presents a list of demands to Coin. Prim must be allowed to keep the cat, Buttercup, and Katniss wants permission for her and Gale to hunt above ground. Coin tells Katniss that she needs to publicly maintain her relationship with Peeta, including the faked pregnancy. Therefore, Gale’s on-screen role in Katniss’s life must remain platonic. Katniss also asks that the three tributes still held in the Capitol be pardoned. Coin objects to this last term at first, but then agrees to announce the tributes’ pardon. 

Katniss makes one final demand: that she be the one to kill President Snow. Coin accepts, and she leaves the group to begin planning for Katniss’ first appearance as the Mockingjay. Plutarch and Fulvia, Coin’s assistant, show Katniss their plans so far, which include one final Mockingjay costume designed by Cinna. Katniss and Gale are taken to a lower floor, where Katniss discovers that her Hunger Games prep team are being held prisoner.

Chapter 4

Katniss is shocked at the state of her former prep team—Flavius, Octavian, and Venia. They were rescued, on Cinna’s request, but have been held in a cell deep in District 13 for stealing bread. Food theft is punished severely, as food is scarce and strictly rationed. Katniss demands her team’s release and sees that they are treated in the hospital wing by her mother, now serving as a nurse. Both Katniss and her mother are shocked to learn that this kind of abuse is happening in District 13. Katniss believes that Coin punished the team to send a message to anyone from the Capitol, including Plutarch. Gale and Katniss begin hunting above ground, and they finish before their allotted time is up. When Gale challenges Katniss for defending her team, she explains how much they cared for her while she was in the Capitol. Katniss and Gale return underground and give the kills from their hunt to the kitchen staff. 

Later, everyone gathers for Coin’s announcement. Katniss spots fellow tribute Finnick Odair. Coin announces that Katniss has agreed to be the Mockingjay in exchange for the full pardon of Peeta and the other tributes still in the Capitol’s hands: Johanna, Enobaria, and Finnick’s girlfriend Annie. Coin adds that if Katniss doesn’t fulfill her responsibilities, their immunity will be revoked. Katniss takes this as a threat on all their lives. 

Chapter 5

Katniss processes Coin’s threat, resenting being once again used in someone else’s game. Flavius, Octavian, and Venia begin preparing Katniss to shoot her propos as the Mockingjay. Gale attempts to smooth things over with Katniss and asks how their work is going. He and Katniss argued when he tried to defend Coin’s threat, and things between them are still tense. The two of them head down to the Defense Level where Beetee Latier, who was also rescued from the arena by District 13, is working on some new weapons. Beetee has used his electronics expertise to create a new bow for Katniss that responds to her voice commands and fires incendiary arrows. Katniss is in a better mood once it is time to start shooting her first propo, but she struggles with line delivery and feels unnatural in the costume and makeup. After one particularly bad take, Katniss waits in silence. They are interrupted when Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss and Peeta’s mentor during the Hunger Games, scoffs at her performance. This footage, Haymitch says, will kill their revolution. 

Chapter 6

Katniss still holds a grudge against Haymitch for saving her instead of Peeta in the arena. Haymitch gathers a group to brainstorm a new strategy. They discuss moments when Katniss made them feel something real. The common thread in these moments is that they saw Katniss unscripted. Haymitch suggests putting Katniss into combat to capture her reactions for their propos, instead of giving her lines to read. When Boggs, Coin’s second in command, worries Katniss will be killed, Coin agrees to send her to a safer zone with a guard squad. The group disperses, until just Haymitch and Katniss are left. They reconcile, each acknowledging the guilt they feel and the blame they place on each other. Finnick arrives, still wearing his hospital gown, and he asks to accompany Katniss and the squad. Katniss calms him down, telling him he must first train with his new weapon, a trident Beetee has been working on. Boggs is impressed with how Katniss handled the situation, and Katniss begins to see Boggs as a potential friend, despite his outward loyalty to Coin. 

The squad departs for the safe zone in District 8. Katniss recalls what Plutarch explained about the current conflict. All of the thirteen districts apart from District 2, which supplied weaponry and the armed Peacekeepers, is warring with the Capitol. Should the rebellion succeed, they will reestablish democracy in Panem. 

Chapter 7

A hovercraft leaves Katniss, her guard squad, and a camera crew in District 8. The area was bombed the day before, and the wounded are being taken to a makeshift hospital under the direction of Commander Paylor. Gale questions Paylor’s decision to gather the wounded in one place, but Paylor has no better options. Paylor is young and seems unimpressed by the appearance of the Mockingjay, but she shows the squad into the facility. Katniss presses forward through the carnage, knowing that her presence inspires the survivors. However, she is ashamed to accept their condolences over her miscarriage, which was fabricated to cover up the lie about her pregnancy. As the crowds eventually disperse, Katniss finally understands the power she holds and the responsibility it carries. Cressida and Messalla, the propo director and her assistant, are pleased with the footage they got. 

The squad congratulates Katniss, but they are interrupted when Boggs tells them they need to leave. Capitol bombers are headed their way. Despite direct orders to stay hidden, Katniss finds higher ground and watches bombs fall on the hospital. Gale follows, and the two of them manage to take down several hovercrafts with Beetee’s arrows. To their dismay, one lands on the hospital. Katniss rushes to the site, but it is destroyed. Cressida, whose crew has begun filming again, asks Katniss to speak. Katniss describes what the Capitol has done, and she declares that it will do the same to the rest of the rebels if they lay down arms. She directs her last words to the Capitol, promising mutually assured destruction. 

Chapter 8

Once the squad is safely back in its hovercraft, Boggs assesses their injuries. Katniss is taken to the hospital, and her mother finally learns where Katniss has been. Later, Katniss is taken into Command. The cameraman, Castor, introduces himself and his brother Pollux, the other cameraman. Pollux had his tongue cut out by the Capitol. The propo has been aired and rerun several times, thanks to Beetee hacking into the Capitol’s airwaves, and the team is pleased with the final cut. Coin halts their celebration. She questions the decision to put Katniss into combat and urges Plutarch to be more careful in the future. The next propos will feature interviews of the other tributes. 

Finnick and Katniss eat dinner together so they can watch the new propos, but the broadcast is interrupted by another interview with Caesar and Peeta. Katniss is shocked at the changes in Peeta. Katniss can see he is being tortured, and her concern grows. In the interview, Peeta speaks directly to Katniss, imploring her to use her influence to stop the war. Plutarch and Fulvia worry that about Katniss’s reaction, but Finnick and Katniss pretend they stopped watching before the interview even began.

Chapter 9

Katniss expects someone to mention Peeta’s interview, but no one does. Peeta told her to find out what is going on, and her guilt over his capture deepens. Katniss reveals to Gale that she saw Peeta’s interview. Cressida interrupts to take them both to film a propo in District 12. Plutarch explains that that the propos are boosting rebels’ spirits in other districts. The film crew collect shots of Gale as he recounts the night of the firebombing. 

While they break for lunch, Katniss shows Pollux how to trigger the mockingjays’ song by whistling the notes of Rue’s song. Pollux writes in the dirt, asking Katniss to sing. She responds with “The Hanging Tree,” a dark ballad she sang as a child. The true meaning becomes clearer now that Katniss is older. She questions whether the lovers in the song end up free because they escaped or because they hung themselves. Katniss relates to the lovers, remembering that in their first Hunger Games, she and Peeta were willing to eat the poisonous nightlock berries rather than kill each other. Katniss finishes the song and realizes she’s being filmed. Once they finish filming, Katniss goes to gather more things for her family. Gale appears in her kitchen and reminds her of the time she kissed him after he was whipped by the Capitol’s peacekeepers. Katniss sees the pain in his eyes and kisses him again. 

Back in District 13, Boggs interrupts Katniss’s dinner to bring her to Command. President Snow is airing another propo of Peeta, who is in worse shape that before. Peeta calls again for a cease-fire, but Beetee hacks into the broadcast to show Peeta footage of Katniss and Finnick. When the Capitol broadcast takes back over, Peeta is shaken. Snow asks Peeta if he has anything to say to Katniss. Peeta starts to warn her that District 13 will be attacked that night, but Snow orders the broadcast cut off. Peeta struggles to keep talking, and the last thing Katniss sees is Peeta’s blood on the floor.

PART II: THE ASSAULT

Chapter 10

Haymitch and Katniss convince Coin that Peeta’s warning is credible, and Coin orders a fire drill. Everyone in District 13 gathers in the lowest levels in lockdown. Plutarch reminds Katniss that people look to her, so she tries to stay calm. Just as Katniss realizes that Prim isn’t down with everyone, Gale brings her and the cat into the safety of the bunker. As the missiles begin to fall, Coin expresses gratitude for Peeta’s warning. Katniss realizes she has spent very little time with Prim lately, so they talk. Prim shares that she feels safer in District 13, and that she will soon be trained to be a doctor. Prims asks how Katniss is really doing. When Katniss doesn’t answer, Prim says she doesn’t think Snow will kill Peeta, because then Snow would have no way left to hurt Katniss. Katniss asks what Prim thinks Snow will do to Peeta. Prim thinks Snow will do whatever it takes to break Katniss.

Chapter 11 

Katniss worries over Prim’s theory over the next three days in the bunker, while missiles fall outside. Katniss realizes, while taunting Buttercup with a flashlight, that Snow is torturing Katniss by keeping Peeta just beyond her grasp. Katniss commiserates with Finnick, knowing that Snow is torturing him, too, by holding Annie. Finnick tells Katniss about the moment he saw that her love for Peeta wasn’t a ruse, and Katniss realizes that Snow must have seen it, too. 

Once the missiles have stopped, Coin releases everyone to return to their cabins, but Boggs pulls Katniss aside. The crew need to film her alive, to show that the Mockingjay and the citizens of District 13 are unharmed. The aboveground damage done can be fixed in time. Peeta’s warning gave the district time to save everyone. As Katniss and her team look for a spot to film, they find a crater full of pink and red roses: another warning to Katniss from Snow. Katniss is shaken, and unable to deliver her lines. Finnick tell the others that she knows how Snow is using Peeta. Katniss is drugged as she starts to panic. When she wakes in her bunk, Haymitch tells her that Coin has organized a rescue mission, and that Gale volunteered to help bring Peeta back. 

Chapter 12

Haymitch offers to sedate Katniss until the team returns, hopefully with Peeta and Annie. Instead, Katniss films a propo to distract the Capitol during the mission. Cressida assembles Katniss and the camera crew aboveground and begins interviewing Katniss about Peeta. Katniss describes how she met Peeta, then relays the warning Snow gave her and how he described the Capitol as being fragile. 

Then it’s Finnick’s turn. Finnick describes how Snow used him, and other desirable victors, sending them as sexual favors to gain influence over members of the Capitol. Finnick’s “patrons” would share secrets with him, and this is how he learned that Snow rose to power by poisoning his rivals, his enemies, and even himself to deflect suspicion. Beetee hacks into the Capitol broadcast feed and plays both interviews, to distract Capitol attention during the rescue. When the rescue team returns, Haymitch brings Finnick and Katniss to the hospital. Gale is being treated for minor wounds, and Finnick and Annie reunite. Katniss sees Peeta, alive and conscious. Katniss goes to him, and Peeta runs to her with outstretched arms, finally closing his hands around her throat. 

Chapter 13

Katniss awakes in the hospital with a brace around her neck and is told she must rest her voice. Prim shields Katniss’s recovery from interruptions. Plutarch, Haymitch, and Beetee visit to explain Peeta’s state. Peeta has been “hijacked” by the Capitol. They dosed Peeta with venom and tortured him with images of Katniss to instill in him a drive to attack her. There’s no known reversal method. Katniss recovers, and Prim encourages her not to give up on Peeta. Katniss visits Gale and Beetee, who have been adapting Gale’s hunting traps for use against the Capitol. One trap includes a timed double explosion, drawing additional victims in as they care for the wounded from the first blast. 

Katniss leaves, horrified by the cruelty of the device, and runs into Haymitch. Haymitch brought another friend of Peeta’s, Delly, to see how Peeta will react to her. While Katniss waits outside, Delly explains to Peeta that they’re in District 13. Peeta asks Delly about his family, and she explains that they were killed in a fire that broke out in District 12. Shouting angrily, Peeta blames Katniss for the fire. He warns Delly that Katniss is a killer, a liar, and a mutt: a genetic mutant made by the Capitol. Katniss demands to be taken somewhere else, to be sent into the Capitol to kill Snow. 

Chapter 14

In a compromise, Katniss is sent to District Two. The Capitol’s army and weaponry are housed there, entrenched under a mountain called the Nut. Many citizens of District 2 are loyal to the Capitol, well fed and raising their children as Careers to win the Hunger Games. Katniss films propos and visits wounded members of the rebellion, formerly enslaved stonecutters of District 2. Katniss regains her strength, living aboveground, and processes what Snow did to Peeta. 

Prim and Haymitch call and update Katniss on Peeta’s progress, and she gives them news from the war front. Gale is recruited to a team to help figure out how to crack the Nut and joins Katniss in District 2. Gale admits that he is jealous of Peeta, and Katniss confesses that because of Gale, she always felt conflicted about kissing Peeta. Katniss accepts that she and Peeta may never be together again, and kisses Gale. Gale stops her when he realizes she’s not in her right mind. The next day, Katniss and Gale meet with rebel command in Two to review the Nut’s layout. Gale creates a plan to trigger avalanches, blocking off its exits and airways. Katniss realizes that Gale does not plan for the inhabitants of the Nut to survive.

Chapter 15

Lyme, District 2’s rebel commander, argues that the Nut’s inhabitants should have the chance to surrender. Gale retorts that the other districts have not had that chance. Katniss reminds Gale that they lost both their fathers to a similar cave-in at the District 12 mine. The team decides to leave one exit for the survivors but to post armed troops outside to capture them. Gale’s plan is executed perfectly, and Katniss waits with the armed troops. Her mind is taken back to cave-in, but she is interrupted by a call from Haymitch, with updates on Peeta’s progress. Peeta had been shown the clip of Katniss singing “The Hanging Tree”, and Peeta had calmly recognized it from when he overheard Katniss’s father singing it. 

Katniss begins filming a propo to show Panem the destruction in District 2. Capitol soldiers escape, and Katniss begs the rebel forces to hold fire. Katniss approaches a wounded Capitol soldier, pleading with them all to lay down their arms. Katniss has been a pawn in the Capitol’s games. They have all been killing each other, and Katniss begs them to stop. As Katniss stands, asking the other soldiers to join the rebels, she is shot.

Chapter 16

Katniss, drugged and recovering in District 13, dreams of Peeta. She wakes to find Johanna Mason stealing Katniss’s morphling drip. Katniss had been spared serious injury thanks to Cinna’s armored Mockingjay costume. Johanna and Katniss have a frank exchange about the events following the Quarter Quell, and Johanna flirts with Gale when he comes to check on Katniss. Plutarch walks with Katniss as she recovers, and he explains the Roman origins of the Hunger Games: panem et circes. Katniss understands how the Capitol has used the districts for food and entertainment, but that has all been on hold during the rebellion. Plutarch plans to meet the need for entertainment by giving Panem a wedding celebration to enjoy. Katniss fears that Plutarch means for her and Peeta to be the happy couple, but he has Annie and Finnick in mind. 

The wedding day is full of joy, and Katniss revels in the thought that Snow is watching her dance with Prim. She marvels at the wedding cake, and Haymitch explains that it was made by Peeta, who is doing better. Peeta requested to see Katniss, so she visits him. Their initial exchange is snappy, and Katniss turns to leave, but she stops when Peeta tells her he remembers the first time they met. Katniss was a child digging in the bakery trash bins for bread. Peeta asks Katniss if she loved him, or if she had faked her affection for him during their first Hunger Games. Katniss admits that sometimes she liked kissing him, and Peeta asks if she liked kissing Gale. The exchange ends coldly, and Katniss hates that Peeta no longer sees her as he once did. 

Chapter 17

Katniss bursts into Command, furious with Coin that she has not assigned Katniss to fight in the Capitol. Katniss is envious that Gale will be going, but she is chastened when Coin reminds her that Katniss skipped the tactical training Gale has been attending. Coin relents, but insists that Katniss train for the next three weeks. Johanna decides to join Katniss, and the two make good progress after the first week. Katniss notices changes in Finnick and Annie, too, and she sees that a general good mood has spread throughout the citizens of District 13. She is shocked when Peeta, shackled and guarded, joins them for dinner. 

There is tension among the victors, and Peeta asks if Gale and Katniss are together. Gale marvels at Peeta’s coldness, then escorts Katniss to her room. Before Gale leaves, he reassures Katniss that Peeta is not reacting to her true self. Johanna barges in later, to tell Katniss that after she left, Peeta had a breakdown and had to be carried away. Katniss questions Johanna about her and Peeta’s ordeal in the Capitol. Johanna tells her they would scream for hours. Katniss has nightmares again that night.

Chapter 18

Cressida films propos of the rebels preparing for battle, and Katniss expresses concern at seeing Peeta training with a weapon. She and Johanna are at the top of their training class, and it is time for their final examination. Katniss struggles, realizing that her biggest weakness is an unwillingness to take orders, but she passes. She is assigned to Boggs’s squad, along with Gale and Finnick. They are briefed on the situation in the Capitol. Peacekeepers have rigged the city with pods. Plutarch explains that each pod contains one of many obstacles designed by the Gamemakers to trap or kill. The rebels secured a Hologram map of the locations of the pods, but the “Holo” is a few months old. Finnick and Katniss jokingly welcome them all to the 76th Hunger Games. 

As Finnick and Katniss discuss what they just learned, Haymitch interrupts with news that Johanna is back in the hospital. Johanna was triggered when they flooded the street during her training exam. Katniss goes aboveground and gathers pine needles into a bundle. She brings them to Johanna, a gift to remind District 7’s young victor of her home. Johanna makes Katniss swear on her family’s lives that she will kill President Snow. 

Katniss trains with her new squad, and they soon learn that their mission will not involve true combat. The “Star Squad” will be accompanied by a camera crew, far behind the front line. They deploy the next morning, and Katniss shares a tearful goodbye with her mother and sister. The first few days bring mostly boredom, and Katniss builds her own plan to steal the Hologram pod map. When one member of the squad is killed after detonating a pod, Coin shocks everyone by sending in Peeta as a replacement. Katniss concludes that as far as Coin is concerned, the Mockingjay would be more useful dead than alive.

PART III: THE ASSASSIN

Chapter 19

Boggs, furious after a call with Coin, orders his second in command to set up a guard on Peeta. Katniss confronts Boggs about Coin’s intentions toward her. Boggs reveals that Coin had wanted to save Peeta from the arena instead of Katniss. Katniss represents a threat to Coin, and Katniss made the situation worse by forcing Coin to rescue the other victors. Boggs reminds Katniss that she has outlived her usefulness to Coin. The only remaining way Katniss can fire up the rebellion is to die in combat. However, Boggs promises Katniss this will not happen on his watch, because she has earned the right to a long life. The squad discusses the details of Peeta’s guard. Gale tells Katniss that he knows she plans to run and will go with her. Haymitch calls and accuses Katniss of trying to provoke Peeta. 

That night, Katniss and Peeta argue about their shared history. Finnick interrupts to propose that when Peeta is unsure what is real and what is not, he should ask. They all help rebuild Peeta’s memories, and he begins to see patterns in the Capitol’s manipulation. The next day, Cressida directs the squad to disable some pods outside an apartment complex. Then Boggs steps on a bomb, blowing off his legs.

Chapter 20

In the aftermath of a second explosion, Boggs gives the Holo to Katniss. Black tar from a pod pours through the street toward them. Katniss tries to drag Boggs to safety, but Peeta attacks her, triggered by the chaos. Katniss fends him off and manages to escape to safety along with the other members of the squad, minus one who set off another pod when he saved Katniss from Peeta. With his last breath, Boggs warns Katniss not to trust others and to finish what she started. When Jackson tries to assume command of the squad, Katniss makes up a lie about a special mission from Coin and is surprised when Cressida backs up her story. The squad presses on with Katniss in the lead, an unconscious, handcuffed Peeta in tow. The squad has taken refuge in an apartment when the television starts broadcasting footage of their recent disaster, declaring them all dead. The group discuss what to do next, knowing that the rebels and the Capitol believe they are dead. Peeta says their next move should be to kill him.

Chapter 21

Peeta feels guilty over their teammate’s death and would rather be put down before he kills anyone else. Gale volunteers to kill Peeta before that happens, but Peeta asks for a nightlock pill instead, which they’ve all been given to take if they are captured. Katniss refuses to take on responsibility for Peeta’s death and denies his request. Another propo lights up the television. President Snow congratulates the Peacekeepers for killing the Mockingjay and suppressing the rebellion, which will crumble without her as its leader. Snow’s message is interrupted, and his image is replaced by President Coin’s. She identifies herself as the leader of the rebellion and praises Katniss, urging the rebels to draw strength from their memory of her. Snow regains control of the broadcast and declares he will find and show them Katniss’s body the next day. 

The squad must leave the apartment. Their only exit route is through the underground tunnels, still dotted with pods. Pollux spent years working in those tunnels, so as Peeta cheerfully points out, he becomes their biggest asset. After making makes good time, the squad rests for the night. Katniss wakes for her watch and talks with Peeta about unraveling his true memories from the altered memories. He asks if she’s still protecting him, real or not real? Real, Katniss says. In the morning, as the squad prepares to leave, they hear a repeated word echoing through the tunnels—Katniss

Chapter 22

Peeta wakes to the noise, shouting for Katniss to run. The squad gathers and heads down the tunnels, away from the hissing cries. The smell of Snow’s roses forces Katniss to lead the team into the Transfer, an underground causeway for delivery vehicles. Messalla is killed by a pod, and the rest of the squad take fire from a group of Peacekeepers. In their retreat to higher ground, Jackson and Leeg 1 are lost to a horde of Capitol mutts. The remaining squad members find a ladder leading upward, but only Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Pollux and Cressida reach street level. Katniss turns to the carnage below and watches as Finnick is taken down by a mutt. Activating the Holo’s self-destruct feature, Katniss drops it into the fray to give Finnick a quick death instead of an agonizing one. The five tend to their wounds, and Peeta demands again to be killed. The presence of the Mutts is weakening his grip on reality. Instead, Katniss kisses him. Pollux leads the group into a nearby home, surprising its Capitol resident. Katniss kills the woman immediately. 

Chapter 23

With the Holo gone, Cressida becomes their guide. She establishes where they are, and she knows how to disguise them and where to lead them. The group arrives at a store run by a woman named Tigris. Katniss recognizes the woman, a former stylist from the Hunger Games, by her distinctive face, which has been surgically altered to resemble a cat. Cressida mentions Plutarch, prompting Tigris to lead the group into a hidden saferoom. Katniss tends to Peeta’s wounds, reminding him of their first Hunger Games together. Katniss doesn’t set up a guard schedule for Peeta, and they all try to get some sleep. When she awakes, Katniss is filled with guilt over the dead members of their squad. She reveals to the squad that she lied about Coin’s special assignment, but they are not shocked. Katniss had demanded to kill Snow from the beginning. Peeta tells Katniss they follow her because they believe she will do it. The group works on a plan to assassinate the President, and they watch the television for updates from the Capitol. Later, while they think Katniss is asleep, Peeta and Gale discuss Katniss’s feelings for them. Peeta and Gale wonder which of them Katniss will choose in the end.

Chapter 24

Katniss overheard the conversation between Gale and Peeta. She ponders Gale’s answer, that Katniss will choose the one she can’t survive without. Katniss feels she can survive without both of them. In the morning, the group learns that rebel forces have found a way to safely advance past the pods and are quickly gaining ground. Capitol refugees flee to the city’s center. Katniss wonders whether Snow will open his mansion to house the refugees, thereby giving the squad a chance at entry. Gale hands his nightlock pill to Peeta. Katniss uncuffs Peeta and hugs him one last time. 

In Tigris’s disguises, the group splits up: Cressida with Pollux, Gale with Katniss, and Peeta alone. Katniss and Gale make their way, hidden among Capitol refugees, toward Snow’s mansion. Just as Katniss is recognized by a Capitol child, shots are fired from the rooftops into the crowds. Katniss and Gale are separated as they take cover, and Katniss watches as Gale is arrested by Peacekeepers. The gunfire has stopped, and Katniss sees children being taken from the crowd to form a human shield around Snow’s mansion. A Capitol hovercraft flies overheard, releasing what seem to be small aid parachutes. The children recognize the parachutes from the Hunger Games and reach for them. In seconds, the parachutes have detonated, killing and injuring the Capitol children. As aid workers rush in, Katniss recognizes one of them: her sister Prim. The sisters’ eyes meet as the second round of parachutes detonates. 

Chapter 25

Katniss drifts in and out of consciousness as she recovers from burns she sustained in the explosion that killed Prim. Coin visits to inform Katniss that Snow has been saved for Katniss to kill. Katniss refuses to speak, confusing her doctors. Katniss also learns that the Capitol fell the day the children were bombed, and that Coin is the new president of Panem. Gale and Peeta are alive, as are Pollux and Cressida. 

Once Katniss is released from the hospital, she is moved with her grieving mother into a room in Snow’s mansion. Commander Paylor gives Katniss permission to visit Snow, imprisoned in his home and awaiting execution. Snow tells Katniss he is sorry about her sister, and informs her he was about to surrender when they released the parachutes. Katniss realizes that the rebel forces, not the Capitol, dropped the bombs, and she listens as Snow credits Coin with the move. Snow and Katniss were too focused on each other to see what Coin had been planning. Katniss remembers Gale’s trap, but she tells Snow she doesn’t believe him. Snow reminders her of the promise they made after her first Hunger Games: never to lie to each other.

Chapter 26

Katniss is reeling from her conversation with Snow. She remembers that Boggs warned her about Coin, that Katniss is a threat to Coin’s authority. With no one else to turn to, Katniss looks for her old mentor, Haymitch. When Katniss finds him, he is drunk and dismissive, so she changes her mind and leaves. Increasingly agitated, she must once again be sedated. Katniss eventually wakes to find Effie Trinket alive and well. She had been imprisoned for helping Haymitch and Plutarch in their plot to rescue Katniss from the Quarter Quell arena. Effie is reinstated as the head of Katniss’s prep team in time for Snow’s execution. Gale interrupts their work to bring Katniss the arrow she will use to kill Snow. Katniss asks if it was Gale’s bomb that killed Prim, but they both know his answer won’t change anything. Gale will forever be tied to Prim’s death. 

Effie takes Katniss to a meeting where she and the remaining victors have been gathered by President Coin. The rebels want retribution, and Coin asks the victors to vote on a new Hunger Games. Coin proposes that the tributes come from among the Capitol children instead of the district children. In the end, Peeta’s vote is the only no. Coin’s motion carries, and she goes to take her place for Snow’s execution. Katniss asks if the new president can see the rose on Snow’s lapel from where she will sit. Coin answers that she can. Katniss takes up her bow and finds Snow in her sights. Blood drips from his mouth, and Katniss remembers their promise. She shifts her bow and fires, killing President Coin.

Chapter 27

Snow laughs, choking on his own blood. Katniss tries to take her nightlock pill, but Peeta stops her and the pill is lost in the struggle. Katniss is bound, blindfolded, and locked in a room. For two days, she refuses food and sleep, only singing to pass the time. Haymitch comes to tell Katniss her trial is over. They are going home. Haymitch takes her to a hovercraft where Plutarch is waiting for them. Snow is dead, and Commander Paylor has been appointed President. Plutarch, Panem’s new secretary of communications, televised Katniss’s trial. Katniss’s doctor and Peeta testified in her defense, and Katniss was released to be confined in her home in District 12. Haymitch will look after her, as Katniss’s mother plans to start a hospital in District 4. Katniss’s old friend Greasy Sae is hired to clean and cook for Katniss in her home in the Victor’s Circle. Haymitch spends his days drinking, and Katniss mostly sleeps, plagued by nightmares. 

One day, Katniss is awakened by a noise outside. She storms outside to confront whatever new threat the noise brings, but it’s just Peeta digging in the garden. Peeta has found evening primroses in the forest and is planting them outside Katniss’s front door in honor of her sister. Over breakfast, Katniss asks about Gale. Greasy Sae tells Katniss that Gale started a job in District 2. Katniss decides to go hunting. She learns about the death of the mayor’s family from another member of District 12. Katniss doesn’t have enough strength to hunt, so she heads home. Buttercup has returned, looking for Prim. Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch begin to rebuild their lives. Together, they create a book of memories to honor the dead. Katniss recognizes that she needs Peeta, and the two rekindle their relationship. 

Epilogue

Katniss and Peeta have two children. The older, a girl, has been taught in school about the Hunger Games. They have been abolished, and the arenas dismantled. Katniss sings Rue’s lullaby to her own children. One day, she will have to explain to them why their parents have such terrible nightmares. Katniss plays a new game when things get bad: she makes a list of all the good things she’s seen people do. After twenty years, the list grows long.

Popular pages: Mockingjay