Mockingjay, the third book in Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy, has little choice except to be brilliant, considering the first two books. The third novel, which comes out next week, is bound to be action-filled, since book #2, Catching Fire, ended in a cliffhanger revelation.
What I'm interested in seeing is how much control Katniss has over what happens to her. In both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, she had to react much of the time. She becomes a tribute for the games because her little sister's name was drawn. She agrees to the schemes of her sponsor Haymitch in order to stay alive. She responds to her fellow tribute, Peeta, based on what she thinks he is doing. She agrees to form alliances in the second book in order to achieve her goal of keeping Peeta alive.
The climactic point in both books comes near the end of each Hunger Games session, when Katniss reacts in an unexpected way to the machinations of the Gamekeepers and President Snow. Although the steps she takes are clever and unexpected to the ruling class, they are still in response to what the controlling society has set up for her.
Whatever Collins has in store for Mockingjay, I hope the narrative structure will be different. In Catching Fire, Katniss learns of dissent throughout the districts and learns that she is the role model for the rebels. Because of her new status, and armed conflict taking part in so many places, one of two things I hope not to see in the third novel is Katniss reacting once again to what happens to her until that final big moment when she twists a certain outcome into something of her own making. Perhaps she will be able to spend more of this book controlling her own destiny.
That would be fitting for the coming of age story that is part of the Hunger Games trilogy. What teen hasn't felt like her destiny was not her own when it comes to school and minding parents? Becoming her own person, controlling her own destiny is the vital endgame for adolescence.
On another point, Collins has done a good job of not letting the Katniss-Gale-Peeta triangle overwhelm the rest of the story. And so may it be for Mockingjay as well.