The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins | Book Review

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins | Book ReviewThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) by Suzanne Collins
Also by this author: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay
Series: The Hunger Games #0
Also in this series: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay
Published by Scholastic Inc. on May 19, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Social Themes, Physical & Emotional Abuse
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781338635188
Goodreads
two-half-stars

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined - every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

When I saw the announcement for The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins, I was instantly transported back eleven years to my early days of blogging. The Hunger Games was one of my first reviews. The book blogging landscape was completely different then. And of course, I am so happy to see that we’ve come such a long way. Now there is such a variety of different people and blogging voices and I am here for it. Anyways, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is a prequel to the Hunger Games and is focused on the vile President Snow.

Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow, who as we all know eventually becomes President Snow. As it turns out, he’s been a real asshole all along. When the book begins we find out that the Snow family was once quite illustrious and wealthy. However, they have fallen on hard times. All that is left of the family is the Grandmother, Coriolanus and his cousin, Tigris. They hide their poverty well. Coriolanus attends the Academy where he receives a free lunch and is hoping to score a prize to pay for his tuition and admission to the University. 

Part of obtaining the prize is that this year, Coriolanus and his classmates will have the opportunity to mentor tributes from the Districts in the tenth annual Hunger Games. We see that the tenth iteration of the Hunger Games is not quite the same as the iteration where Katniss Everdeen competes. For one thing, hardly anyone watches the Hunger Games. There’s no food prize associate with the games. Anyways, Coriolanus has the bad luck of drawing a tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird. She doesn’t seem likely to last long in the arena. However, she has star power. Will she survive and will Coriolanus get the prize?

I am a naturally empathetic person. Obviously I know that Coriolanus Snow is objectively terrible. He goes on to do some very terrible things in the Hunger Games trilogy. Still, I felt kind of bad for him while reading. Particularly when it came to losing his mother. Maybe it’s the parent in me, but I just thought that was so sad. And then I felt empathy for his cousin, Tigris, and what she had to do to survive during the war between the Capitol and the Districts. Overall though, I felt like Collins did a great job allowing us to feel some empathy but at the same time being very clear that actually Coriolanus is self serving and an asshole and just not a good person at all. 

Thankfully there are two characters that I felt able to pin my emotions on – Sejanus and Lucy Gray Baird. Both are “District” so to speak. Sejanus’s father makes some good investments during the war, giving him all kinds of wealth and so he moves to the Capitol. Of course, Sejanus never truly fits in. He ends up thinking that Coriolanus is his best friend, but honestly Snow is a snake in the grass as you all could guess. Then, there is Lucy, the tribute. You think at first there could be a romance between her and Snow, but it isn’t quite that way. After all, Coriolanus just looks at Lucy as a possession, not as a person with complex hopes and feelings and thoughts. 

I did find The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes to be kind of slow paced. Normally I gobble up books so quickly, but this one just dragged. Maybe it’s because you spend so much time with Coriolanus, and he’s so reprehensible. It also feels like not much happens action-wise. It seemed like at least fifty pages could be cut and I’d walk away with the same perspective and emotions.

What is positive about this book is that you end up with some solid perspective on the history of the Hunger Games and how it gets to the point of the Katniss Everdeen trilogy. Also, you can really see the motivations behind President Snow and why he is the way that he is. Maybe with less adverse childhood experiences, he would have turned out differently, but I doubt it – given his cousin Tigris experienced the same thing but I would go into the arena for her.

 

Suzanne Collins' The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow, who as we all know eventually becomes President Snow.

two-half-stars
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. I’ve been on the fence about this one… I don’t know if I want to go back to that world, and I’m also not a fan of slow-paced books. Should I just wait for the movie? 😉 Great review!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
    Lindsi recently posted..Letters to the Lost (Letters to the Lost, #1) by Brigid KemmererMy Profile

  2. That’s so interesting that this one was slow faced when all the HG books were very “go go go!”
    Amber Elise @ Du Livre recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday | Ties That TetherMy Profile

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