The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, 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.
This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was most certainly mine. I think that this book is for fans that enjoyed the trilogy and want more. I read this novel in 24 hours; I could not put this book down! I read this series back in my first year of university in 2010. I remember being immediately transported into Panem and wanting to know more about the characters, how the world worked and how they got to the 74th Hunger Games. This book gave me that and so much more. I felt like I was transported right back into the world, but 10 years after the war with the rebels and into the 10th Hunger Games.
The book leads up and includes the 10th Hunger Games and things are just awful. It was exciting to see how things have changed when we were first introduced to the Games during the 74th Games. Collins intricately left details and clues for the reader throughout the novel that tied moments back to the trilogy. It was beautifully done and some moments took my breath away. This book played out like a movie in my head, I could picture everything so perfectly and with clear details in the simplest sentences.
I wouldn’t say that Snow is a villain, I think he’s just a person trying to do what he feels is right. My boyfriend and I talked in great length about Snow, his motives, and how this experience shapes who he was to become in the trilogy. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” made Snow more human, I could see his points of view – conflicted, haunted, some PTSD from the war. He has guts to make “hard decisions” and the reader can see how his past has affected who he is portrayed as in the Hunger Games. I found Snow’s perspective to be very interesting and intriguing. That doesn’t mean that I like him, I still find him repulsive, but it was nice to see his perspective and his thoughts. I kept pulling out why he acts the way he does during the Hunger Games and with Katniss, it just makes sense to me! The use of poison comes up – I love how there was a slow build to how Snow starts to use to and how it’s just causally thrown into the novel! Collins certain knows what she’s doing and it’s absolutely brilliant. I could see Snow’s manipulation and how he manipulated others as well was thoughtfully done. This novel was a good prequel, which doesn’t happen often, I was worried this would be too similar to “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood but this far exceeded it! This book is worth a re-read because I just flew this novel and I feel like I missed small parts.