Review | The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins

As I mentioned in the July Wrap-Up,  saw a TikTok video and I just had to pick up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The TikTok was about the song The Hanging Tree and someone commented that it was featured in this book. Since I adore that scene in the original trilogy, both in the book and in the movie, I couldn’t resist! Especially in the movie, it is just so emotional and it was probably my favorite scene from the movie. So let’s see if this latest book lived up to all the expectations!

Review | The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins

Ambition will fuel him.Competition will drive him.But power has its price.
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.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins
on 19/05/2020
Pages: 528

I remember when this book was announced everyone hoped it would be about Mag’s Hunger Games. Turns out, this is all about president Snow before he was the president. We follow along for the 10th Hunger Games, but they’re nothing like we experienced in the original trilogy.

It was so interesting seeing Panem back in the day, it was not at all what I was expecting. Cornelius Snow is still a student and like I said the Hunger Games are very different from what they’ll become in the main series. In this book there are some changes coming, and it was really cool reading about those and knowing what it would turn into. The Hunger Games used to be pretty bare bones and not at all the spectacle they’ll become. There were so many small changes in this book you could tell would become parts of the Hunger Games as we know them, and I liked how Cornelius was an influence on almost all of it. I guess in the end they truly are his Games.

“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”

Snow made for an interesting main character, he was not likeable and was slowly becoming who we’ve known him to be. I really liked seeing how he rationalised his decisions, he was so sure he was doing the right thing. And aren’t those the scariest people? I think some readers were afraid this book would try to redeem Cornelius in some way and people would forget how awful he was, but I think the book just showed us his development into that awful man. And I just thought that was very interesting, not a moment were I thought he was redeemable because his thoughts kept reminding me off who he IS.

“Snow lands on top”

Lucy was a very interesting character, she was a great addition to the story. I wasn’t sure what to make of her at first, but in the end she was lovely to read about. Sejanus was incredible, he was the perfect addition to the story. He made Snow think and he brought an interesting perspective. While he didn’t go about it all in the smartest way, he was probably my favorite character.

The story was a bit slow, but I didn’t really mind it since it was interesting being back in the world and get some background for things we’ve read in the first three books. Also I was listening to the audiobook and that really helped. I managed to finish it pretty fast.

“People aren’t so bad, really,” she said. “It’s what the world does to them.”

The ending was really fast unfortunately, I think that could’ve been done a bit better.
I wouldn’t mind reading more books about Snow, it would be great if this was turned into a series. We hear a little bit about his background in the main series and I think there is potential for more stories. It would be especially great if through his eyes we’d see the Hunger Games Mags or Haymitch won for example. Because while I love the movies I still think we were robbed of all the training in book 2 and the playback of Haymitch’s Hunger Games.

“Well, as they said, it’s not over until the mockingjay sings.”

I had to think about my rating for a while. As an isolated book this wouldn’t work at all, I think almost all of the interesting parts are in relation to the story we already know and love. So this is very much catered to a specific audience (although I guess most books are haha). I enjoyed the book and reading about the world and the characters. The story itself wasn’t as interesting I guess. I appreciate what the book was trying to do and I decided to go with a 3,5 star rating. If you’re a Hunger Games fan I would recommend this one though!

Apparently we are getting a movie based on this book next year. I will be watching it for sure. There have been a couple announcements about actors and I think it will be released somewhere around October 2023. Since they did an amazing job with the original trilogy, and it looks like we’ll have some of the same people working on this one, I have very high hopes for it.

Do you plan on reading this book? Or have you read it? Do you agree with my review? Would love to hear from you!! And do you plan on watching the movie next year?

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