Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)
By: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is a thrilling and thought provoking prequel to the Hunger Games series. As someone who loved the original series, I was excited for this new worldview of how Snow became the president we all know and loath.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes opens on reaping day, as 18 year Coriolanus Snow prepares to head to his school, the Academy, to find out which district tribute he will mentor.
The gamemakers are trying to add a little spice to the games by providing mentors to the tributes for the first time. As a member of the illustrious Snow family, he expects that he will be given a tribute from one of the districts that are closely aligned with the capitol. As a Snow, he has a reputation to uphold after all. But behind the doors of his home, Snow and his family are in poverty. Snow lives with his cousin Tigris and his grandmother, who spends most of her time singing the national anthem and growing roses. All his energy is taken up by acting rich and making sure others don’t find out how poor he is.

Having his tribute win the Hunger Games can change his life forever. Unfortunately, he is relegated to mentoring Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. Lucy Gray is unlike any other tribute, and she captivates the capitol and Snow. She wins the hearts of the capitol’s citizens through her beautiful voice and songs, with many sponsors lining up to help her in the games.

Throughout the prequel, Suzanne Collins shows us how much the capitol has changed since the 10th hunger games. While not evil at 18, you could see that Snow was a crossroads where he could pick between two different paths for his future. We all know which way he went, and, while we know the ending, Collins weaves us through a twisty and fascinating look at the complexities of a teenage boy. A boy with hopes, aspirations, and feelings. She humanizes the man who will turn out to be a ruthless killer. By getting into his head and understanding that he is a complex person with emotions, this story was such a fun read for those who grew up reading the Hunger Games.

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