Book: “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”
Author: Suzanne Collins
Rating: 3+/5 Stars
The Hunger Games are back again in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” from author, Suzanne Collins. In this prequel to the original Hunger Game Series, the story follows young Coriolanus Snow on his rise to power. Snow is the notable antagonist in the original series who plays the evil counterpart to the main character, Katniss Everdeen. The new novel dives deep into Snow’s character and reveals the twists and turns his life takes leading him to his eventual presidency.
As a huge fan of the original series, I was thrilled when this book was announced! There was a lot of controversy surrounding the choice of Snow as a protagonist. Many people found him to be too dark a character to be the focus of his own book. However, I really enjoyed having a more menacing character as the anchor of the storyline. As the tale develops, Coriolanus Snow begins to attain more power and slowly sinks deeper and deeper into corruption.
I enjoyed being brought back into the world of Panem. The book unlocks secrets of why events occur in the original trilogy. It is very much an evolution story. With constant Easter eggs throughout the book, fans will likely enjoy the nostalgia despite the darkness of the main character.
Lucy Gray Baird played a large supporting role in this book. She’s cast as the tribute from District 12 that is matched with Snow as her mentor. However, I did not care for her character. She felt flat to me and unconvincing. Lucy is portrayed as a mix of powerful, smart and kind. Be that as it may, rather than feeling invested in her character, I found her to be difficult to understand. In some situations she would be steadfast and in others seemed weak. This transient nature made it difficult for me to feel connected to her.
Hands down, the best part of this book was the origin story of “The Hunger Games.” Readers will learn how the games were developed and the intricacies of the early days in the games. I found this topic to be captivating. The book shows a more philosophical side of the games, however villainous and misguided. However, it did leave me wishing that the author spent less time on the story with Lucy Gray Baird and more time on the development of the games and the content connected to that particular plot aspect.
Recommendation: If you loved The Hunger Games series, this is a great read. It runs a little long, but the last section of the book makes up for it.