Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes by Suzanne Collins
No spoilers! I hate those.
I volunteer as tribute! to be one of the few people who know about this book, it seems. I was looking through some Summer Recommendation lists on Goodreads(btw, add me on Goodreads!) when I stumbled upon the mention of a Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Stunned that I did not learn of this sooner, I instantly ordered it(along with five other books). I put up a poll on my Instagram story to get some input on which book I should read first and honestly completely disregarded the responses because I knew I just had to dive into this book as quickly as I could. I don't know about you, but I LOVED the Hunger Games series. My mom and I read all three within the span of a week or so. If I were to re-read any book(s), it would be those(oh, and the Red Umbrella, a classic). But I'm not a huge fan of re-reading books just like I don't like going to the same restaurant twice(often to Nick's dismay). I feel like there are so many good books out there waiting to be read! Okay, now on to the book.
If it weren't for my work schedule, I would have finished this book in three days, four tops. I couldn't put it down. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to The Hunger Games. It is set during the 10th annual Hunger Games with Coriolanus Snow as the protagonist(GASP!). Coriolanus is a student at the Academy and he's been selected as a mentor in the first ever Hunger Games when mentorship has been introduced. He is assigned the girl from 12, a dreadful omen being that she is both female giving her slimmer odds of winning and from 12, the poorest district. But this mentorship and his success in the Games is absolutely crucial to his future as he needs a scholarship to go to University. The Capitol is riddled with poverty and destruction after the war but nobody speaks of their poverty. Capitol citizens carry themselves as if everything is just as it were before the war even though most of them barely have anything to eat and have sold much of their belongings just to make ends meet. During the reaping, the girl from 12 makes quite an impression on the crowd and Coriolanus realizes just how beneficial she could be to his success.
There are so many twists and turns in this book, it's crazy. Things get explained from the series that I never even knew needed explanation. At one point, I was so overcome with emotion that I put the book down in anger and frustration and wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it at all. At another point, I looked up a question I had regarding the name of one of the characters, AND I READ A SPOILER. So I highly recommend that you do not look up anything at all before completing the book. It was a big spoiler too, *eyeroll* the worst.
By the end of the book, you'll have totally sided with Coriolanus and then likely turned on him(or not, I'm still undecided). But you definitely understand his character as the President of Panem and why he does what he does in the Hunger Games series. But I can almost guarantee, if you loved the Hunger Games series, you'll love this book.
I really hope they come out with a movie! I could picture everything in my head as I read it and I look forward to seeing those images come to life.
If you've read it, let me know what you thought in the comments. Also, let me know which of the Hunger Games books was your favorite! Mine is Catching Fire.