Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Review by Kaydence
Suzanne Collin’s The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to the bestselling The Hunger Games Trilogy. Set sixty-four years before the first book it follows a young Coriolanus Snow as he becomes one of the first ever Hunger Games mentors. Only ten years after the rebellion the Capitol and the Districts are still trying to recover. Snow and his family are broke but still try to convince others that they have a high economical status. He needs his tribute to win the Hunger Games and make an impression on the President of his Academy. If he can accomplish this he will be chosen for a scholarship for college so he can keep up his status. He ends up getting a female tribute from District 12, the poorest district. The people there are barely surviving.
Snow and his tribute Lucy Gray get along very well. She has won the hearts of the audience with her incredible singing. This gets viewers but won’t help her in the arena. As Snow and the mentors come up with ways to get people to watch the games they come up with a system where people in the districts can bet on the tributes and send them food in the arena. SNow knows this is the only way Lucy will survive since she has already earned the hearts of the audience.
They devise a plan and Lucy goes off into the arena. Their plan works well and with the help of all her donations she wins the Games and everything is working out for Snow. The president soon finds out that Snow cheated in the Games by giving mutated snakes Lucy’s scent before they were sent into the arena. Because of his actions the snakes didn’t attack her making it easier for her to win. He is given the option to become a peacekeeper or face the charges. He signs up to be a peacekeeper in District 12 so he can follow Lucy and pursue his feelings for her. One of his classmates follows him there and joins a group of rebels. This leads to Snow killing one of the other rebels. He and Lucy decide to run away into the forest so they can’t be charged with murder. As their hiking through the forest they reach a cabin that has the weapon Snow used to murder the boy. Lucy knows that since he has the weapon he will want to go back to the districts. Since she is the last piece of evidence tying him to the murder she runs away. After a “hide and seek” game with Snow and Lucy he ends up killing her and going back to District 12 where he is welcomed back to the Capitol. He becomes a gamemaker and then eventually President of Panem. This book was a good addition to the original three books. It explained why he was such a corrupt person and gave readers a deeper insight on his character and the development of Panem from the tenth hunger games to the seventy-fourth hunger games. Unlike most prequels this book really helped the series and didn’t feel like the author just trying to make more money off of a series.
The ending was a little rushed and it felt like Snow did a complete three sixty in a matter of a couple of paragraphs. If you’d read the first books you already knew he had to become ths corrupt evil person but the story didn’t really show the progression. It was just one minute he was thinking about this perfect life with Lucy then he was trying to kill her. Up until the end the writing was executed well and flowed nicely. Unlike the first three books this one was written in third person point of view so we didn’t get to know as much about the main characters thought as much as the first book but we also got to know the thoughts of other characters as well. That was a nice addition to the story and I wish the other books were written that way.
Any book in the series will never live up to the greatness of the first book but it definitely isn’t far from it. It is worth the read and for anyone who hasn’t read the series you should read this book before the other three to go into them with more information. Even if you're not interested in the first three books this book can serve as a stand alone and I definitely recommend giving it a try.I give this book a 8/10 and recommend it to anyone who likes futuristic science fiction books with utopian universes.
Checkout The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes from the Newport Beach Public Library.