The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes - Suzanne Collins

Reading Challenge Category: A book published in 2020

Official Blurb:

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 outmanoeuvre 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 favour 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.

My Thoughts:

I can’t say I was looking forward to reading this. I don’t remember much about the Hunger Games books as I’ve watched the films more than I’ve read the books. The length of this daunted me, and I was worried it would be repetitive with it being about a random Hunger Games in the past. So, all in all, it wasn’t one I rushed to read.
However, I was so wrong from the very beginning I was hooked by the story, and for a 624-page book it flew by. It wasn’t a random Hunger Games but a pivotal one that shaped the future.
We have gone back 64 years from the first book to this one, and we are following President Snow when he is just a teenager. It really plays with your emotions as you know who he becomes, but in this book, you start to sympathise with him and root for him to come out on top. However, as the book progresses, so does his sinister way of thinking, and before long, the person he is defined to become starts to emerge.
It is superbly written, and I felt completely invested in the story. Part three completely sideswiped me as I didn’t expect it. I had to re-read the last page of part two a few times to really absorb what was happening.
The characters were all likeable, and I can’t believe Lucy Gary isn’t mentioned in the future books (or is she and just omitted from the films?) I liked the way that a few things tied back to the future like the Hanging Tree song.
This was the perfect prequel to the story that we know so well. I part read this and part listened to the audiobook. The audiobook was also fantastically presented, and the narrator did a great job. Overall, I’m so glad I did delve into this, and it was worth the quite hefty price tag. I’m really hoping that a new film will be made to portray this as along with it being a prequel to President Snow’s life it is a brilliant story in its own right. I didn’t want it to end and knowing there is probably no more other than re-reading the original three books again is a little depressing.

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The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes
by Suzanne Collins
Date Started
14th June 2020
Date Finished
19th June 2020
Buy Now on Amazon