Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Good Morning world!
How is your week going? Things have been a little quiet on my end, but I’m happy to share a book review of the novel I started reading about a week ago.
This time around I’m reviewing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the Hunger Games prequel by Suzanne Collins.
I read the Hunger Games trilogy maybe 7-10 years ago, and I really enjoyed it, so when I heard about this book coming out, I had to get my hands on it.
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 Capital, 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 outmaneuver 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 favor 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.
I gave this novel two stars.
It pains me to rate a Hunger Games book this low, but this book was extremely disappointing and quite the chore to finish.
In this novel, we follow along Coriolanus Snow’s origins. Just years after the war between the Districts and the Capitol, the Hunger Games is much different than what it becomes in the trilogy.
No one really watches it, and they basically dump the tributes in a rotting arena to duke it out to the death. But this year, students at the Academy are sponsoring the tributes and brainstorming ways to get more people to watch it.
Snow has lucked out with an opportunity to sponsor a tribute, and if he wants to pay for University, he’ll have to win a prize by getting his tribute to win. Can he pull it off, or will he end up like so many other penniless, impoverished Capitol citizens?
This book missed the mark in many ways, and I’m not going to sugar coat.
The one thing that truly worked for me was the concept.
I mean, it’s the Hunger Games. That’s why I wanted to read this so bad. The trilogy was a lot of fun, so this had to be great, right? I also thought it would be interesting to learn more about the Capitol in its earlier days and learn more about the world they live in. Unfortunately, the positives end here for me.
As usual, I’ll start with the characters. I had many issues with Snow’s character. Starting out, I sympathized with him. His family was once a great family name in the Capitol and is now struggling financially like many others. Snow wants to make something great out of himself, like so many other young men in the Capitol. Cool, good for you.
However, throughout the book, his character is compromised, creating an unenjoyable experience. My main issue is the bipolar nature of his thoughts and actions. They don’t make any sense. Snow has no issue thinking awful thoughts of others, throwing them under the bus, then feeling ‘sorry for said person’ and feeling pity for himself. He goes through these motions over and over again, and I really got sick of it after a while. This kind of a character is not something anyone really enjoys reading about.
Snow is self-righteous, selfish, and way to mercurial for my taste. His thoughts betray themselves from page to page, and I can’t understand how anyone could really trust him in this book. He assumes that everyone needs him so much when clearly he’s being a total jerk, and it was exhausting.
The plot seemed intriguing enough at the beginning, but the first part stretched on far too long before anything interesting happened. Yes, we did get to see how they formulated the 10th Hunger Games, but nothing was really happening, not enough to keep from struggling to move forward. Finally, we do get some action with the Hunger Games, but it felt a bit lackluster overall, certainly not comparable to the first three books.
The third part of the book was the hardest part for me. I felt the flow suffered immensely, and at that point I had become so sick of being in Snow’s mindset that it took forever just to finish a chapter.
In the end, this was an unsatisfying origin story to the Hunger Games. I cannot recommend this book, and if you enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy, maybe you should consider not reading this if you don’t want to sour your former reading experiences.
That’s a Wrap!
Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!
Have you read this book before? What did you think? Do you have a book recommendation similar to this one? Feel free to share in the comments!
Have a great day!
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