The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins Book Talk
Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: May 19, 2020 by Scholastic Press
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Page Count: 517
Movie Adaptation: Releasing November 17, 2023
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to the original The Hunger Games trilogy. The storyfollows a young Coriolanus Snow before his rise to presidency in Panem. At eighteen years old, Coriolanus is still in school. His class is asked to mentor the tributes for the tenth Hunger Games for a project with the incentive of winning a scholarship to further their education in the Capitol if their tribute wins. The story follows Snow before, during, and after the Hunger Games.
The original trilogy is my favorite book series to date. I love Suzanne Collins’ writing and the characters she creates. It was a lot of fun returning to the world of Panem. The shift from the original trilogy being written in the first person perspective to this prequel being written in the third person point of view was a bit of a shock. The more I read the book, the better I felt about the shift. It added some distance between the reader and Snow, who we know will turn out to be a villain of Katniss’ story. There were a lot of subtle callbacks to the original series that are fun to pick up on. Though the ending felt a bit jarring, I love a good plot twist and Collins is fantastic at writing them.
As much as I like Lucy Gray Baird’s character and admired her strength, Sejanus Plinth was my favorite character. He reminded me a lot of Peeta Mellark as the moral compass of the story. It was odd, in a good way, to read a book from the perspective of someone you already hate. There were times where I was truly rooting for Snow to succeed.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was a fun deep-dive into the life of a Capitol citizen after the Dark Days that we did not get to see through Katniss’ eyes. Part of me wants more books to get more information about the fascinating story that Suzanne Collins has created. I have always wanted to get more details about what life was like before the dark days. How did The United States of America become Panem? What is the rest of the world doing while Panem is sending children into a fight to the death? How did the districts rebel during the dark days?
I have also always wanted a book about Haymitch Abernathy’s Quarter Quell. The glimpse we got of his games in Catching Fire was incredibly intriguing. Johanna Mason, Finnick Odair, Annie Cresta, and Mags’ games would also be cool to see. Where I am torn is the fear of this story getting oversaturated and receiving any hate.
All in all I love this series with all my heart and am looking forward to seeing Francis Lawrence’s take on the movie adaptation next year.