I received a finished copy of this book from @scholasticau in exchange for my honest review.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set around the 10th annual Hunger Games. We follow the villain of the Hunger Games trilogy, President Snow, who is a mentor for a tribute from District 12.
“Gem of Panem,
Seat of power,
Strength in peacetime, shield in strife.”– pg. 6
Following a long for the 10th annual Hunger Games was fun, I really enjoyed seeing how the Capitol was back then, I enjoyed reading about how the Hunger Games were run and the beginning of the book really ramped up the action of the games.
“The name jabberjay popped into his mind. A brief chapter in his genetics class. The failed experiment, the bird that could repeat human speech,”– pg. 115
I found that it was reminding me a lot of The Handmaid’s Tale, there was such graphic violence and prejudice towards the other districts, and even within the Capitol, it felt like it was everyone out for themselves and aside from a very small group of individuals, no one really looked out for anyone.
” If they couldn’t pay the taxes, would they lose the apartment? It was all they had.”– pg. 19
I wasn’t really interested in an origin story for President Snow, so when the plot slowed up quite early and became more of a character study around Coriolanus and him beginning his journey to becoming President Snow I found that my enjoyment faltered. In my opinion, this book could have been quite a bit shorter and still fulfilled its goal as a prequel.
Overall, it was fun to be back in the world of The Hunger Games, I would have preferred to spend more time reading about the war between the districts and the Capitol and the development of the games. I think that this prequel was not a necessary addition to the series, but a fun dive in to the history of Panem for big fans of the series.