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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger…
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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) (edition 2020)

by Suzanne Collins (Author)

Series: The Hunger Games (Prequel)

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1,1044413,007 (3.61)19
Untitled Panem Novel will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Member:LukusCounterman
Title:The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)
Authors:Suzanne Collins (Author)
Info:Scholastic Press (2020), 528 pages
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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I was such a Hunger Games junkie, I had to continue the saga. Prequels are interesting as a concept, and I think sometimes harder to "splice" in that follow-ups, but Collins does a really good here. It's like digging a foundation under a house that's already built. Interesting that prequels often provide the origins of the villain and this is all (President) Coriolanus Snow's backstory. He is 18 years old, living in the Capitol with his overbearing, traditionalist Grandmother (the Grand Ma'am) and his sweet, supportive cousin Tigris. His father was killed in the war and his mother died of illness during the war and the family fortune is no more. All they have left is their distinguished name ("Snow lands on top" is the family motto). He struggles to hide their poverty and fall in social station and also to fill his belly. A promising student at the Academy, he is determined to win a scholarship for University (or he cannot go) His ambitions put him in a dangerous position for moral compromise, as he is must be a stand out to succeed. The opportunity comes along in the 10th Hunger Games. Dr. Gaul, the chief Gamemaker is trying to spice things up a bit as the games have become lackluster and most districts don't even watch. She has paired 24 students from the Academy with the 24 tributes from the districts to act as mentors. Snow gets a "low" pick which he worries is a reflection of his status: a girl, Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. However, at the reaping, she distinguishes herself by tossing a snake at the Mayor's daughter and singing a song from the stage. The crowd instantly loves her, and Snow sees his ticket to distinction. Once all the Tributes make it to the Capitol, they are housed in the zoo and allowed to have periodic supervised meetings with their mentors. Through these meetings Snow comes to really care for Lucy Gray and her fate, not least because if she wins he will get a full ride to University. The mentors are encouraged to think of ways to make the games interesting and this is where betting and gifts for the Tributes begin. Also, many of the Tributes are so weak and deprived when they arrive, a few die before the games even begin. Ways to mitigate this start to be put into place. It's interesting to see the scaffolding in place for what Katniss' games become. Dr. Gaul is an evil genius driving this crazy train, though there is some opposition to its inhumanity in Sejanus Plinth, Snow's alter ego, a district 2 transplant to the Capitol through his father's money and Dean Highbottom of the Academy who has drugged himself out of the reality he had a hand in creating. At base here is the determination whether humans are good or evil and what they resort to under duress. Impressionable young Snow must ultimately decide that for himself. Gaul tells him: "You can blame it on the circumstances, the environment, but you made the choices you made, no one else...Who are human beings? Because who we are determines the type of governing we need." (243) Things take an interesting twist after the Games to further influence and educate Snow and for all the careful captivating story-telling throughout, things wrap up rather quickly. Lots of little "easter eggs" for true fans who will remember all the details from the original trilogy that I can't, though I caught one in the lamb and plum stew. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
As with all of Collins books, the characters are memorable and keep the reader interested in the story. This prequel features Coriolanus Snow as a young man. The events of the book are meant to explain how he became the tyrant he is in the later books. Lucy Gray and the Covey are the most compelling characters in this book. ( )
  DrApple | Oct 20, 2020 |
Sometimes a prequel to a series you read years and years ago comes out, and you just have to read the other books again, but you can't. And that's a problem. After a solid nine year break, I was immediately sucked back into that world of The Hunger Games, and I think that's amazing. I can still remember a ton about the books after that long. This time, however, it's 63 years before the first book, following a teenage President Snow.

Check out my full review here!

https://radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com/2020/10/07/the-ballad-of-songbirds-... ( )
  radioactivebookworm | Oct 7, 2020 |
I read this in a day, which I think is a testament to Suzanne Collins' skill as a writer, since I really didn't enjoy it very much! The narrative pulled me along, even as I found the characterizations to be overly simplistic and not believable.

The protagonist is Coriolanus Snow -- President of Panem in Katniss's day, here a striving teenager trying to make a name for himself, terrified of falling to the bottom of Panem's harsh social hierarchy. But he's not yet hardened into the Snow of the original Hunger Games trilogy. We see him at a time where he's figuring out ... not so much what he believes in as what he believes will let him accrue power. He seesaws between pursuing power and imagining what the world could be like if he doesn't ascend to Panem's pinnacle. The problem is that Collins doesn't do a great job of fleshing out his complexity, instead seesawing him between extremes. I found the back and forth confusing, and didn't fully buy the abrupt emotional shift at the end of the book.

On the plus side, it was an absorbing read. There were a lot of details about Katniss's world that are fun to spot. I loved getting to see Tigris when she was young and not nearly as scary and strange as when Katniss met her. And I'm continuing to speculate about exactly how Katniss and Lucy Gray are related. ( )
  sharonstern | Sep 14, 2020 |
I started this book with no knowledge of the contents beyond that it was related to the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon opening it I was surprised and intrigued to find it was about Snow as a teen. For me it went downhill from there. The characters and their relationships felt very unreal, simplistic, and empty from the beginning. I did not enjoy my time reading this book. It did leave me wanting to revisit the other three books to see if I would still enjoy them or if my perspective as a reader has changed over the years. ( )
1 vote munchie13 | Sep 5, 2020 |
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Epigraph
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762
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For Norton and Jeanne Juster
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Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again.
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Untitled Panem Novel will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

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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 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.
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