Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Review of Suzanne Collins’ Prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy

RETURN TO THE ARENA: 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, another girl from District 12 made history in the Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins takes readers to the 10th annual Hunger Games in her newest prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy. (Cover art from Amazon)

Everyone remembers that time when they were in middle school and were slightly obsessed with archery because of The Hunger Games. Well, it is time to dust off your toy bow and arrows because Suzanne Collins is back with a new addition to the Hunger Games universe. 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which was released in May of 2020, takes readers almost sixty-five years into the past. The book follows the perspective of Coriolanus Snow before he became president of Panem. The once-feared Snow family had fallen on hard times, which meant that Coriolanus would need to prove himself during the Hunger Games. Instead of participating, Snow and the other children of the Capitol would be mentors for the tributes. For Coriolanus, this would be his one shot to reinstate his family’s name. Throughout the story, we meet Lucy Gray Baird, who lived in District 12 when she was selected as a tribute for the tenth annual Hunger Games. As a tribute, her one goal was to stay alive. Together Coriolanus and Lucy Gray work together in hopes that they would both make it out alive. 

Content-wise, the book is drastically different from Collins’ first three books. The book is split into three separate sections, which mimics the idea of a trilogy. Each section is around 150 pages, so there is plenty of content and action per section. Yet, even though there was time to have a build-up to a large climax, it sadly dissipated with several minor climaxes spread throughout. While the content was there, it seemed as if some was forgotten in an attempt to tie up loose ends from the original trilogy. 

Even though The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes did not live up to my expectations, it was still an enjoyable read. It does not add extra information to The Hunger Games, so it is not an essential read. But still, the book is a great dystopian novel and would be a stellar addition to your bookshelf. After reading it, I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in a well-written dystopian society or someone who enjoyed  Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games