Geek Book Review: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

Welcome to the 10th Hunger Games, may the odds be ever in your favor.

And the mentor for District 12 is…Coriolanus Snow. The Snow family name still holds respect on the Capitol but ten years after the end of the rebellion, Coriolanus is living in near poverty with his cousin and grandmother. To resurrect the Snow’s prestige, he must win the 10th Hunger Games. The problem is, with a female tribute from lowly District 12 assigned to him, the odds may not be in his favor.

As a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins’ new book follows the story of young Coriolanus Snow, years before his ascent to Panem’s presidency. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes begins 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as a tribute for District 12 and become a victor in the Hunger Games. The mockingjay who will lead the successful revolution of the districts against the Capitol.

It is the 10th Hunger Games during Snow’s final year in the academy, and he was one of the students tapped to mentor the tributes. The story tells us how Snow lived in borderline poverty 10 years after the end of the war, with only his family name to keep him on the road towards his goal to be Panem’s president. In this book, the readers will also get a glimpse of the earlier version of the Hunger Games, devoid of its glamour and sophistication. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is part origin story, part monologue of political ideals and philosophy, about war and peace, and the essence of the Hunger Games itself.

“The show’s not over until the mockingjay sings”

I’m not a fan of Collins’ Panem world. There’s too many gaping holes in her world-building process in the trilogy to get me hooked up completely in her books. The result is that I don’t believe much about the story and the characters. Society and politics in her world don’t make sense. Having said that, Collins’ ability to describe in detail the world she built as Panem is incredible, and she still got it in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. 

Then there’s the Hunger Games which is always a thrill to read. The lack of glamour in the 10th edition is compensated by the intrigue of knowing the younger Snow. He’s not a villain that you will love. Reading what’s on his mind, the realizations and lessons he learned during the Game, will make readers turn the pages, excited, and afraid to find out what made him the person who we have known in the trilogy.

Geek Rate

ares-512Mortal Worthy (3 out of 5 stars). The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes delve into many themes like politics and society with the history of Panem and the Hunger Games that will keep the reader’s interest. The objective is to provide an origin of the Games which the book did at length though the story lacks the allure of the trilogy that makes you turn the pages with gusto. More than anything, it’s an essay about philosophy with discussions about the concept of war and peace.

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