The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Book - 2020
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"Revisits 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, New York : Scholastic Press, ©2020.
ISBN: 9781338635171
Characteristics: 517 pages ;,22 cm.

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Bebesa
Jul 30, 2020

this book is amazing!!!! i stayed up from 7:00-9:00 reading this book. if you enjoy this book. then read Susanne Collins other books. she has written the Hunger Games and much more!!
KUDOS to her!!

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jessitinsley
Jul 30, 2020

I was so excited when I found out there was another hunger games book. I enjoyed the trilogy very much. This book was very intense, i was confused at some parts and sometimes a bit bored. But it still had many exciting, cliffhanger parts. It is definitely not as good as the trilogy but still a decent book. It really helped explain how Snow got to how he was. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

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JoyERancatore
Jul 26, 2020

This will be a difficult review to write because I don't want to spoil anything. So, let's just make it short!

Suzanne Collins has again crafted a tale of horror, love, betrayal, hopelessness, power and that "something" that causes one person to come out on top in a world where survival is no happily ever after. This prequel to her well-known Hunger Games trilogy reveals the whys behind President Snow's whats.

I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this book and couldn't put it down. Fair warning: have the trilogy on standby because you will want to read them again as soon as you finish The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

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msdelrios
Jul 24, 2020

July 2020

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minhanhp04
Jul 24, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes us back to the 10th Hunger Games, where Coriolanus Snow and his family have fallen upon tough times. The Snows have kept up their old money facade ever since the end of the war, but in reality, they are barely getting by as it is. Coriolanus’s only hope to restore his family is to be able to go to the University with scholarships and gain glory through being a mentor in the Hunger Games. During his time as a mentor, Coriolanus becomes influenced by Dr. Gaul, the cynical Gamemaker, and meets Lucy Gray, the female District Twelve tribute. As a mentor, he does his best to make Lucy Gray shine and stand out, catching the attention of viewers and sponsors everywhere. He also learns about the possibility of a rebellion from one of his close friends, and is torn between trying to fight for freedom and continuing the regime of the Capitol. What will Coriolanus choose? Suzanne Collins’ prequel to The Hunger Games is wonderfully written, and it engages readers really well. I liked how the book was not too predictable, and had a lot of suspense throughout. I also enjoyed Coriolanus’ overall character development and how Collins depicted his thoughts. However, I am a bit disappointed about the end result of the book, but considering how Snow was portrayed later on in his life, it was a reasonable ending. This book is a must-read for any fans of The Hunger Games and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

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Gareldb
Jul 12, 2020

I am not really sure why the author chose to write this book (other than the money). I am sure that nearly everyone that reads it has already read the rest of the Hunger Game series. If this was the only book of the series someone has read, I can't imagine them bothering with the rest. The writing wasn't that bad but I can't figure out why she would write an entire book about the least likable character in the series and then spend the entire book making him even less likable. It seems like every chance that Coriolanus Snow has to either do something nice for someone, rescue someone, or behave like a normal human being he first has to consider whether it is in his own best interest and then most likely betrays them or lies to make himself look better. The author makes no effort to explain why he behaves this way. Was his father cruel to him? The rest of his family seems normal and giving so why is he the way he is?
If the author chooses to write another book for this series I hope she finds a more likable, or at least more interesting, character.
One more thing: I listened to the audiobook. This book has several tunes sung by Lucy Gray that end up being read by the narrator. In several cases, the tunes are old tunes from years ago but the music as well as the lyrics exist. They also include the song sung by Catniss in the movie. Having the narrator (or someone) sing the lyrics rather than recite them slowly would have been a big improvement.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about reentering the world of the Hunger Games, but my god, I enjoyed it immensely. I'm so pleasantly surprised.

Coriolanus Snow has lived through the war with the districts. He lives in a penthouse suite, he goes to school at the Academy, and he has a bright Capitol future ahead of him. When he's assigned to mentor the girl from District 12 at the 10th annual Hunger Games, Coriolanus sees it as a challenge, and his ticket to university - because underneath the facade he presents, the Snows' money is dwindling, and his future could very well be at stake. But Lucy Gray may be more than he bargained for, and his future even less certain than he already believes it to be.

The thought of a prequel novel about Snow, of all people, left me feeling very lukewarm when I heard about this one. Yes, he was a decent villain, I hated him SO MUCH, but was he interesting enough to warrant an entire novel? Turns out: yes. Oh my god.

I love how Suzanne Collins can work such structure into her novels and mixes the familiar with the new. We know Panem from the 74th Hunger Games 64 years in the future - this is the time of the 10th, and so much is different. This novel really bridges the gap between what Panem becomes and where it started, namely as North America as we know it. So, we know the format of the Hunger Games from the series, and that is indeed present here, but it's done in such a different way. Without the glitz and glamour of the future, without the mandatory watching and spectacle of it all, it somehow hits so much harder, knowing where it's all heading. This is a punishment for the districts, and it's horrible, but at the same time, no one seems to know what happens beyond the reaping. Fascinating.

I thought I might find it hard to read from Snow's perspective, but I empathized with him more than I wanted to, and maybe even more than I should have. He's a vain person, very concerned with status, but he grew up in a war - he has faced hardship in his life, and his reaction to that has been to control things. To make it so that he can't be hurt again, no matter what that costs him. And I just...I get it. It's so wonderfully conveyed here that even when the eventual twist came and I had to hate him, I still just understood, and I can appreciate him so much more as a character in the original trilogy now.

As for Lucy Gray and the Covey, what a wonderful addition they made to this otherwise quite beige/gray/bland world. They were the colour that this story needed. Lucy Gray's songs are also an absolute highlight of this one for me; I felt like I could hear them when I read those lyrics, and it made it so very engrossing and atmospheric. And the Hanging Tree! I got full body goosebumps at the scene of her writing it. She is lovely, and motivated so differently than Coriolanus that the balance was almost a relief. Their relationship was sometimes hard to read, but I believed it.

What drives this from an engrossing, intense read up to the level of a fave for me is the moral philosophy that Collins weaves through her words. How she presents us with this character who has to choose control, has to fight the chaos, in order to move on in life because he is so convinced that human beings are ultimately selfish and no better than animals. That we'd all kill each other without some kind of overarching controlling figure to tell us not to. The path that Panem has taken to reach Katniss's time is now just so much clearer; it's because of Snow.

At the end of the day, I just really enjoyed this. I know others have said it's meandering, dull, etc. but I truly never found myself bored. I wanted to read this, and when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about it. That is enough for me as a reader, but this book goes above and beyond that to being actual quality in terms of writing, plot, and characters, too.

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lauradfarr
Jul 07, 2020

As a fan of the Hunger Games trilogy, I was really disappointed by this prequel, from the viewpoint of a young, pre-President, Snow. It was impossible to connect to his character. Throughout the story he played the victim, unhealthily obsessed over his love interest, lacked empathy, and craved control. He read as an abuser or a psychopath or both.

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blue_dolphin_7378
Jul 05, 2020

I loved this amazing book! I am 11 years old and I love the Hunger Games and I was so happy to find in 2019 there would be a new book. I got the book the day it came out and finished in 3 days. I love how it shows why President Snow became who he is in the Hunger Games trilogy. I loved the whole story! I would say this is one of the best books I have ever read.

We learn nothing new about President Snow, he is a terrible human being and always has been. Constantly feeling he is owed more than he actually deserved, and makes comments like when things "smell like poverty".

The love interest was one note and your quintessential manic pixie dream which is a shame because if the story was about Lucy Gray I think it could have been a little more interesting.

This is also chalk full of Easter eggs, that are not subtle but instead Collins hits you repeatedly with a figurative "remember this" bat.

Since this is Suzanne Collins though the book is well written, and for anyone who remembers the Hunger Games knows she can craft a memorable and heart breaking story, this however is not it. This book didn't need to exist, I didn't need to be in Snows head and I am disappointed.

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Age Suitability

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blue_dog_42057
Jul 26, 2020

blue_dog_42057 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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minhanhp04
Jul 24, 2020

minhanhp04 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

OPL_KrisC Jun 13, 2020

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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cchaitu
Jun 07, 2020

cchaitu thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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pink_swan_291
May 27, 2020

pink_swan_291 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

j
jepompilio
May 25, 2020

jepompilio thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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blue_dolphin_7378
May 23, 2020

blue_dolphin_7378 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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white_wolf_1414
May 21, 2020

white_wolf_1414 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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studentsofhim
Mar 12, 2020

studentsofhim thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Arattay
Jul 24, 2020

Violence: Very bloody, but good overall

j
JelloLuck
Jul 21, 2020

Violence: This book contains blood, killings, slasher, thriller and horror. But if it was in a movie, it would be even worse (14+).

r
readingfairy
Jun 08, 2020

Violence: Like the original Hunger Games trilogy, this book features lots of gore and violence, as characters are killed, hit, battered and bloodied, tortured, and hanged. However, I wouldn't say it's very vividly described, instead, it leaves many details to the imagination.

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