An honest review of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

Book cover courtesy of Wikipedia.

Book cover courtesy of Wikipedia.

Go to a library or bookstore and you will be sure to find “The Hunger Games” series sitting on the shelf. This series and its movie adaptations have received many awards and high praise. Ten years after the final book, “Mockingjay,” was written, Suzanne Collins has come out with another novel to add to the series. 

On May 19, Collins released her prequel to the series titled “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” shows the life of Coriolanus Snow before he became the president of Panem. The story takes place during the 10th annual Hunger Games, and Coriolanus Snow, at 18, is chosen to mentor tribute Lucy Gray from District 12.

As an avid fan of dystopian novels and the series, I was eager to read this novel. A prequel to one of my favorite series? Sign me up! 

Then I read the book. 

This book did answer a lot of questions about the series as a whole and had a lot of ties to the original. With that being said, this book fell flat in comparison to my expectations. 

I found this book slow-paced and lackluster in comparison to the original series. Between what felt like a forced romance and the rushed ending, I was not thrilled. 

Seeing what shaped the antagonist with a backstory can bring clarity and understanding to a series, but this novel left me wanting more development of Snow’s character. Although I see how this could be almost a redemption story for Snow, I had to wonder if this was the same person from the originals. 

How did this teenager go from being completely against the idea of the Hunger Games to being the madman in the other books? The answer to this question was never well developed. 

Some things made this book still slightly rewarding. The ties to the rest of the series were enjoyable. A lot of things were explained that were left open to the imagination in the originals. 

Lucy Gray’s character was lively and enjoyable to read about, while the other characters felt one noted and static. 

Maybe my expectations were too high, but this book was an unnecessary addition to the series that left a lot to be desired. I would give this book three stars out of ten as I fear it lacked the exciting, page-turning charm the rest of the series had.