Friday, May 22, 2020

Book review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Book Summary
t is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-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 out charm, 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.

Flo's Non-Spoilery Review
I am a HUGE Hunger Games fan. But when I heard the new book was going to focus on Snow, I had mixed feelings. Part of me was just excited to spend time in Panem again. The other part of me, which is not huge on villain tales, didn't know what to think. And it is ultimately that fact that made this a 4 star instead of a 5 star book for me. I have said again and again that I am not good at books where I don't like the main character, and Snow has always been and will always be unlikeable to me. But Suzanne did such a good job with him. His character development and growth was illustrated well and made complete sense. She still made him human, to where we might sympathize with him at some points, but then he shares a thought that reminds you, "Oh yeah -- this guy is horrible."

One of my fandom friends noted that reading this book was like going home again, and that is so true. This story is so connected to everything in the original trilogy -- we see how so many things, not just the Games, came to be. There is even a shoutout to Katniss! Suzanne does such a great job of building her characters. They are the type that you could do essays exploring the motivations, actions, etc. of so many of them: Snow, Sejanus, Dr. Gaul, Mr. and Mrs. Plinth. And like the original trilogy, I feel the that this is a book about which I will be engaging in many conversations about the many different aspects. All the deep questions that come from reading the original trilogy also come into play here, and perhaps even more.

I'm drying to talk about this! Let me know if you've read it so we can chat! (Just no spoilers in the comments!)

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