The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-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 outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
Reviewed on 8th June 2020
The fourth novel in the Hunger Games series - a prequel set many decades before the original trilogy - tells the story of a 16 year old Coriolanus Snow, as he experiences the Hunger Games first hand as one of the first Capitol student-mentors, adopting a tribute to support through the brutal contest.
To be honest, it wasn’t the best week to be reading this. The events of the real world weighed quite heavily on my mind, and so a dystopian future in which an extremely privileged, prejudiced, and naive boy whose name is almost literally White comes of age into a world-view that we as readers already know from reading the original trilogy, did not make to comfortable reading.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s actually a fantastic story, and really well written to set up the character in a way that encourages the reader to keep going despite already knowing some significant aspects of the conclusion. Collins is absolutely on top of her game - presenting the world from a new perspective, and covering somewhat familiar ground with a new twist and a lot of worldbuilding background information naturally fitting into the plot.
It’s a really really good book, and might be one of the tales that we really need in our time. But maybe, just maybe, buy it and put it on the shelf for a few months until it will be easier to read - when we’ve started fixing our world first.