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Review – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Development - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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Diving Back Into the World In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

 

Suzanne Collins is back with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel novel to her famous Hunger Games trilogy. Set in the tenth year of the Hunger Games, the novel follows Coriolanus Snow, and how he impacted the brutal reminder of a game.

This is a novel that fans have been talking about from the moment it was announced. Some fans were concerned about the idea of having Snow as the main perspective. More specifically, they feared that it was going to romanticize the character.

Having finished The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I can assure that is not the case. This is the origin of the Hunger Games through and through. That means there are no pulled punches. This tale explicitly explains how the Hunger Games became the event we all know it as. And how Snow played a part in it.

Writing

ballad-of-songbirds-and-snakes-suzanne-collins
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

If you’re hoping that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be every bit as brutal and intense as the original series, fear not. It most certainly is. In some ways, it felt even more brutal, since the tale is told by somebody who helped to create all that pain.

This novel is five hundred and forty pages long, but trust me, it earned every single page. Every moment of this story is fraught, filled with reminders of the world we’ve come to love (and, fear). Collins didn’t hold back in her writing, providing lush and horrifying descriptions of the world, the war, and the current plight at hand.

Then there are the characters. This is a world fully fleshed out by the characters that reside in it. Snow and the tributes take center stage, naturally. But many secondary characters played huge parts as well. Some were designed to be villains, others included to obfuscate what was occurring. Then there were the ones designed to break out hearts.

All things considered, this novel is everything fans of the series deserved. It did justice to the original trilogy. On that note, there are dozens of references, both small and large, to be found within these pages. It was a nice little addition for the fans.

Development

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was not a novel to be rushed. That isn’t to say that it was slowly paced – it was anything but. It simply never felt like it was rushing through any description. Instead, each scene was set clearly, giving the characters time to grow and react to their new settings.

That added so much to the horror and impact of what was happening. There was plenty of time leading up to the Hunger Games, with more time spent during and after it as well. It was a comprehensive look at the politics and ramifications of altering the game.

Watching Snow’s character change throughout this novel was fascinating. I can see some of the points that Collins was trying to make here, and I respect her so much for it. Likewise, I’m looking forward to seeing who they cast in the movie, and see how they bring that transition to life.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a fascinating novel, for a variety of reasons. I truly believe that every reader is going to find a different way to interpret some of the elements within this novel. I believe that it is a tale of compromise. Snow went into the Hunger Games not liking the reminder, exactly, but not against it either. Slowly, piece by piece, he sacrificed a bit more of his moral ground, until he became the man we all know him as. It was fascinating to see it happen, albeit horrible.

Conclusion

I’ll confess that I’m still reeling a bit from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It was even more intense and emotional than I had anticipated. And I walked into this novel expecting it to give me a good emotional punch or two.

What hit me was the way Collins ended the novel. Not to mention at what point in the story we found our conclusion. Being a prequel, we always knew how things were going to turn out. Yet she still managed to throw a few surprises our way.

 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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