The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) (Paperback)
I was very surprised when, halfway through this book, I couldn't stop reading. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel set during the10th Hunger Games, following no one other than the Big Bad of the trilogy, Coriolanus Snow. While the perspective is grating at times, it's intentionally so--Snow is a narcissistic coward who grows into a tyrannical dictator. The novel, at its core, is a look into what privilege and governmental propaganda can make a person into, and although Snow behaves a bit too cartoonishly-villainous sometimes, especially at the novel's end, its point is an important one. Add to that a wonderful secondary protagonist (my heart belongs to you, Lucy Gray) and you've got a good nostalgic read, especially if you were one of the many who read and loved the Hunger Games at the height of its popularity.— Ellis M.
Ambition will fuel him.
Competition will drive him.
But power has its price.
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.
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.
About the Author
Suzanne Collins is the author of the bestselling Underland Chronicles series, which started with Gregor the Overlander. Her groundbreaking young adult novels, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, were New York Times bestsellers, received wide praise, and were the basis for four popular films. She returned to the world of Panem with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Year of the Jungle, her picture book based on the year her father was deployed in Vietnam, was published in 2013 to great critical acclaim. To date, her books have been published in fifty-three languages around the world.
Praise for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes:
#1 USA Today Bestseller
#1 New York Times Bestseller
"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes delivers a mesmerizing look into the life of Coriolanus Snow and the root causes of his villainous behavior. Collins once again proves that she is a master of building a fascinating world around complex characters who must grapple with the complications of chaos and control and their effects on human nature." -- The Associated Press
"It is a steep challenge to write a book whose hero is, everyone knows, destined to become deeply evil. Do we want to hear -- now, after we know the endgame -- that the young Voldemort was unfairly saddled with a demerit in class or that the adolescent Sauron fretted because he had to wear hand-me-down clothes? Yes, please." -- New York Times
"For true fans of The Hunger Games, Collins shines most as she weaves in tantalizing details that lend depth to the gruesome world she created in the original series and Coriolanus's place in its history." -- Time
"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is your apocalyptic escape from our current apocalypse." -- Vox
"It's the pull between Coryo's head and heart -- and the realization that he actually has a beating heart, not just a rose-scented lump of coal -- that makes the future President Snow very worthy of a 517-page prequel." -- Washington Post
"[B]y introducing a new cast of teenagers, Collins is able to raise questions about privilege, the uses of violence, and the futility of war." -- People
"Collins's themes of friendship, betrayal, authority and oppression, as well as the extra layers of lore about mockingjays and Capitol's history, will please and thrill." -- MSN
"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes describes how most lives are actually lived, the consequences of countless small choices that ultimately amount to a big one: not just how to feel but who to be." -- Slate
"Collins reminds readers that even the most horrible people may have at one point done the right thing, but that doesn't make them any less despicable or less worth overthrowing." -- Polygon
* "Both a tense, character-driven piece and a cautionary tale... The twists and heartbreaks captivate despite tragic inevitabilities." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing make this story's complex issues -- vulnerability and abuse, personal responsibility, and institutionalized power dynamics -- vivid and personal." -- Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Hunger Games:
"I couldn't stop reading." -- Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
"The Hunger Games is amazing." -- Stephenie Meyer
"Brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced." -- John Green, New York Times Book Review
Praise for Catching Fire:
"Whereas Katniss kills with finesse, Collins writes with raw power." -- Time Magazine
"Collins expertly blends fantasy, romance and political intrigue." -- People Magazine
Praise for Mockingjay:
"Fans will be happy to hear that Mockingjay is every bit as complex and imaginative as Hunger Games and Catching Fire." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Suspenseful... Collins' fans, grown-ups included, will race to the end." -- USA Today
"At its best the trilogy channels the political passion of 1984, the memorable violence of A Clockwork Orange, the imaginative ambience of The Chronicles of Narnia and the detailed inventiveness of Harry Potter." -- New York Times Book Review
"Unfolding in Collins' engaging, intelligent prose and assembled into chapters that end with didn't-see-that-coming cliffhangers, this finale is every bit the pressure cooker of its forebears. [Mockingjay] is nearly as shocking, and certainly every bit as original and thought-provoking, as The Hunger Games. Wow." -- Los Angeles Times
* "This concluding volume in Collins's Hunger Games trilogy accomplishes a rare feat, the last installment being the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review