The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. (2020).
(A Hunger Games novel)
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
It’s the morning of the reaping before the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18 year old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor. The house of Snow has fallen on hard times and its fate hangs on Coriolanus. The odds are against him when he is assigned to the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of low. But their fates are now intertwined and every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure. It’s a fight to the death in the arena while 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.
As soon as I heard this book was coming out, I knew I would read it because like many other readers, I absolutely loved the Hunger Games trilogy. I did enjoy this one but it definitely was nowhere near as good in my opinion. My big criticisms would be that it is waaaaaay too long and drawn out, and that it still doesn’t really explain how Coriolanus became the character he is in the original trilogy which is what I (and I’m sure others) was hoping for. I liked Lucy Gray, the tribute from District 12, and I quite enjoyed when we got to meet her Covey family. I would have liked more details about the Covey history. I thought Tigris, Coriolanus’s cousin, was one of the best characters and it was a shame there wasn’t more of her in the story. I’m not really sure how I felt about Coriolanus…something just felt a bit off.
Overall: an enjoyable story that was a bit too long. Don’t compare it to the original Hunger Games trilogy or you may be disappointed.