The news that Suzanne Collins was writing a prequel book to the Hunger Games series unearthed all these memories of myself as a young reader completely enamored with the series that I had forgotten. While in middle school, I had a huge Hunger Games obsession — I’m talking dressing up as tributes and going to the movie premiere type of obsession — and it did not take long for the feelings of excitement and infatuation that I thought I left behind in that period of my life to come flooding back to the present as I learned there would be a new book all about President Snow.
As you can imagine, I quickly located my “Team Gale” (CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE) bookmark and immediately pre-ordered the book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Now, I would read literally anything related to the Hunger Games as I am the type of reader that needs to know everything I can about the characters and the worlds of the books I read. That being said, I, and many others from what my brief Twitter researching told me, were a little unsure about how a book about the Hunger Games series biggest villain would play out. Would Collins try to convince us to sympathize with the man the fandom hates? Would a book with such an unlikable main character even make for a good read?
I don’t think it is too spoilery to say that no, she does not try to excuse the actions of an antagonist, and 100% YES it makes for an excellent read. It is a very interesting point of view to tell a story from, one in which the narrator is disliked and unreliable, yet there are other characters in the story that evoke sympathy and give the reader something good to root for. The tension throughout The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is high — it is the Hunger Games, after all! Prepare to be crossing your fingers and hoping that the odds are in favor of your favorite characters (there will be favorites) because the whole book is a battle between life and death.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a fun treat for readers who loved the Hunger Games series and who are looking to gain a whole new level of understanding of those books. There are so many little Easter eggs throughout this book that connect to things in the Hunger Games series, and as a big fan of those, they were so fun for me to read about. I’m not sure that this would be as great a book for readers who have not read the Hunger Games (do those readers exist?), but for those who have I think this book would be worth the read.
I would definitely recommend this book for readers who loved the Hunger Games series, regardless their level of obsession with the books. If are looking for a polarizing perspective or if you love to hate a character, then The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is the book to add to your TBR list. I give this book four stars, for giving me new characters to love and for the thrill it gave me to remember all that I loved about the Hunger Games books when I first read them so many years ago.