Back in 2011, I read the Hunger Games series along with the rest of the teenage/young adult population. I was intrigued at first and looking for something to replace Twilight. I read the first book with ease and Catching Fire was intriguing but Mockingjay, the final book, was so confusing. I was also reading it in the middle of pledging my sorority so my brain was fried. I still don't even really know what happened and when I watch the movies, I'm equally lost. 

I never re-read the books but appreciate what they're about and like the movies.

However, even though I wasn't a huge Hunger Games fan, when I heard a prequel was being released I was ecstatic. It was odd, how happy I was and how intrigued I was by this prequel but maybe that's because there was so much we didn't know. The Hunger Games was a random series with so much backstory that you could easily write multiple prequels. Maybe it was also a sense of nostalgia for me since this was announced around the same as Midnight Sun.

Either way, I preordered the book and recently finished it. It was really good and I feel like I understand Panem a little better.

Publisher's Summary

Ambition will fuel him.
The 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.

My Thoughts

Similar to the other Hunger Games books, I found The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes a little difficult to understand and really get into. I don't know if it's the language Collins uses or just that Panem is such an intricately detailed and complicated setting, but it was hard to grasp what was going on. However, if you really pay attention and get into the novel, you'll quickly understand everything.

As mentioned in the publisher's summary, this book revolves around Corionalus Snow's time as a mentor in the 10th Annual Hunger Games. If you know the Hunger Games, you know Snow would come to be President of Panem. 

You see the selection of his tribute, fittingly from District 12, at the reaping and watch their relationship grow. Lucy Gray throws Corionalus for a loop and he wants her to win for both herself, for him, and for the Capitol. 

The things that happen between the start of The Hunger Games and the end are pretty wild and I was shocked at a lot of it. Though, the book doesn't end when the Hunger Games are over... there's another plot that happens post-games that really accelerates the book and shows you how Snow ends up where he does.

Understanding where Snow comes from and why he is the way he is, almost makes his time as President understandable. It almost justifies it and I'm sure that was the reasoning for the book. You see that Snow had a conscience at one point and didn't believe in the Hunger Games. You see what his home life was like, the people he pissed off, the people he made friends with... everything makes total sense after this book.

One of my favorite parts of the book was toward the end *spoiler alert* when Snow discovers the Mockingjay and has a visceral hatred for them. It ties into his obsession with Katniss quite nicely and wraps things together in a bow.   

If you liked The Hunger Games, books or movies, you will like "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes." I love a good prequel and will never pass it up, especially if it was 

While I wasn't a huge Hunger Games fan, I still really enjoyed the prequel and I hope that there's more coming, or even a movie based on this book!

Have you read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes? What did you think?

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