The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Genre: Futuristic

Number of Pages: 517

In this prequel to the Hunger Games series, Coriolanus Snow is a young student preparing to mentor a candidate from District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games. He needs for this to go well so that he can get a scholarship to the school of his choice because his family was hit hard in the war and he cannot afford to pay the taxes on his family apartment, let alone tuition. His tribute, Lucy Gray, is from a group of singers in District 12 and there is some debate as to whether she was fairly chosen as the tribute. She is a true performer, though, and her and Coriolanus begin spinning the media coverage to get her some sympathy. He even has a hand in making changes to the Hunger Games so that spectators can feel more involved, including being able to make wagers and send gifts to tributes. As the games go on, he begins to feel a connection with Lucy Gray and begins to wonder if there could be a future with her, especially since his in the capitol is so uncertain. Can he lead her to victory and what would that mean for him personally? Can he save his family from getting turned out of their family home?

This book has a lot of twists and turns in it as you see what Coriolanus had to overcome in his youth in order to become the President Snow we meet later on. The reader can easily see how Coriolanus had a hand in evolving the Hunger Games to what it eventually becomes. The Hunger Games themselves do not take hold of the entire story as it really isn’t as exciting as the Hunger Games featured later with Katniss. Instead, the focus is more on Coriolanus and the choices he makes to determine what his future will be like and who he can count on to stand beside him. The suspense doesn’t seem to build like it does in the original trilogy simply because to some extent the reader knows where this is all going, but it is interesting to get a glimpse into how the Hunger Games became the phenomenon it eventually turns into. Recommended for fans of the series.

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