Collins, Suzanne. Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, The. Fiction. The Hunger Games Series Prequel. Scholastic, 05/2020. pp. $27.99. 978-1-338-63517-1. HIGH ADDITIONAL. GRADES 7-12.
When Coriolanus Snow finds out he has been tasked with mentoring the girl tribute from District 12, he is filled with disappointment. How will he ever rise from the depths of poverty that his formerly wealthy Capitol family has suddenly fallen into if he is stuck with a tribute that is sure to lose the Hunger Games? But soon, Coriolanus realizes that his tribute is a charismatic songstress who just might stand a chance in the arena, and with that chance comes the possibility of recognition and glory. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a solid prequel to the incredibly popular Hunger Games series. While this prequel is too tied-up in the lore of the original trilogy to work as a stand-alone, it does provide illuminating details about the origins of the games, showcasing in particular how the young Coriolanus Snow morphs into the duplicitous and cunning president of Panem. Collins has also created some additional standout side characters, and her use of songs within this story adds to the world of Panem, which really enriches the series as a whole. Unfortunately, characters are largely described by their hair color, so trying to code them as certain ethnicities is next to impossible. Overall, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an engaging dystopian tale that will satisfy fans of the Hunger Games trilogy. Review based on an ARC.
Julia Wright, Alameda County Library