Book reviews and recommendations, Young Adult 12-15, Young Adult 16+

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian/ Contemporary Fantasy/ Science Fiction

Review by: Emma, Leixlip Library



The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

Ambition will fuel him. 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 outmaneuvre 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 favour 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.


Ok, so this book is quite controversial in terms of Hunger Games fans loving or hating it. I myself was a big fan of the Hunger Games series and I found I was very torn over did I actually love this book or hate it. For that reason I have not given it a star rating, because honestly I am still making up my mind.

This book definitely takes a different road to the original Hunger games series and I found it to be quite critical if not philosophical in terms of a villain origin story. It really makes you think about the whole nature vs. nurture argument. I found it to almost be like House of Cards where you don’t come away sympathetic to the villain or understanding what pushed them towards their evil deeds etc.

I also think, if like me you really enjoyed the original series you will like this one as there are a lot of references to the original books which I really enjoyed. I also really liked that this book taught me more about the world of Panem and for that reason I found myself hurrying to the end even if the pacing was a bit strange at times. I have found one complaint I hear about this book a lot is the pacing. A lot of my friends have complained it was too slow and then the last 25% was too hurried.

Overall I found the writing brilliant, because I am still thinking about it, still trying to decide did I love it? Or did I loathe it? I found the book to be critical in nature, scathing at points and thought provoking throughout. So, for that reason I would recommend definitely giving this book a read

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox in audiobook format. Prefer a physical copy ? Feel free to request online from your local library here or make an appointment to visit your library here.

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