Friday, May 14, 2021

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Hunger Games #0)

 Author: Suzanne Collins

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Number of Pages: 439

Publisher: Scholastic Press

First Thoughts:

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book, I've read the first three books and was blown away but after reading this which took place way before the previous books I wasn't sure I would be able to get into it. And in a way it was true, I had a hard time attaching myself with the characters. Not to mention it's been awhile since I read the first three books. It took me awhile to read this book because I just couldn't get into it until I finally forced myself to read it. And thank goodness I did because I would've missed out on an emotional deep amazingly detailed story. This was President Snows story and why he became the cold hard man he is.


Coriolanus Snow is young and is struggling to just keep a roof over his head. Not many know he has money troubles but he is determined to graduate and able to go to college but where is he going to get the money?

The Hunger Games are about to start again and he wants to snag one of the most coveted spots in it; being a mentor. If his tribute wins, he not only gets the glory but he gets into college and money, oh the money. He could keep his late parents place, his reputation intact. 

Then comes Lucy Gray from district 12. She's anything but dark. She has spunk but can she actually win this thing?

Snow is desperate to win this thing but with winning comes deception. Can Coriolanus pull this off or will his family's once honored name be strike from the books?


This book is the prequel to The Hunger Games, and gives an in-depth look into Snows young adulthood. It takes place before he became president. You get to see the struggles he was dealt with that shaped him to become the man we saw in the first three Hunger Games books. It was very weird at times and by the end there were so many questions left unanswered, most of them surrounding Lucy Gray. In ways I hated this book but in another way I absolutely thought it was brilliant. 

It takes place with the Hunger Games and Snow being picked to mentor district's 12 girl; Lucy Gray. At first Snow was dreading his tribute; thinking he was so sure he had a loser but soon Lucy shows her inner-beauty and determination. Her voice and outfit catching the eyes of the capital. 

The Hunger Games Is a lot different than the ones we saw in the first two books. You get to see the beginning policies. It was heart-breaking and moving to see how they were treated then. To experience it when it was in it's beginning stages. It was deeply emotional and weird, way different than the Hunger Games we are familiar with. 

It was hard to read, it may be one of the reasons I had to put it down because most of the book was serious. So, be prepared, find that one  sure fire book to cheer you up. Definitely know if you've read the first three books, this is a must read!


The relationship between Snow and Lucy is complicated. I think it was a one sided relationship. One just wanted to desperately make a connection while the other let life complicate it. This was not a strong point for the book like it was in the first three books. So if you're looking for a romance book, this isn't it.


Lucy Gray was the saving grace of this book. Without her personality  and spunk this book would've been unreadable. She was so well developed that it took a very deep and dark story into moments of relief. I'm not saying she was bright all the time but she was the comic relief in this book. And the other characters were interesting in the sense that they had their own roles and most of them stood out. The other tributes were different for sure, some nice others not so much. These characters have a lot of depth. They don't just fill the spaces, most of them contribute very important things in the story. Whether they contributed to the climax of the story or even the stepping stones to storyline they are all important.  Snow was the main focus in this book. This book was mainly written for him, to show the readers where he was before he became president. One thing to know is this was focused on the path to presidency but not the presidency itself. You look at Snow in the beginning. 

Transformation of Character: 

Snow changed the most in this book. He changes from something so innocent into something undeniable. At first his changes were subtle, he was struggling with inner turmoil and then near the end it became more prominent and it was hard to see. And then by the last word, everything had changed. Lucy maybe made subtle changes by the end of the book. During the games is when she changed some. But like with Katniss in the other 3 books you can see why that would happen. Overall, I think this was an important aspect of the book.


There was a lot of details in the scenes in this book, maybe even too much. It was so dark and weird. I remember the snake scene so well, and the Hunger Game itself. It's been months since reading this book and there's scenes that will be hard to forget. Details I don't even wish to remember. It took a lot of will power to just finish this book, not because it was terrible writing but because it dealt with serious problems. Ms. Collins can really let the reader picture what's happening in each scene. The description was great in this book, you were able to read like you can watch tv. I've seen there are a lot of complaints about the weird descriptions and things happening and I have to say I somewhat feel that way but you have to understand that's what kind of world that is. You can't change the world based on preference, you have to press on. So though weird things happened it had to happen and it made the book even more relatable and true.


I absolutely love Ms. Collins writing. She's talented and very creative. Just creating a prequel for the first three books after so long was amazing. I don't want to say this book was bad because it absolutely wasn't but it takes a special kind of person to both start this book and finish it. I loved seeing Snow's point of view because you didn't get it in the previous three books. You just saw him as the antagonist without the background. I loved seeing the way the characters were introduced, it allowed the audience to get better perspectives on the world and to see how some consequences came to light and what cause them. 

Quote of the Book:

" "Do you hear that, Coriolanus? It's the sound of snow falling.""

Last Thoughts:

Though it took me a while to read this book I led it. Some readers might not be able to enjoy this book like I did but if you read the previous book I would recommend this book. At least attempt to read it. But if you don't want a serious read then don't even attempt to read this. Also if you do end up reading this I advise to have a more light/funny book to read. It will allow you to take a break from this book and then pick it right up after you've had time to "rest."


4 Blooms!

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