The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

book cover with a songbird and snake in gold
Suzanne Collins
4
Sep 30, 2020

“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.” - Lucy Gray Baird

Suzanne Collins bring us another installment of the Hunger Games.  This time she takes us back in time to the Tenth Annual Hunger Games (64 years prior to The Hunger Games trilogy, before Coriolanus Snow was President). 

Snow, eighteen-years-old, is doing what he can to hold what’s left of his family together and keep up with the status quo in the Capital.  Money is tight in the Snow house, and he is afraid he won’t be able to afford University.  An opportunity presents itself when he is assigned as mentor to the District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird.  It is a humiliating task, yet Lucy Gray proves to be a contender.  Will Snow land on top? 

This book really explores Snow’s character.  It answers the questions of how and why he became who he became.  However, you don’t need to read The Hunger Games trilogy first to understand and appreciate this story.

As the title suggest, there are several ballads sung throughout the novel.  Lucy Gray is our songbird, who sings with a group from District 12 called The Covey.  As the songwriter of some of the songs, you get inside Lucy Gray’s head a bit.  She shares her perspective on the games and what life is like in the district.  I liked the way these songs moved the story forward and presented Snow’s own interpretation of the lyrics.

An epic Hunger Games was lacking for me in this book.  I realize it takes place at only the tenth Hunger Games and there needs to be some build up to what they become, but I was hoping for a bit more.  With that said, the description throughout this book was outstanding.  I could visualize a constant movie in my head as I read.

There are many themes in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes including; morality, ambition, power, and competition.  For young adults, these make for great discussion topics.

Written by Kristen Re.

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