The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is a prequel to the famous Hunger Games series. The novel follows President Snow during his youth, before he became a ruthless power-hungry leader. Coriolanus Snow is an eighteen year old boy living in the Capitol. The Hunger Games is a new concept in which the twelve districts are punished by having to sacrifice two children to fight to the death amongst the other eleven districts. Only one child may survive, and this year Coriolanus’s class has been chosen to coach them. Coriolanus is given the worst district of all, District Twelve. This is important to him because his family is struggling financially and he must make a good impression in order to save his family name. He thinks he is doomed, until he meets his tribute. Lucy Gray, a girl who can charm anyone with her singing talent. Will Coriolanus let his feelings get in the way of gaining power? Will Lucy survive the arena? Yet, most importantly, will Coriolanus ignore all his morals in order to rise to the top?
This book is by far my favorite novel in the Hunger Games series. It shows a side of Snow that we never got to know, yet there are still parts of his personality that remain. It’s interesting to see how Snow reacts to falling in love, which reflects his fear of vulnerability. His influence on the games is also made apparent to the reader, how he added certain things to the game that are more intriguing yet terrible. You can also see certain things that you weren’t even aware were connected to Snow in the series, like his cousin Tigris. The cover is really cool, with the songbird and snake being such important parts of the tale. If I had to rate it, 5 (best) from 1 (worst) I would definitely rate it a 5. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes The Hunger Games or darker science fiction novels.