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 outmaneuver 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 favor 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A generation before Katniss Everdeen won the Hunger Games (and our hearts) with her bravery and sacrifice, a different underdog prepared to face the reaping. We all know Coriolanus Snow as the tyrannical president of Panem. But at 18, he was the heir of a formerly great family and a laughing stock. At first, an assignment to mentor a destitute girl from District 12 seems like the ultimate demotion for Coriolanus, but working with the strangely charismatic Lucy Gray presents him with an opportunity to reclaim his family’s ruling status—if he can navigate the web of old alliances, new money, and shifting loyalties. We were floored by Suzanne Collins’ captivating prequel, which proves that even the most nefarious villain is still the hero of their own story—and isn’t 100 percent terrible. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is just as exhilarating as the other books in the Hunger Games series.
Collins continues her unflinching exploration of power and morality in this prequel set 64 years prior to the events of the Hunger Games trilogy. In a challenging move that considers the journey from complicity to what lies beyond, the story centers on Coriolanus Snow, archvillain of the Katniss Everdeen era. Obsessed with restoring his family's grandeur and securing a rosy future for himself, the 18-year-old Academy student is selected to mentor a competitor in Panem's 10th Hunger Games. Though Snow feels slighted by his assignation, a tribute from lowly District 12, his mentee, songstress Lucy Gray Baird, shows an audacity and showbiz flair that captures the country's attention. Over the course of the Games a relatively low-tech affair set in the war-scarred Capitol's crumbling arena the two begin a close partnership. While Snow experiences moments of doubt about his participation, his ambition draws the attention of the sinister Head Gamemaker, Dr. Volumnia Gaul. Providing a counterpoint to Snow is classmate Sejanus Plinth, wealthy and compassionate, who must mentor a tribute from a district he still views as home. A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing make this story's complex issues vulnerability and abuse, personal responsibility, and institutionalized power dynamics vivid and personal. Ages 12 up.
A really good recounting of Snow’s backstory and the foundation of the Hunger Games. If you enjoyed the trilogy, you’ll love this introduction to their antagonist’s mind and motivations.
Not what I Expected
Interesting idea but the plot was too long and things seemed to fit weirdly together.
I thought this prequel was even better than the first books. It took us into the heart and soul of the future leader when he was still a malleable teen and young man. It showed us how, despite his wrong-headed prejudices and egotism, to sympathize with him, and care about him. And it ultimately showed us how his heart, teetering between right and wrong, was turned forever to the evil path he was destined to take.