Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

How I Read It: Print/ Audibook

Dates Read: 8/15/20-8/27/20

How I Found It: Goodreads

Okay, so I was genuinely upset when I first started reading this book because I didn’t want to humanize such a monster as President Snow. But as I kept reading, it took all I could do to get through the whiny ramblings of the 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow. I personally don’t think that this book was as good as the trilogy and here’s why:

We flash back to the 10th annual Hunger Games. In an effort to make the Hunger Games more of a spectacle, the Capital is making a group of seniors as the mentors. Corialanus was chosen to be the mentor for District 12’s female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray was the most well-liked tribute for the year, mainly due to her ability to sing. This year is also the first year where Capitals can bet and send gifts to the tributes, two aspects of the Games that will continue for all Games to come. So Coriolanus does everything he can to get Lucy Gray in front of a spotlight in order for her to get a lot of sponsors.

Here’s the thing about Coriolanus, his family is broke. While he had standing before the war, most of their money was in District 13, which means that he is now the only male heir and the only person who can try and salvage his life into something worthy in the Capital. The mentor to the winner of the Games gets a scholarship to University, so Coriolanus is pushing for Lucy Gray to win. And at some point he claims to “fall in love” or whatever dumb bs he says, but really he is just a horny 18-year-old who has power over this girl and therefore thinks that since she is dependent on him to succeed, he has ownership of her (can you tell I don’t like him?).

While all this is going on, Coriolanus is in a special class where he gets to work alongside the Head Gamemaker (sorta). He spent a lot of time with her, learning about the Games and making suggestions along the way, and this puts him in a position where he knows too much about how the Games work, thereby giving him the power to cheat. Oh, there is a guy, Sejanus, who grew up in the Districts, but became the heir to an ammunitions dynasty after the war. He thinks the Games are stupid, especially when one of his childhood friends is reaped as a tribute. And Coriolanus ends up having to clean up Sejanus’ messes, including when he sneaks into the Games, Coriolanus finds himself dealing with a lot more than he could bargain for.

In comparison to the series, I think that this book is the worst one. I personally don’t think that we needed another Hunger Games novel, and the prequel didn’t do much for the series as a whole. And while I am being really negative, I also think that the writing for this book was incredible. I understand why she wrote this book, but I personally was not a huge fan. I would, however, love a history of the Games book, where she described each of the Games as the victor for each, I think that would be really cool. But she made Coriolanus so unlikable in the trilogy that I couldn’t even try to get into this book.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 8/8/20-8/16/20

How I Found It: Word of Mouth

An oldie but a goodie, I recently picked up The Hunger Games trilogy because a prequel named The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (expect a review later this month) came out in May of this year. After finally getting my butt in gear and writing reviews again, I felt like now was the time to write my thoughts on the series, so here I am. Side note: it’s been a hot minute since I have picked up a book are read it in one day, but man, have I missed it.

The Hunger Games

In a future United States, called Panem, the Capital declares a Hunger Games, where 2 tributes from each of the 12 districts are forced to compete for the death with one victor remaining in reminder of the former rebellion made by the districts. These tributes are chosen from all the children aged 12 to 18 using a lottery-type of method. Our focus is on the tributes from District 12, where Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her younger sister, Prim. Forced to go compete in the games, Katniss proves to be a challenging and cunning competitor, which leads many to wonder if her relationship with fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark is just an act or if they have feelings that surpass the Games. Fighting for their lives against all the other Tributes, only person can make it out. Who is it going to be? But more importantly, what is the cost?

Catching Fire

Following the end of the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have to come to terms with their victory. Forced to go through a Victory Tour, the victors must keep up their romantic façade in an effort to curtail the growing rebellion within the districts. President Snow (leader of Panem) announces the Quarter Quell, which marks every 25 years after the rebellion, where the twist for the Games this year is that the tributes would be selected from the living victors. Forced back into their nightmares, Katniss and Peeta must compete for their lives again, but they know this time that they can’t get away with having 2 victors again. With both of them making deals to save the other’s life, they must do everything they can to keep each other alive.

Mockingjay

After being rescued and healed in District 13, Katniss has to come to terms with the new reality in front of her. District 12 has been destroyed, Peeta is a Capital prisoner, and Katniss is the face of the revolution as the Mockingjay. I’m kinda at a loss as to what more to say, but essentially we spend the book watching as Katniss has survivor guilt, the rebellion continues to barrel through, and we sit helpless as we watch how people in this position make decisions that would affect Panem history forever.

What I remember from my experience of reading this trilogy the first time (which has almost been a decade at this point), I devoured the first two books and spent a lot longer reading the last book. I didn’t have the same issue this time, but I also had a ongoing reminder of the movies, which may have affected my speed.

I really enjoyed the series as a whole, and it is one of the first series that I truly got into the fandom of. I even made my dad take me to the movies so I could see Mockingjay Part I, which if you know my father, was a big deal. I also had a year of crippling anxiety, and the movies from this series really helped ground me.

I feel like I am probably too emotionally invested to be able to give an objective review, but I would probably give this series 4.75 out of 5 stars. I wouldn’t say that universally these books would be well accepted, but I think that there is a huge nostalgic factor, a large fandom, and the ability to make an enterprise out of them, which makes them ranked very high. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!