The ballad of songbirds and snakes - SUZANNE COLLINS

The ballad of songbirds and snakes - SUZANNE COLLINS

Ten years after the publication of the last Hunger Games novel, Suzanne Collins makes a come-back with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to the popular young adult trilogy set in a dystopian future.

After the success of the original novels and films, expectations for Collins’s new book were high and in my opinion, she lived up to them. The prequel, which is set 64 years before the first Hunger Games novel, follows the character of Corialanus Snow, an 18-year-old Academy student who has been chosen to mentor District Twelve tribute Lucy Gray Baird during the Tenth Hunger Games, in which two tributes from each district fight until only one remains. Although she comes from the poorest district, Lucy immediately makes an impression in the Capitol and Snow is determined to lead her to victory.

What follows is a story about love and loyalty, in which Snow must choose between allegiance to his country, his tribute and his own interest, as he keeps reminding himself: Snow lands on top. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes dives deeper into the past of President Snow, his desire for power and influence, and how he came to be the villain of the franchise. Those who were expecting a novel similar to the original books may be disappointed as this novel is quite different to the other books in this series.

Like the trilogy, the novel is fast-paced and filled with action, with some violent and gruesome scenes, however some of the action makes place for a more philosophical text.
Themes of cannibalism, human experiments and torture make for a dark storyline far more sophisticated than the original series.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is not your typical villain’s story attempting to raise the reader’s sympathy for the villain by justifying their actions and intentions. While you will find yourself getting attached to him, the book will leave you hating the character just as much as you did after reading the trilogy. Collins does not hesitate to underline the irony of the villain present in this novel, foreshadowing the person Snow becomes in the sequels.

While those who haven’t read the trilogy might struggle to relate with the story, fans of the original trilogy will appreciate the numerous references to the original book series. Collins stays true to her writing style with this fast-paced novel, making for an easy read. Its 517 pages make the novel quite long, but I found myself flying through the pages.

Like its predecessors, this novel is filled with action, romance, friendship and betrayal, resulting in a thought-provoking text on humanity (and inhumanity). With its questions on ethics and morality it provides a more adult take on Panem and The Hunger Games.
The book may not stand on its own, but fans of the original series will thoroughly enjoy it and one thing is certain: Collins knows how to make a villain.
Snow lands on top, but so does Suzanne Collins.

Author: Suzanne Collins
Title: The ballad of songbirds and snakes
Éditeur: Scholastics press
Date de publication: May 2021

Noemie Fouarge
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