BOOK REVIEW: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

“I think there’s a natural goodness built into human beings. You know when you’ve stepped across the line into evil, and it’s your life’s challenge to try and stay on the right side of that line.”

Can I just say that it is hard reading a Hunger Games book in the midst of a global pandemic? I mean, so many of the plot points that have been popularized by prior Hunger Games novels are actually taking place now; so what was once fictional fodder is now all. too. real. But I digress…

I was never a diehard Hunger Games fan. While I read all of the books, I never warmed up to Peeta, or Gale, or even Katniss. TBH, Cinna was the only person I truly cared about – and, perhaps, the Avoxes. So why I was so excited for this release is beyond my comprehension. That said, what. a. letdown.

The best way to describe The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is lost. Confused. Useless. Ridiculous. An entire book about President Snow. This had promise. Collins really had the chance to paint the teenage version of this tyrannical monster in a way that made you empathize with him; but she didn’t. She just made you loathe him more with his arrogance, conceit, and preoccupation with himself. Seriously, his level of narcissism is out of this world. Like how?!

We meet Coriolanus Snow as an 18-year-old overachiever. Poverty-stricken due to the war {but keeping it on the dl from his pampered peers}; Coriolanus is eager to improve his social standing and score a full-ride to University {and, as we all know, President-ship} through hard work {or conniving behavior masked as hard work}, and above-average intelligence. His shot? The 10th Annual Hunger Games.

Coriolanus will serve as mentor to District 12’s very own Lucy Gray as she competes for victor of the Games – an opportunity that would allow Snow to land on top. But as he and Lucy Gray each strive for their own victories {which slowly become intertwined}, the two find themselves embroiled in a budding {gag-worthy} romance that slowly morphs into a vessel for Snow’s personal gain.

I respect Suzanne Collins as a writer; but, if I’m being honest, this book was beyond boring. It legit took forever to finish; and there was nothing enjoyable about the process. TBH I finally skimmed the last 250 pages; and only found a bit of intrigue in the last 40 or so.

As a character, Coriolanus is exhausting as he thinks only of himself, and truly believes that he’s better than everyone else. That said, the character of Lucy Gray was just as bad. Boring, underhanded, full of herself, and borderline sneaky, I could never figure out if she was pulling the wool over Coriolanus’ eyes, or if that was just her. Regardless, I never warmed to her. Their relationship was stilted and strange and felt out of place from the getgo.

I actually liked the character of Tigris; but since she was really only trotted onto the pages to bail the blithering dolt otherwise known as Coriolanus out of trouble, I can’t give her too much credit. Overall, as a whole, I was disenchanted by it all, and will strongly hesitate before treading into the world of The Hunger Games again. Womp womp.

Star Rating: ***



R's Rue said...

Sorry it was a flop

ellie said...

You have to have really loved these characters to enjoy this book. Like a fanfiction for all the Hunger Game fans. Even so, it was definitely a very had read. Two people I have talked to about this book were very forgiving. So it's great to hear the honest truth...=)

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