The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Hi Everyone!  It’s Becky.  There has been a lot of buzz around the release of Suzanne Collins new book The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and I knew I had to read.  Unfortunately, it did not live up to other books by this author.

51901147._SX318_SY475_Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Note: I listened to the audiobook.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Coriolanus Snow dreams of rebuilding the fading Snow empire.  His family was once one of the greatest in Panem but because of bad investments and the war the Snows are almost destitute.  When Coriolanus  gets the opportunity to be one of the first mentors in the Hunger Games he dives in with the hope that a success will save his family.  However, when he gets assigned to mentor the beautiful and mysterious tribute from District Twelve, Lucy Gray, Coriolanus may find new reasons for life and risk everything he holds deal.

Review: Have you ever read a book and asked yourself “Why was that written?” or “Why was that publishes?”? That was my response to The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to read this book. When the latest installment in Collins’ uber-popular The Hunger Games series was announced I was very ambivalent because, honestly, I thought Mockingjay was more than a little disappointing however I am a Teen Services Librarian and it felt like a professional obligation to read this…so I did…and I wish that I had not. Collins tries to make the reader connect with he-who-will-someday-be-President-Snow but there isn’t anything there to connect with. He is a little sniveling and a little underhanded but he also just kind of stumbles from one situation to the next. He is not the brilliant evil mastermind that readers expect who would have been an amazing anti-hero instead he is an average teen boy who was more than a little annoying. He, of course, forms a connection with Lucy Gray who he is mentoring through the tenth annual Hunger Games. Is there a deep love there? We’re told that there is but there is no evidence of it on the page. They interact a few times and she is just about the most special snowflake ever but we never see them in love. It felt manipulative except the storyline isn’t well executed so it wasn’t even that. Also, for a book that is trying to snare readers by using the legacy of the Hunger Games, it does a poor job of depicting the 10th games. The action takes place almost completely off the page. The reader experiences the games as an observer instead of through Katniss’s eyes and the games this way are kind of boring. Plus, this book is long (540 pages) but it feels longer with the book’s structure and pacing making it very difficult to finish. I am sure there are fans of this book who saw something amazing here but I am not one of them.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5

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