Book Reviews, YA book reviews

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Five Stars

RELEASE DATE:  19 May 2020

Format: Paperback & Hardcover

Pages: 540

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Source:  Paperback Scholastic Australia, Hardcover Book Depository Bookstars





It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, 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.




Thank you so much to Scholastic Australia for sending me a paperback copy of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and to Book Depository for sending me a hardcover copy via the Bookstars program, in exchange for an honest review!


Coriolanus Snow has been chosen as one of the mentors for the tributes going in to the tenth annual Hunger Games.  Desperate to win, to secure a spot at university, he’s sure his chances have been dashed when he’s allocated the girl tribute from District 12.  But Lucy Gray seems to be different to the rest, and after his idea of allowing viewers to send food and drink to the tributes in the arena is approved, her popularity could count for something.

There is nothing better than a villain origin story for me.  I absolutely love them!  Discovering how their circumstances and personality progressed to lead them to the person they became is so fascinating and Snow’s journey did not disappoint.  I also loved finding out how some of the other pertinent parts of the Hunger Games came to be.  From the Hanging Tree song, to the origins of the mockingjay, it felt like The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes rounded so many things out.

I was a little afraid in the first part of the book that, in essence, this was going to be just another repeat of The Hunger Games story and it did have that feel, but there was so much more to it by the end.  I’ve seen people say it wasn’t enough like the original Hunger Games books but it felt exactly like stepping back into that world to me.

I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the Peter / Gale love triangle situation in The Hunger Games, and I didn’t particularly like either of them as characters.  However, I loved all of the characters in this book.  From Lucy Gray to Sejanus and the Covey people.  Even the people I hated, it was with a “oooh what a horrible villain!” passion, not an “I don’t care about these characters” apathy.

Due to more of the book being seen from Snow’s point of view, we are privy to more of the political side of the games.  I thought that would affect the action I loved from the original series, but the author managed to weave them together seamlessly.

I think this will be a book people will either love or hate to be honest, but I’m definitely in the love camp!


Image from my Instagram account

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