Today I’m going to be doing a Buzzfeed-style post listing all of my thoughts from when I read A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. It will be a more casual style review, but it does contain spoilers so if you haven’t read it yet, I would not advise continuing on. If you aren’t aware, this is a prequel to The Hunger Games. It follows President Snow’s story as an 18 year old mentor to a District 12 tribute in the 10th Annual Games. It is set entirely from his perspective and details the beginning of his rise to power. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
ALL OF MY THOUGHTS:
PART 1: THE MENTOR
- This is definitely not a sympathetic back story. Snow is just as unlikable then as he was in the original books.
- The irony that Snow mentors a girl from District 12 only to have a girl from District 12 result in his ultimate undoing? Full circle!
- Can we take a moment to appreciate the differences between early Hunger Games protocol and present Hunger Games protocol? For example, mentors are only just introduced in the hopes of inspiring more viewership and interest. The present Hunger Games have mentors, sponsors, interviews and plenty of press. The tributes also compete in a very basic arena, whereas the present Hunger Games settings are different each time. Not only that, the tributes are treated terribly from start to finish (held captive in a zoo cage!) whereas in the more modern games, they at least get to stay in the Capitol and feast before their death. Yes I realise how that sentence sounds!
- I’ve mainly heard negative reviews about this book, but so far I’m really enjoying it. Lucy Baird is so intriguing and I’m excited to witness her and Snow’s dynamic.
- I’m sensing a potential romance between the two?
- Her songs are so beautiful. I can picture her singing them.
- I like this idea of the Covey – a nomadic tribe that don’t belong to any district.
- Does anybody else see two different birds on the cover?
- Is it just me or are these names downright ridiculous?
- Sejanus is all of us right now! Yes, finally someone is questioning why these awful Hunger Games are a thing! Crap, Sejanus is going to die isn’t he?
- I gasped when Arachne was killed, but at the same time I couldn’t blame the tribute for doing it. Is Arachne related to Seneca Crane?
- I had no idea Snow grew up so poor. Tigris is way too precious for the Capitol.
- I can see why the white roses are so significant to the Snow brand.
- I have to admit that part with the snakes was really clever, but also horrifying…
- What are these mutations Gaul is creating? I’m actually creeped out.
- Does anybody have a soul in this book? Everybody is so callous and unfeeling!
- The bombs!!! Whoever says this book is slow and boring must’ve missed this part! I can’t breathe…
- So at this point, a fair few of the tributes and mentors are being killed off before The Hunger Games even begins.
- Wherever Marcus went, he’ll be back…
- What an ending to Part 1! I actually believe Lucy has a chance of winning!
PART 2: THE PRIZE
- It’s time for The Hunger Games to begin.
- I loved the lyrics to Lucy’s song. They were so haunting and powerful.
- Ummm what right does Snow have to be jealous?
- I can appreciate that the role of commentator always belongs to a Flickerman.
- Lucy and Snow sharing a kiss doesn’t change the fact that he’s a slime ball.
- Ooh rat poison. Snow you diabolical…
- How many more times does Snow want to say Lucy ‘belongs to him?’ He’s incredibly possessive and obsessive.
- Well I was right…Marcus came back. Holy cow…
- I want to scream ‘Sejanus no!’ Get out of there! What are you doing? It’s noble but stupid.
- Did anyone else think about Peeta Mellark when they mentioned the breadcrumbs thing?
- Of course Snow has to enter the arena. This is not going to go well…
- As much as I hate Snow, he was right for not wanting to associate with Sejanus. It’s only gotten him into trouble.
- If Sejanus hadn’t asked Snow to get Marcus they could’ve avoided being attacked. Only after they’ve been attacked, Sejanus tells Snow to leave Marcus. Logic?!
- That was way too close a call!
- Let’s call a spade a spade. Snow just brutally murdered a tribute.
- It’s at this point I’m realising that the mentors are just as expendable as the tributes. Nobody is special or safe.
- Snow’s father has been mentioned a couple of times now. There are hints toward who he associated with and the type of person he was. I feel like we are heading towards a big reveal here.
- Gaul is one evil individual.
- Why doesn’t Clemensia feed Reaper?!
- I’m sad Lamina died. She was quite intelligent.
- Teslee is giving me Beetee vibes. Anyone else?
- As much as I want Lucy to win and I initially cheered on the rat poison idea, Snow is a cheater. He has now cheated several times to keep her alive. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s a douche.
- Yay Lucy won the games! She did the snake trick again!
- Well Snow, that’s kind of what you get for cheating…
PART 3: THE ‘PEACEKEEPER’
- “Do you hear that Coriolanus? It’s the sound of Snow falling.” Ooh burn!
- I have to say, there are worse fates Snow could’ve befallen. He was about to be kicked out of his home anyway due to the tax increase, plus he was always starving. As a Peacekeeper, he’s given food and shelter. Take what you can get!
- Sejanus is a Peacekeeper now! He’s way too good for Snow. Has been since the beginning.
- Lucy is going to be singing in District 12? How convenient!
- Snow immediately takes a dislike to the mockingjays. Damn, no wonder he hates Katniss so much later on!
- So he wants to wipe out an entire species of bird? Great guy!
- I haven’t read the original books for some time but I don’t remember if they explained how the mockingjays were created. I found that part really interesting.
- Everything Snow does is self-serving. If it doesn’t benefit him in some way, he won’t do it.
- ‘The Hanging Tree!’ Is this where the song originated?
- Yes! I love that we can picture the song being sung thanks to the film.
- Snow isn’t able to understand people like Sejanus. He has no empathy or compassion. Even Lucy is an object that he believes belongs to him.
- Is Barb talking about District 13 when she said ‘up where the Capitol didn’t care about?’
- That letter to Dr. Gaul was pure suck-up.
- What is Sejanus up to with all that coin? He’s planning something.
- Seriously what is Snow’s issue with the birds? He just said they should kill them all.
- This is how I know he doesn’t truly love Lucy, because the minute she has a different opinion to him, he becomes enraged.
- They found a plant called katniss? Nice touch!
- Okay I didn’t make the colour/ballad name connection until now…
- Snow is such a control freak. He cannot stand the idea that a species of bird is roaming freely without Capitol consent. Snow is pure Capitol. As much as he thinks it would be nice being a part of the Covey, he does not belong with them at all.
- So ‘The Hanging Tree’ is about Billy Taupe and he wants to go north to find the people of District 13? Sejanus is going to help him free Lil and escape up there with them I assume?
- Oh, so that’s what the money is for. Sejanus is paying for the supplies. If that isn’t a ‘rebel’ act I don’t know what is.
- Snow hates music? He is with the wrong girl then! What kind of person hates music?
- Holy smokes he’s recording Sejanus’s plot with the jabberjays!
- Once again, Snow brutally murders somebody without really needing to – no matter what he tells himself…
- I knew Sejanus was going to die 🙁 I called it in the first part of this book. This is all because of Snow.
- As soon as I read that Snow passed his test, I knew he wouldn’t pick Lucy. Love does not further his climb to power.
- How quickly ‘love’ turns to ‘murder’ for Snow. I don’t think Lucy is dead but boy that scene was thrilling. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
- So Dr. Gaul made him a Peacekeeper purely to educate him on life in the districts? She’s literally molding a monster, although she doesn’t have to do much. She wanted him to agree that the games were necessary and now he does.
- I’m infuriated that Snow gets to inherit Sejanus’s fortune when he is the reason his so called ‘best friend’ is dead in the first place.
- Like father, like son, Snow lands on top…
OVERALL STAR RATING + THOUGHTS
I gave this book a whopping 5/5 stars. I was hooked from the very beginning to end. I know the majority of readers feel this book was unnecessary and boring but I don’t agree. There was nothing slow about this story, nor did I think it dragged. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, it gives you so much backstory. Not once did Suzanne Collins try to get us to sympathise with Snow. She painted him as a cold, unfeeling bastard from the opening line. There were so many gripping, action-packed moments and cleverly written chapters. I just loved it. It really impressed me.
I hope you enjoyed this different style review. Have you read this book? What did you think? If you want me to do more posts like this, let me know. Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo