Review of: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2020)
I think what many were hoping for was another edge-of-your-seat story about a familiar character, but of course, done as a prequel. That's what I assumed I was going to read (well, listen to - I borrowed the audio from our local library).
But what Collins has done with TBoSaS, I think, is to take the big motifs or ideas of the trilogy (nature of man, good v evil, nature v nurture, eternal Leviathan struggle, etc), and distill them into the inner story of Coriolanus Snow. Yep, the main bad guy of the trilogy. This is his origin story. And - spoiler, not really - it's a tragedy in the making. It's a sad tale well told. Not everyone's favorite kind of story.
From a literary discussion standpoint, however, this is a wonderful modern novel for mature high schoolers to wrestle with. That is, if the instructor/facilitator is up for it and allows students to take the discussion where it naturally leads - to spiritual, moral, and truly liberal (freedom embracing) values. Otherwise, it'll be an exercise in futility without any resolution. Because there is resolution. "Snow lands on top." Or it doesn't. One must choose.
(Note: I listened to the audio version last year and posted this review on Goodreads. Follow me there for more reviews.)