Thursday, August 11, 2022

Review of Hunger Games Prequel

Review of: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2020)

If you're a casual Hunger Games fan, you'll probably not like this novel. If you enjoy 'scrappy underdog defeats big bad totalitarian' stories, you're going to be disappointed here. If you dislike Byronic heroes, you'll probably just end up hating this book. 

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.)


  1. Thank you for your honest review, Lyn. I will skip this one.

    1. You bet. Yeah, a very post-modern novel, but one with a moral, I think, if the discussion is handled correctly.

  2. My kids enjoyed this. My oldest loved it. I'll eventually read it before the movie release. :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by. I probably won't see the movie, I just am not a movie-adaptation type of person. The book and movie are different things and I usually prefer the novel, lol.


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