The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
By: Suzanne Collins
So I wasn’t necessarily bummed this book was about Snow when the news dropped but I did have a moment of hm, 500 plus pages about Snow… this could be a chore.
But surprisingly it wasn’t! I flew through this and it’s one of my favorite reads of the year. I’ve heard some people admit they were disappointed it wasn’t about _______ (insert fav) but when it comes down to it I think this was the perfect choice.
A World and Character Who Could Have Gone Either Way
Because joining a young still traumatized from the war Snow and the Capital at the 10th annual Hunger Games was joining a society that really still could have gone either way. The Games weren’t that popular at the capital we see the ramp up to get people to watch them.
We see other students question their purpose.
And at the same time we see them take shape as the games Katniss fought in. Snow himself is a selfish, frightened character who longs for control and fears his family losing their position as well as any kind of descent into the chaos of the war years. We see the monster begin to form as the book goes on but good on Collin’s because the unsettling thing is he’s a very, very human monster.
We also see some indoctrination by adults, especially the one teacher, master of the games with ulterior motives naturally. I mean amongst other things she’s the type of teacher who assigns a paper write what you loved about the war a which in part leads Snow into his greatest belief… without control there’s only chaos.
This is the girl from District 12 that young Snow gets assigned to mentor and I loved the character. I found her way more lively than Katniss even if we only see her through Snow’s eyes. I liked the showmanship nature of her character and excellent use of music and songs.
I felt like there was an edge to her that was appreciated and I did love the moment where she introduced young Snow to the phrase, “It’s not over until the mockingjay sings.”
The relationship was well done. Because it really wasn’t one. Through Snow’s eyes we are never quite sure that she isn’t using him and while he comes to care about her the way he does leads us into yet another way Snow’s manner of thinking is warped. He’s jealous and possessive and the end is a frightening creepy set piece that will be so cinematic.
The Final 3rd
I was warned that this was a bit of a shock (the games themselves don’t take up all of the book at all) and that it’s a slow change of pace that turned a lot of people off but again I really loved it.
It was great character work for Snow and I think again there was some great scenes in here without getting into too many spoilers watching him really make his final choices that’s going to look really great on film (which of course has already been optioned.) It’s also interesting to see that particular area get some time in the spotlight as we don’t see all that much of the place or the people he’s spending time with otherwise.
Oh Sejanus! You were just too good for this world. What happened there was bad enough and the execution scene was brutal…but Snow basically conning his parents out of his inheritance on top of it that was cold blooded.
I don’t think Snow turned too fast at the end in the least. He spent all week terrified the murder weapon was going to show up that’s pretty much the only reason he left with Lucy and when he had the weapons and knew he was safe??? Well it was just a matter of time. I absolutely think Lucy put together the Sejanus 3 people thing first and knew she needed to bolt.
I would very much read a follow-up about her fate though I did actually like that Collins didn’t spoil it. We just know Snow didn’t get her. She’s out there somewhere. I’ve seen some people say she may be Katniss grandmother but eh, I think if that’s anyone it’s the kid.
And while this isn’t a book spoiler I saw a ton of people saying they wanted a Haymitch prequel. That would be my character choice but no prequel set it after Mockingjay so we get Woody back in the film!