Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

“Maybe sometimes people did not actually change. Maybe you just never knew who they really were.”


When I first read The Hunger Games, I was fascinated with the dystopian trilogy. Katniss and Peeta were my favorite characters, and their strength and resilience throughout the series have been the highlight of the well-written books. Suzanne Collins is an American television writer and author. She has also written The New York Times best-selling series The Underland Chronicles. The book cover is beautiful. The colors used on the cover are gorgeous, and the combination is perfect. I loved the book cover.

The book talks about oppression, starvation, poverty, war, and economic inequality. The major premise of the book is that humans in dire situations are driven by their animal instincts. Collins keeps hammering this in the reader’s head through her character Dr. Gaul- the Head Gamemaker. Her personality is disturbing, and she reminds me of Kaa from the Jungle Book. I envision a snake every time she is brought up in the story. She evokes the image of a slithering snake searching for her next victim.

The book’s primary characters are Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird. The book is President Snow’s origin story. He is assigned as a mentor to Lucy, who is the tribute from District 12. Snow is born in a family that has seen better days but are now struggling to make ends meet. Snow is obsessed with bringing back the good old days and is fixated on social status. His character is shallow, with a complete disregard for fellow human beings. The author has tried to depict Snow as a grey character; however, it is implausible to garner any sympathy or compassion for him. All of his actions, good or bad, seem driven by ulterior motives. He was selfish in The Hunger Games, and he comes across as selfish here as well.

Lucy Gray Baird, on the other hand, is a smart, intelligent, and practical girl. She knows when to cut her losses and is level-headed. Her character has sentiments and feels strongly, but that does not prevent her from remaining calm and composed in difficult situations.

The characters- Snow and Lucy separately make sense; however, once brought together, they confuse me, and their feelings for each other confuse me. The chemistry between them is unnatural and forced. It is more of a means to meet an end rather than love.

The story’s pace is off. It is meandering in the beginning and explosive at the end. The book’s one saving grace is the climax. It is twisted, surprising, and the last few pages will have you hooked to the book. A villain origin story is usually written with the intent of creating compassion for the character, and making the reader understand their journey. I have abysmally failed at understanding Coriolanus Snow by the end of this book. He seems to have deserved his fate all along.

Unfortunately, it is not one of Collin’s masterpieces. I would give it 3.5/5 stars. Highly recommended if you are a fan of Hunger Games, but only because I believe one should complete a series. If this is your first time reading a Hunger Games book, please do not start with this one. Similar to the Star Wars movie universe, the prequel is thoroughly disappointing.

If you want to purchase the book, here is the link:

Published by ReviewThickAndThin

Born as a book lover, my blog is completely dedicated to writing book reviews. I commonly review fiction books including thrillers, historical fiction and fantasy. However you may find me reviewing non-fiction as well. I strongly believe- "Never judge a book by it's cover." To follow me on Instagram: @review_thick_and_thin

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