Thursday, June 9, 2022

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0)

Suzanne Collins
Started reading: May 4th 2022
Finished the book: May 26th 2022
Pages: 541
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Published: May 19th 2020
Source: Bookbox
Goodreads score: 3.82
My score:
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

My thoughts
Thanks to Arjen for reading this book together with me! This book has been on my shelves for ages. I received it in a Bookbox and have been very curious about this book. The Hunger Games series has a very special place in my heart. Book one was the first book I've read in English and I remember binge reading the books in 3 days, during my internship in Chicago. Sadly, this #0 fell a bit flat for me, even though the story was entertaining.

  • The games: It was so much fun to visit The Games again. In this book we have an earlier, unpolished version of the Hunger Games arena and the start of many, many more Hunger Games to come. It was also fun to see the Hunger Games from the capitol point of view, whereas we view the Games from the district POV in the other books.
  • Corio: Corio is such a sweet, sweet character. I especially liked him combined with Lucy Gray. They are so different that it makes for pretty fun conversations between the two. 
  • Huge cast: The book gets a bit cluttered with the huge cast of characters. I couldn't picture them all and most of them don't have a big background story or didn't make a lasting impression. If they would re-appear later in the book, I found myself searching and thinking: "Who was this, again?"
  • Evil: The main problem I have with this book is that I have no clue where we get the purely, evil President Snow from the Hunger Games books. It feels like it doesn't fit Coriolanus, the way that we get to know him and read about him. Yes, he feels impulsive, yes, it feels like he would protect the people he cares about. But he doesn't feel like the coldhearted evil person we get to know in book 1,2 and 3. The ending felt just crammed in there and rushed and then it was like: Here he is, your evil President Snow. I didn't believe it.
I'm really curious how they are going to make a movie from this book! Hopefully I will believe that Coriolanus is evil by then, lol. What I did like a lot is that we learn the origin of the song The Hanging Tree, which was beautiful incorporated in the movies. Books 1-3 are still my favorite and I'm sure I'll re-read them one day, but probably not this one.

Thanks for reading!
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