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Monday, September 14, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes...#BookReview

About the book:
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.

It's no secret that I adored the Hunger Games series. Dystopian YA is not a normal genre for me, but this series is awesome and this prequel? A fantastic villain origin story. 

Coriolanus Snow is an ambitious 18-year-old student whose wealthy family barely survived the war. He is all about image and pretense, which often vie against his normal, human feelings. His parents are dead and he lives in a rundown apartment with his grandmother and cousin Tigris. 

But, the 10th Hunger Games is to be the first one with mentors and Coriolanus has been chosen to mentor the female tribute from District 12. While at first humiliated at not being given a more highly rated district, he quickly realizes that Lucy Gray is someone who could win and it's up to him to figure out how to help her do that. Along the way, Coriolanus learns about love and the dangers it can bring. 

As he works his way through the Games, he also discovers who wields the power in the Capitol, who controls the games and what he needs to do to rise up above the masses. 

The student mentors also have a say in how the games are run, and in a somewhat twisted sort of way, their professor gives assignments and in Coriolanus' essays, we see how future Games come about and evolve. As the mentors talk about the games and what is happening, we also see how they are not all unfeeling or unkind. They view their tributes as people and they can see how unfair the Games really are. At the same time we see that those in the Capitol are only concerned about their well being and that their losses are because of the rebels. 

The Hunger Games series is vibrant and colorful in its imagery. This book, however, was almost more black and gray in its imagery, what with the rubble of the arena and the Capitol still trying to rebuild from the war. That made the contrast of Lucy Gray's colorful skirt and the snakes all the more striking.

As with the rest of the series, we see the government oppression, we see the results of war and rebellion. We see society broken, but fighting and we see that even with survival, life isn't grand and colorful. But we also see that the human spirit is strong. 

No one likes who President Snow becomes and I think writing about his story so that he gains the reader's sympathy is brilliant. The story isn't fast-paced, but it drew me in and kept me enthralled.

I purchased my own copy.

Read 9/20

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

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