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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Cover of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games Series, Book 0
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Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price.It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old...
Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price.It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old...
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  • Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price.

    It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 25, 2020
    Collins continues her unflinching exploration of power and morality in this prequel set 64 years prior to the events of the Hunger Games trilogy. In a challenging move that considers the journey from complicity to what lies beyond, the story centers on Coriolanus Snow, archvillain of the Katniss Everdeen era. Obsessed with restoring his family's grandeur and securing a rosy future for himself, the 18-year-old Academy student is selected to mentor a competitor in Panem's 10th Hunger Games. Though Snow feels slighted by his assignation, a tribute from lowly District 12, his mentee, songstress Lucy Gray Baird, shows an audacity and showbiz flair that captures the country's attention. Over the course of the Games—a relatively low-tech affair set in the war-scarred Capitol's crumbling arena—the two begin a close partnership. While Snow experiences moments of doubt about his participation, his ambition draws the attention of the sinister Head Gamemaker, Dr. Volumnia Gaul. Providing a counterpoint to Snow is classmate Sejanus Plinth, wealthy and compassionate, who must mentor a tribute from a district he still views as home. A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing make this story's complex issues—vulnerability and abuse, personal responsibility, and institutionalized power dynamics—vivid and personal. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio.

  • School Library Journal

    May 22, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Coriolanus Snow still lives in his once-great family's Capitol penthouse, but now he repurposes old shirts and eats boiled cabbage to quell his hunger pangs. He keeps up appearances among his fellow students and the faculty at the prestigious Academy, and remembers the war that ravaged the country, including the Capitol, 10 years earlier. During the reaping for the 10th Hunger Games, he's selected to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, a talented singer from District 12, and their success will determine whether he receives a much-needed scholarship to the University. This prequel takes place 64 years before The Hunger Games and follows the boy who will become cruel President Snow. Like the first book, this novel provides thrilling action and chilling gore, but the pace lags at times with school minutiae. The romance between Coriolanus and Lucy Gray feels forced, and much of the narrative functions mainly as world-building for the original trilogy. Fans will appreciate revisiting the world of Panem, and teens may relate to Coriolanus beginning to grapple with big ideas like human nature and whether people on opposite sides of a war are fundamentally different. Sejanus, a new money classmate from the districts, provides balance as he recognizes the Games as monstrous from the start. VERDICT An entertaining, if uneven, volume. Recommended for fans of the blockbuster series.-Katy Hershberger, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 15, 2020
    An origin story for both President Snow and the Hunger Games as we know them. Coriolanus Snow has the right family name, a prestigious address, talent, and charisma--but unless he wins a prize to pay for university, it's all for nothing, as his family's wealth came from the now obliterated District 13. He must succeed in his final project of being a mentor in the Hunger Games, but his District 12 girl tribute assignment at first feels damning. However, Lucy Gray Baird is vibrant and wild, a singer and performer with star power; she's perfect for Coriolanus, who has been tasked with boosting the grim, lackluster games that, early in the shift from mock war to sporting spectacle, are even more brutal and unpredictable. Coriolanus is pulled between Mengelian Dr. Gaul's twisted mentorship and connections with sympathetic foils Lucy Gray (which veers romantic) and compassionate classmate Sejanus. Conflicted Coriolanus thinks of himself as a good person in an impossible situation but also as exceptional--a belief with a high price. Collins humanizes him as superficially heroic and emotionally relatable while also using him for a vehicle for philosophical questions. Though readers know how he will eventually answer the questions explicitly asked of him, the central question is why, resulting in both a tense, character-driven piece and a cautionary tale. There is some mention of diversity in skin tone; Coriolanus and Lucy Gray seem to be white. The twists and heartbreaks captivate despite tragic inevitabilities. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games Series, Book 0
Suzanne Collins
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