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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is maybe more like 2.75 stars for me. The more I think about it, the more I want to lower my rating. While I clearly don’t love it, I also don’t completely hate it. I thought the plot was too convoluted, and the development of the side characters was weak, which surprised me considering how much I love some of the side characters in the other books.

It takes a look at Hunger Games from the past, which is interesting. However, since I wasn’t particularly invested in the majority of the tributes, the games themselves were not that captivating. They just didn’t have the level of intensity, drama, suspense, and anxiety that you experience in the original trilogy.

It takes a deep dive on Coriolanus Snow, which is intriguing, but this just doesn’t have the emotional resonance I craved. I’m not sure if that’s because it is written from a villain’s perspective, or if it’s just the writing in general.

There were a few moments when I just wished they would hurry up and wrap up the book, and we were not particularly near the end of the book. That suggests a serious pacing issue, though, granted, there are some captivating scenes here and there. Unfortunately, it went on almost 150 pages longer than it felt like it needed to, and it didn’t find any real clarity until the end, which was pretty depressing and pointless, overall.

I definitely don’t regret having read this book, but I am unlikely to ever reread it, which is something I have done many times with the original trilogy. While I was very excited to have more of this world, I’m not sure this book filled that spot in my heart that has been craving more of the intensity and emotional authenticity of the first trilogy.

To be honest, I’m not sure I liked any of the characters, other than one side character who perpetually got gloomy scenes. I think when you choose to write about a character who everybody already knows is unredeemable, it’s a hard starting point. I wish this had been about past victors instead, and Snow had been a minor side character.

If the point of this was to humanize Snow, or show how he changed, I think it unequivocally failed at that. He just is who we already knew he was—a really shitty narcissist with psychopath tendencies.

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