Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (#0) by Suzanne Collins

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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.

I honestly don’t really know why I picked this one up. I enjoyed The Hunger Games years ago when I read it, but I wasn’t interested in Snow’s story enough to want to read this, until the Waterstones edition was announced. And I don’t know what came over me in that moment, but I ended up with a copy of this book. I finally decided to pick it up mainly because the audiobook was available to me on Scrib’d, and I’m so glad I read the vast majority of this on audio. I honestly think this would have felt like an absolute slog if I’d have read the physical version, as it is quite chunky!

I have to say, this book did end up being more entertaining than I expected, and I did find it interesting to follow the evil decline of Coriolanus Snow. This did feel a little jarring, however, as I felt the book started with him being likable and it’s almost as if Suzanne Collins suddenly remembered he had to be evil and changed her tune. I imagine it must have been difficult to write such an unlikable character, and it showed in places.

That is the thing with giving your heart. 

If you know me and my reading tastes, you will know that I often struggle to enjoy books when I dislike the main character. And it will come as no surprise that I did not like Coriolanus. While his story is fascinating and I enjoyed the links to The Hunger Games, I could not sympathise with him in the least. I also really disliked the ending of this book, which not only felt very rushed but I just wish could have gone a different way.

Although I did find the plot entertaining enough, it was also a lot slower than I expected and lacked any sense of urgency and because of it, any real weight. It had the feeling of ‘then this happened, then this happened’ for me. Everything just felt very passive, including the decisions made by the main character himself.

You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it. 

Although this didn’t hit the spot for me, it may come as a surprise to hear I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to going in. A lot of the book just fell flat and felt very ‘meh’ to me, but there was enough interesting backstory on The Hunger Games and how the games were set up to keep me interested. I enjoyed reading about some of the characters and as mentioned, I did find most of the plot quite entertaining. Overall, a very mediocre read and definitely not a must-read for me.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (#0) by Suzanne Collins

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was tempted to pick this one up, but then I realised I’d only really be buying it because of the hype around it, rather than because I want to read it. I think I’ll give it a miss, but I’m glad you enjoyed bits of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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