I remember discussing The Hunger Games series with some friends. One person commented that he didn’t like the books because the people of the Capitol seemed so over the top in their dress and habits. In my head, I was thinking – have you not seen photos from France before the revolution? Have you seen those insane dresses?
One reason I like The Hunger Games series, and in extension, this prequel, is that it presents crazy things where you think – there’s no way that could happen in today’s time. But then you consider it and it has happened in history and could easily happen again.
Take the most obvious example of The Hunger Games – pitting two children from 12 districts against each other in a fight til the end as a form of punishment and entertainment. Well, that’s pretty much what they did in the Colosseum in Rome.
Or take the overindulgence in the Capitol where parties consist of people overeating and drinking something in order to vomit so they can continue eating. Also happened in Roman times.
Or even take the concept of the Jabberjays, which were birds created in a lab for the purpose of recording conversations. We might not have birds now, but what about drones, phones, and watches with recording capabilities?
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow during his coming-of-age years. In The Hunger Games series, he is the leader of Panem, and a diabolical one at that. How did he get that way? What choices did he make along the way to become that leader? This book is the exploration of that question.
If you are a Hunger Games fan, you’ll enjoy the descriptions on how things came about, whether the rules for the Hunger Games or the history of the years preceding what comes later in the series.
I liked seeing how Snow made specific decisions that may have seemed small at the time but were leading him down a particular path. By doing the small deed the first time, it made it that much easier to do a little bit worse the next time. It’s a theme that comes up a lot in the books for this project. Daily habits and daily decisions may seem mundane but actually set an overall direction.
This book is broken up into three sections. The first two were action-packed. The third lagged at times, but did contain some surprises.