The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Review

A prequel to The Hunger Games, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place dozens of years earlier, when the Hunger Games were still fairly new. It follows the teenage son of Capital elites, reduced to near-poverty by the impact of the war. The book follows his involvement in the games, including relationships he forms with classmates and tributes. The games only take up the first part of the book, with the whole second half of the book covering his trials and tribulations following the games.

The novel fleshes out lots of interesting prehistory. It covers the origins of some traditions in the games, mockingjays, and gives more background on the war. The decay of a once-great city is more apparent given how recently the war ended. There are several twists, but they struck me as too abrupt and unbelievable given the nature of the characters we had seen until that point.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes gives new depth to the world of Panem. The characters are intriguing and varied. However, the emotional arc of the main character was too jarring for me, so I can only unconditionally recommend this for Hunger Games fans.


  • Recommend? Yes, especially for Hunger Games fans
  • Buy as a gift? No

Last modified on 14 Sep 2022 by AO

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