The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

You may have noticed advertisements for the new Hunger Games movie and wondered when, why, and how is there another movie in the beloved Hunger Games series? Suzanne Collins released The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakesa prequel to The Hunger Games series we all know and love, quietly in May of 2020. That’s right. Collins’ book released in the early days of the pandemic and most people didn’t even notice, including yours truly, a number 1 Hunger Games fan. Embarrassingly, I didn’t pick up the book until 2022 and that was only after hearing buzz that a movie was in the works.

So, what is this book about? This story is about Coriolanus Snow, known better as President Snow, as he embarks on his final year at a prestigious academy in the Capital. Snow is at the top of his class and destined for great things, but he has a secret. Though once one of the wealthiest and well-respected families in Panem, the war with the districts, which ended ten years previously, has taken everything from them, including both of Snow’s parents. He lives with his grandmother and cousin Tigris in near poverty, barely able to maintain their apartment which is the last remnant of their previous life. As the 10th Hunger Games approaches and Coriolanus is named mentor in the games, he must secure a win to ensure his future in the Capital.

Enter Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. The original Hunger Games series alluded to District 12’s first Hunger Games winner but they are never named. In fact, all records of the 10th Annual Hunger Games were removed. As you may have deduced, Lucy Gray is assigned Snow for a mentor and the two must work together if Lucy is to survive and Snow is to once again be on top. What follows will become one of the Capital’s and Snow’s biggest secrets.

The story unfolds much the same way as the original Hunger Games, but with a much different arena, plenty of unexpected twists, and the last third of the book is like nothing we have seen from Collins before. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, I highly recommend reading the book and watching the movie, which premieres November 17, 2023, or you can wait until it comes out on DVD and check it out from the library! Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage star in the movie along with Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow.

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