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books and reading

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

This ridiculously long title actually makes sense once you’ve read the book. Let’s just get that out of the way. Like most people I know, I read and loved The Hunger Games. I vividly remember getting the last one in the mail and devouring it in two days, even though I had to work both of those days. When I heard a prequel was coming out, I immediately preordered it. The only books I actually buy are all Stephen King’s new books, illustrated Harry Potter books, and Philip Pullman’s new Lyra trilogy. I use my library for just about anything else.

When I heard it was about President Snow as a teenager, I was pretty nervous that he was going to be a terrible person from the get-go. When I read Fairest in the Lunar Chronicles, it never made me sympathize with Queen Levana. I still hated her just as much. But this one was different. Snow isn’t a bad guy. He’s suffered hardships that make his life challenging. I felt bad for him a lot. And I really enjoyed the secondary characters in this book. They brought a richness to the story.

The ending, however, was ridiculous. I didn’t buy it at all. I also felt the book could have been cut down about 75 pages and not much would have been lost. Overall, I liked the book. It was really interesting to see Panem from decades ago. I still recommend it to those who loved The Hunger Games books, but I don’t think it’s nearly as good as those.