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.