The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Summary (A Hunger Games Novel)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Summary (A Hunger Games Novel)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes summary by Suzanne Collins(Author)

The ballad of songbirds and snakes summary is a prequel to the groundbreaking series “The Hunger Games” and takes place 64 years prior. As we all have known from the trilogy, the cruel game exists to punish the entire country that consists of 12 districts for the crime of fighting against the Capitol. In this prequel, the game had already taken off, but it hadn’t become the spectacle as in the later years.

It’s the reaping morning of the 10th Hunger Game, and the 24 tributes are being selected. Among them is the hero – Coriolanus Snow, who is not one of the candidates but the mentor for one of them. He is participating in the hope to lift his once esteemed family from the poverty that they have been burdened with since the war.

Much to Snow’s disdain, his assignation is from District 12, a place that promises no victory. Lucy Gray is the name of the candidate, who possesses irresistible charisma and skilled in the art of folk singing. The 18-year-old boy then schemes to both help her win the game, and use the girl to promote himself into power in the process.

Snow is no likable character, he himself has been ingesting poison throughout the year, the poison that he uses to kill other opponents. In the Hunger Games trilogy, he is the prominent villain with a calculated approach to the game. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes don’t try to justify his motives and action, but rather gives the readers a better explanation on how the man manipulates people to get himself into the position of security.


Expect no tragic backstory to fish sympathy from the audience, Collins makes it clear that Snow has always been a ruthless, cold teenager on his way to be the cruel tyrant that we all know of. Writing about him making this book drenched in a dark sense of humor. 

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Suzanne Collins has had a successful and prolific career writing for children's television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Collins made her mark in children's literature with the New York Times bestselling five-book series for middle-grade readers The Underland Chronicles, which has received numerous accolades in both the United States and abroad. In the award-winning The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins continues to explore the effects of war and violence on those coming of age. Collins lives with her family in Connecticut.


Praise for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes:

#1 USA Today Bestseller
#1 New York Times Bestseller

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes delivers a mesmerizing look into the life of Coriolanus Snow and the root causes of his villainous behavior. Collins once again proves that she is a master of building a fascinating world around complex characters who must grapple with the complications of chaos and control and their effects on human nature. -- The Associated Press

It is a steep challenge to write a book whose hero is, everyone knows, destined to become deeply evil. Do we want to hear -- now, after we know the endgame -- that the young Voldemort was unfairly saddled with a demerit in class or that the adolescent Sauron fretted because he had to wear hand-me-down clothes? Yes, please. -- New York Times

For true fans of The Hunger Games, Collins shines most as she weaves in tantalizing details that lend depth to the gruesome world she created in the original series and Coriolanus's place in its history. -- Time

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is your apocalyptic escape from our current apocalypse. -- Vox

It's the pull between Coryo's head and heart -- and the realization that he actually has a beating heart, not just a rose-scented lump of coal -- that makes the future President Snow very worthy of a 517-page prequel. -- Washington Post

[B]y introducing a new cast of teenagers, Collins is able to raise questions about privilege, the uses of violence, and the futility of war. -- People

Collins's themes of friendship, betrayal, authority and oppression, as well as the extra layers of lore about mockingjays and Capitol's history, will please and thrill. -- MSN

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes describes how most lives are actually lived, the consequences of countless small choices that ultimately amount to a big one: not just how to feel but who to be. -- Slate

Collins reminds readers that even the most horrible people may have at one point done the right thing, but that doesn't make them any less despicable or less worth overthrowing. -- Polygon

* Both a tense, character-driven piece and a cautionary tale.... The twists and heartbreaks captivate despite tragic inevitabilities. -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing make this story's complex issues -- vulnerability and abuse, personal responsibility, and institutionalized power dynamics -- vivid and personal. -- Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Hunger Games:

I couldn't stop reading. -- Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

The Hunger Games is amazing. -- Stephenie Meyer

Brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced. -- John Green, New York Times Book Review

Praise for Catching Fire:

Whereas Katniss kills with finesse, Collins writes with raw power. -- Time Magazine

Collins expertly blends fantasy, romance and political intrigue. -- People Magazine

Praise for Mockingjay:

Fans will be happy to hear that Mockingjay is every bit as complex and imaginative as Hunger Games and Catching Fire. -- Entertainment Weekly

Suspenseful... Collins' fans, grown-ups included, will race to the end. -- USA Today

At its best the trilogy channels the political passion of 1984, the memorable violence of A Clockwork Orange, the imaginative ambience of The Chronicles of Narnia and the detailed inventiveness of Harry Potter. -- New York Times Book Review

Unfolding in Collins' engaging, intelligent prose and assembled into chapters that end with didn't-see-that-coming cliffhangers, this finale is every bit the pressure cooker of its forebears. [Mockingjay] is nearly as shocking, and certainly every bit as original and thought-provoking, as The Hunger Games. Wow. -- Los Angeles Times

* This concluding volume in Collins's Hunger Games trilogy accomplishes a rare feat, the last installment being the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review