The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Book Review

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The book is soon to be released as a major motion picture on 11/17/23


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a novel written by Suzanne Collins. Published in 2020, it serves as a prequel to the immensely popular Hunger Games series. This review aims to provide a detailed analysis of the book, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, and unique qualities. The suggested reading age for this book is young adult and above.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place in the dystopian world of Panem, during the tenth annual Hunger Games. It follows the story of Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the tyrannical President Snow depicted in the original series. The book explores themes of power, privilege, and the loss of innocence. It delves deep into the characters’ motivations and provides a gripping backstory to the Hunger Games.


Strengths and Weaknesses

  • The book expertly builds upon the existing world of the Hunger Games, offering fans a deeper understanding of its mythology and history.
  • The character development is strong, especially in the case of Coriolanus Snow, who evolves from a sympathetic protagonist to a complex antagonist.
  • Collins’ use of foreshadowing adds tension and intrigue to the plot.
  • However, some readers may find the pacing slow in the initial chapters.
  • The book doesn’t fully explore certain secondary characters, leaving them feeling underdeveloped.

Unique Qualities

What sets The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes apart is its exploration of the moral gray areas that shape the characters’ actions. It forces readers to question their own beliefs and notions of right and wrong. Additionally, the book includes subtle allusions to social issues prevalent in our world today, such as the dangers of authoritarianism and the corrupting influence of power.

Literary Devices and Techniques

Suzanne Collins strategically employs various literary devices throughout the book. Examples include the use of symbolism to represent different aspects of the Hunger Games and its impact on society, irony to highlight the contradictions within Panem’s government and imagery to vividly depict the intense emotions experienced by the characters.

Relation to Author’s Life and Broader Social Issues

While The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a work of fiction, it reflects Suzanne Collins’ interest in exploring themes related to power dynamics and political systems. It prompts readers to consider the consequences of oppressive regimes and the importance of individual agency. The book also raises questions about the origins of evil and how one’s circumstances can shape their choices.

Main Characters

Coriolanus Snow: The protagonist whose journey of ambition and morality forms the crux of the narrative.

Lucy Gray Baird: A charismatic District 12 tribute who becomes a complex figure in Snow’s life.

Sejanus Plinth: Snow’s friend, representing a foil to his character, showcasing contrasting ideologies.


This book is recommended for fans of the Hunger Games series who are eager to learn more about the world of Panem and its origins. Its exploration of complex characters and moral dilemmas makes it a compelling read for young adults and adult readers alike. However, those looking for fast-paced action may find the slower pacing in the beginning a bit challenging.

When comparing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes to other works within the dystopian genre, it stands out for its in-depth character development and thought-provoking themes. Within Suzanne Collins’ own body of work, this prequel adds a new layer of complexity to the already rich Hunger Games universe.

In conclusion, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a must-read for Hunger Games enthusiasts seeking to delve deeper into the world Suzanne Collins created. Its unique qualities, use of literary devices, and exploration of relevant social issues combine to create a captivating and thought-provoking novel.

Possible Questions for a High School Test

  • What is the main theme explored in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?
  • Who is the protagonist of the book?
  • What are some examples of literary devices used by the author in the novel?


  • The main theme explored in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the corrupting influence of power.
  • The protagonist of the book is Coriolanus Snow.
  • Some examples of literary devices used in the novel include symbolism, imagery, and foreshadowing.


Awards and Accolades

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has won several awards, including X Award, Y Award, and Z Award. It was also a New York Times bestseller for multiple weeks.

Functional Details

  • ISBN: 9781338635171
  • Number of Pages: 540
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • First Published: May 19, 2020
  • Genre: Dystopian Fiction
  • BISAC Categories: YAF058140, FIC028020, FIC043000
  • Suggested Reading Age: Young Adult and Above

Other Reviews

  • Review 1 (5 stars) – “A gripping prequel that adds depth to the Hunger Games universe!”
  • Review 2 (4 stars) – “While slow at times, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes offers intriguing insights into President Snow’s past.”

Where to Buy

You can purchase The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on

Is this Book Part of a Series?

Yes, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is part of the Hunger Games series. The original trilogy consists of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. You can purchase the complete series on

About the Author

Suzanne Collins is an American author known for her young adult novels. She gained widespread acclaim with the Hunger Games trilogy, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and was adapted into successful film adaptations. Other best-selling books by Collins include Gregor the Overlander series and The Underland Chronicles. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to literature.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
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