The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

It is the 10th Hunger Games and a young Cornelius Snow has to mentor one of the tributes as part of a project that could possibly win him a scholarship to University. The Snow family has fallen on hard times since the war; their primary source of income from District 13 was blown into oblivion. Both of his parents are dead, he lives with his cousin and grandmother, and what little they have left is enough to fool people into thinking the Snows are still a prominent family. But it is not enough to actually live the life Cornelius believes is his by right.

In the book the reader learns more about how the Hunger Games came to be and how they evolved into the spectacle that the reader know from the 74th and 75th hungers games featuring Katniss. At this point in the Panem history, the games are little more than throwing some kids into a bombed out area with some weapons and letting them fight it out.

People in the Capitol are losing interest in this grisly punishment and the districts sure don’t want to keep going. Dr. Gaul, the primary game maker is decides to make Capitol children mentor district children. Maybe that will make people pay attention. As part of the project she ask the kids to come up with ways to engage the populace in the game. In a snarky moment Cornelius says “let people bet on the games and sponsor a kid.”

District 12: Lucy’s Home

At this point in his evolution Cornelius is pragmatic but still somewhat of an optimist. He is upset that the kids from the district are being treated horribly and not being fed. To be fair, he is probably only upset that his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, is being starved. If she dies before the games can even begin how is he going to win his scholarship. I think he begins to genuinely care for her at one point in time…just not enough to overcome self interest.

As the book goes on you can see how participating in the 10th hunger games helped to bring about the man the reader knows as President Snow in the original books. When the book begins he is a young, somewhat entitled, but still decent kid. But he Cornelius quickly learns that he has to look out for himself because no one else will.

From what I read online, some people were hating on this book. It is hard to go back and write about a well established mythology and not have readers second guess the decisions made. Especially when the author is trying to make one of the most hated characters human. I actually enjoyed it for what it was. The book does go slow in a couple parts but overall it was a nice few days of reading.

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