"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review and quotes: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES

Title: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins

Book Beginnings quote: 
Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again.
Friday56 quote: 
He was always gracious to Io, though, and as a result, she adored him. With unpopular people such a minor effort went such a long way.
Summary: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES is considered the #0 book in the Hunger Games series, a prequel set about 65 years before the action in the original books. In it we meet President Coriolanus Snow as a teenager when he is chosen as a mentor for one of the participants in the 10th Hunger Games. His family has lost their fortune in the war and now they have to eek out their existence while pretending to still be rich. When the list comes out matching mentors with tributes he has been assigned to Lucy Gray, the female from district 12, the lowest of the low assignments. He is stung by this and works to do everything to make Lucy successful to not only save her but to save himself. Along the way he comes in contact with Dr. Gaul and discovers many of the dastardly tricks she uses on the tributes in the games. He also becomes linked to Sejanus Plinth, another mentor who is not interested in being a mentor and is opposed to all the killing. Along the way we see the development of the man who eventually becomes the cruel President of Panem.

Review: I really wanted to like this book. In fact, I was so excited for it that I pre-ordered one copy for my daughter and one for myself so we could received it the day it came out. That way we could read it at the same time and discuss it like we did when MOCKINGJAY came out years ago. But before it even arrived I started hearing murmurs of dissent from reviewers who received early copies. When my copy arrived my eldest daughter hijacked my copy and read it before I had a chance at it. After reading  it she commented that she didn't feel the need for the book in the first place. She was fine not knowing how the Hunger Games developed into the fiasco we know from the original series and she had never wondered what President Snow was like as a teenager. I actually thought that the portion of the book dedicated to the 10th Hunger Games was pretty good, it was more the long build up and what came after the game that bothered me. In fact, I think the book should have been divided into two books with the build-up and 10th Hunger Game in book one, ending on a big cliff hanger. Then book two could be what happens in the district afterwards. I was so put off by the length of the book I completely lost steam reading it and had to struggle to complete it.

Though I was enthralled with the Hunger Games trilogy, I was never very enraptured by Collins' writing. If you remember back to scenes from Mockingjay, whenever the action would get exciting or fierce, Katniss would faint or get hit on the head and we would only learn about the action later as someone described it to her. I was pretty critical of that aspect of the writing when I reviewed her earlier books and I noticed the same thing in THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES. When the action would be building to a big crescendo I would anticipate much more action than what was delivered. Near the end of the book I wasn't even sure what happened because the writing and the descriptions were so vague. I was left with an unsatisfactory feeling overall.

So I guess you are wondering if I recommend that you read the book? My answer is probably not. I liked the original series for the story more than for the writing. I, like my daughter, never wondered how the Hunger Games began and what they looked like in the beginning. I never wondered what kind of person President Snow was as a teenager and what led to him becoming so diabolical. But if you have wondered those things, then I think you should read the book and judge it for yourself.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
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e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material. 


THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES qualified for the Big Books Summer Challenge at 517 pages.
 

-Anne

8 comments:

  1. I thought the 2nd book was the best, and wasn't even that big a fan of Mockingjay. She's not the best writer, but the trilogy does have merit for its characters and story. Like you, I don't have much interest in reading this book. There are too many other good ones to delve into!

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  2. I never wondered how it began until the book came out. May not be great, but I will still read it. :-) Happy weekend!

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  3. I haven't read the Hunger Games books, but saw a couple of the movies. I would hate that kind of writing...a "telling" after the fact, instead of bringing the reader into the action.

    Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “HOME BEFORE DARK”

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  4. I passed on this book when it arrived for me at the library. I knew many others were eager to read it, and I wanted to hear more about it from bloggers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I may not request it again.

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  5. I'll be reading this pretty soon. We'll see what I think.

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  6. Sounds interesting just for the facts of the back story. Thanks for sharing! I'm waiting for this book from the library for my kindle.

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  7. What a shame that this book wasn't as good as the original series. I think I'll skip it.

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