Date Published: May 19, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Summary

Step back into the unforgiving arena with Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ – and this time, prepare to see things from a new perspective.

This prequel to the 'Hunger Games' trilogy transports us 64 years prior to the events of the first book, back to the reeling, struggling world of post-war Panem, where the wounds of the Dark Days are still fresh. Here, we meet an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow – a far cry from the tyrannical President we've come to know – as he grapples with poverty, social expectations, and a desperate hunger to regain his family's lost prestige. Selected to mentor a tribute from the easily-dismissed District 12 in the tenth annual Hunger Games, Snow’s reputation hangs by a thread.

The novel delves into the sinister institution of the Hunger Games, in their rudimentary form, and exposes us to the evolution of a society that could sanction such a spectacle. We traverse the class-divided Capitol, experience the hardships of the rebelling districts, and bear witness to the impact of war and poverty on the human psyche. Collins threads an intricate tapestry of the motivations, decisions, and pressures that sculpted a young Snow into the manipulative leader he would become.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins

Date Published: May 19, 2020

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Genres

Dystopian Fiction
Science Fiction
Young Adult

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Main Characters

Coriolanus Snow: An ambitious young man born into a prestigious family fallen on hard times. His struggle with poverty and desire for power drive him to manipulative and ruthless decisions, such as betraying his friend Sejanus.

Lucy Gray Baird: The District 12 tribute mentored by Snow, Lucy Gray is a singer, an entertainer, and a survivor. She influences Snow significantly, both as an ally and a romantic interest.

Sejanus Plinth: A fellow student at the academy from a wealthy family who sympathizes with the districts. Snow betrays him in a power move, demonstrating his ruthless nature.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Themes

Power and Manipulation: Seen in Snow’s actions, like the betrayal of Sejanus, to regain his family’s lost prestige.

Class and Poverty: Highlighted by the stark difference between the Capitol and the Districts, Snow’s struggle with poverty, and his desperation to escape it.

Survival and Sacrifice: Exemplified by Lucy Gray’s participation in the Hunger Games and her relationship with Snow.

Dehumanization: Explored through the early stages of the Hunger Games, where human life is treated as disposable for entertainment.

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