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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger…
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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) (original 2020; edição 2020)

por Suzanne Collins (Autor)

Séries: The Hunger Games (Prequel)

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2,161865,642 (3.68)26
A beautiful foiled, hardback journal to coincide with the release of the new novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Título:The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel)
Autores:Suzanne Collins (Autor)
Informação:Scholastic Press (2020), 528 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes por Suzanne Collins (2020)

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Monsters aren't born - they're made.
They are the sum total of all that happened to them.

Now we know where President Snow's journey into monster-dom began.

We first meet Snow as a more or less typical kid concerned with school, friends, getting into college ... he may not be entirely likable, but he is just a kid. A kid who already has his eye set on becoming President.

What happens in the pages of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes are the first few steps into what created the monster who eventually ruled Panem. ( )
  DonnaDeck | Nov 20, 2021 |
Where does this fit in the Hunger Games series?
The Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is the prequel to the Hunger Games series. This book takes place 64 years before Collins’ The Hunger Games. If you have read or seen the movies, you are familiar with President Snow, the ruler of Panem and The Capital. The Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes is his backstory, and it is filled with surprises and tie-ins to the series. Much of the story revolves around the 10th Hunger Games, Coriolunus’ struggles with the lead Gamemaster, Coriolanus’ friendships, Coriolanus’ family, and Coriolanus’ relationship with his tribute. At first, Coriolanus sees being a mentor for the Hunger Games as a privilege, but over time, he realizes he is more of a pawn in a bigger game being played. He realizes who his real friends are compared to those who are also using him for their personal betterment.

Should you read it?
Yes, I would definitely recommend The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, but I would offer a disclaimer first. This book was more graphic than I remember the other Hunger Games books being, and that is saying a lot. Like the other books, too, be wary of getting too connected to characters, because there is a lot of death, too. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone younger than 8th grade. If a student has read The Hunger Games and its following books, this book will give them a whole different perspective of not only Coriolanus Snow but also the progression of the Hunger Games and the Capital. I would recommend reading the original series first and coming back to this one rather than starting the series with it.

An image of the edition I read can be found above on this page.

Curious what NPR had to say about this prequel? https://www.npr.org/2020/05/19/858059553/the-ballad-of-songbirds-and-snakes-is-a... ( )
  Walsh4KoMets | Nov 15, 2021 |
I was dubious when I learned that this book would be the "origin story" of one of the main villains of the Hunger Games trilogy, but honestly it was a bold move. As a reader, one goes into the story already loathing the "protagonist" (which is as nonsensical as it sounds, at first). However, Collins masterfully portrays Snow in a way that the reader is torn between sympathy and disgust for the decisions he continually makes. It's disjarring, to say the least, and yet it made it difficult for me to stop reading the book to do other things.

I will say, some of it was pretty predictable, but part of that does stem from being a prequel that was written well after the original books (and films) were released. The audience ultimately knows what happens to Snow, and they expect to dislike him no matter what. The strength in this book is that it makes you want to know more about him, and how his involvement in the tenth Hunger Games led to even more disturbing incarnations of the Hunger Games in the following years, up to the ones that readers first experienced with Katniss Everdeen.

I didn't think I'd like this book, and part of me is still disturbed by what I've read so I can't say I enjoyed it exactly, but I do have to admit to a greater appreciation of Suzanne Collins' writing abilities. (I should add though: it dragged at times and could have been shortened without losing anything integral to the overall story.) ( )
  bookwyrmqueen | Oct 25, 2021 |
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes ist ein Prequel zu der "Tribute von Panem"-Trilogie und spielt 64 Jahre früher. Die dargestellten 10. Hunger Games sind noch sehr viel archaischer und die technische Ausstattung der Arena fängt gerade erst an.

Im Mittelpunkt der Geschichte steht Coriolanus Snow, der dem Leser aus der Hauptreihe als Präsident von Panem bekannt ist.

Hier ist Coriolanus gerade 18 und wurde für eine Gruppe von Mentoren für die Tribute der Distrikts ausgewählt (auch das wurde wohl ein erstes Mal durchgeführt).

Zunächst lernt man viel über die Stadtgesellschaft des Capitols - nach außen geht es ja in den Hunger Games um das Capitol, das die Distrikte unterdrückt - aber auch innerhalb der Gesellschaft des Capitols gibt es deutliche Unterschiede, die vor allem mit Geld zu tun haben. Die Snows sind eine der alten, mächtigen Familien mit entsprechend repräsentativer Wohnadresse, die aber im Bürgerkrieg die Basis ihres Wohlstands verloren haben. Und Coriolanus verlor seine Eltern, er wohnt jetzt mit einer älteren Cousine und seiner Großmutter in der elterlichen Wohnung und kommt mehr schlecht als recht über die Runden - will sich das aber nicht anmerken lassen, um die Familienehre nicht zu beschädigen.

Der Charakter von Coriolanus wird allmählich aufgebaut - im ersten Abschnitt sucht er einen Weg, sein Universitätsstudium finanziert zu bekommen, indem er sich besonders gut um seine Mentee, Lucy Gray Baird, kümmert, woraus eine Art Liebesgeschichte resultiert. Im zweiten Abschnitt, der die eigentlichen 10. Hunger Games beschreibt, verfolgt er seine Strategie weiter, und dehnt dabei die Regeln zu seinen Gunsten. Das wird aber entdeckt, und so spielt der dritte Abschnitt in District 12, in dem Coriolanus zum Peacemaker ausgebildet wird. Doch selbst hier sucht er nach Vorteilen für sich, auch wenn er mit seinem Capitol-Leben erstmal abgeschlossen hat.

Nach diesem Band kann man erahnen, wie Coriolanus Snow zu dem Mann wurde, den man in der Hauptreihe als Präsident von Panem erlebt.

Die Geschichte wird durchgehend aus der Sicht von Coriolanus erzählt - keine Erzählperspektive, mit der ich mich gut identifizieren konnte. Dennoch kam bei mir phasenweise sogar Sympathie für Coriolanus auf, und die eigentlichen Hunger Games liefern die Spannung, die ich von der Hauptreihe in Erinnerung hatte.

Vielleicht funktioniert die Geschichte noch etwas anders, wenn man die Hauptreihe noch nicht gelesen hat - bei den meisten dürfte das aber nicht der Fall sein.

Darum mein Fazit: Eine lesenswerte Ergänzung der Hunger Games Reihe, das als Rückblick auf die Anfänge gut funktioniert. ( )
  ahzim | Oct 24, 2021 |
"Oh, there we go! I told you, didn't I?" crowed Lucky. "You did," admitted the dean. "And yet it was still unexpected."

It seems like I might be in the minority, but I really enjoyed this book. I went into this with very few expectations and having not read the original trilogy in about 10 years and I found myself very invested in the story and message of this book.

I think one of the clearest missions of this book is to examine the ways we develop beliefs about ourselves, our fellow people, and the world around us and how this doesn't happen in a vacuum but rather is the product of circumstance. It also clearly discusses the construction of in-groups and out-groups and the ramifications of that.

The sociology of this book was what was so interesting to me, so excuse me if this reads more like a book report than a review. Collins has never been that subtle in her metaphor and critiques in this series but just because it's obvious what she's trying to say doesn't mean it's not well done. There were so many interesting points in this book that I've been having trouble thinking about this review because there's so much I could write about. I'm having to look through my Kindle highlights just so I can remember what I want to say. Though I think at times, Collins tries to cover too much ground, I think the points she is making in this book through the descriptions of the games in its early years and through the music motif is well done and gives me a lot to sink my teeth in.

I think anyone reading the hunger games can pick up a bit on that fact that it is a media event and Collins did that to critique the way our own media industry works. Because this game comes before it has really been transformed into an extravagant event, it is interesting to see how she lays the groundwork of the idea of it been a media circus. That idea is there very literally. Lucy Gray's dress is compared to a clown costume and the arena where the game is held is discussed as formally being the site of the circus. It also exist in the distance the capitol mentors have towards the games. Like many of us with celebrities and media personalities, we can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking we know them and taking ownership over them. Though the situation of the hunger games is obviously quite different, We see that the mentors engage with this as something to be entertaining while still believing they have some form of ownership over the participants and their successes. This is driven home even more in the way Snow discusses Lucy Gray and their relationship and how jealousy he is and how much he believes he has to do with her victory.
They were back in the arena, fighting for survival, just the two of them against the world.

The idea of human nature is explicitly stated in this book, I mean, Snow is literally writing essays about it so I wouldn't say this point is subtle. The debate presented in this book is about whether humans are essentially violent and need to be controlled by a capitol like entity or whether humans are naturally good and the violence sometimes exhibited by them is the product of the circumstances they are placed in. Though Snow by the end of the book has certainly been convinced by the former statement, I don't think we the reader are supposed to have that take away, or at least we are supposed to think about it more. I think this is because while Snow is the protagonist, Lucy Gray is the hero and she is not convinced that humans are evil inherently.
"People aren't so bad, really," she said. "It's what the world does to them. Like us, in the arena. We did things in there we'd never have considered if they'd just left us alone."
The actions people take in their most desperate moment can so easily be construed as what they essentially are rather than who they are only at their most desperate. This quote and others like I think demonstrate that this is as much the point of the hunger games as anything else. The Capitol must convince everyone that people in the districts must be controlled or they will be violent and how better to show it then showing that their children, who are supposed to be the most innocent, are capable of killing each other.
"Because we credit them with innocence. And if even the most innocent among us turn to killers in the Hunger Games, what does that say? That our essential nature is violent," Snow explained.
What it really says is that people will become what they must be to survive but Lucy Gray is right, if those kids weren't in a killing competition, they wouldn't kill. But when all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

The person who most needed to be convinced of this idea was Snow. I think many people went into this book expecting some sort of "redemption" story or explanation for his evil or the same sort of action as the other books and that's not what this is. What it is is an examination of how evil does not develop in a vacuum. Snow got his ideas from being taught them by Dr. Gaul, by being the shown the very worst of people intentionally. If this book is an attempt to shown the complexity of a villain and their ideas and think it succeeded on all fronts. If Snow was born in District 12, his ideas would have been different because his upbringing would have been different. We are shown this through the character of Sejanus. We are all a product of our circumstances but that doesn't mean we can't grow and change. In this case however, what Snow learned caused him to change into a worse person and we must acknowledge that things like that may happen to people. If we believe, like Lucy Gray, that people are not inherently evil we must also believe that things can happen to people that leads them to grow evil and that is what is demonstrated here.

This book also further examines that in-group vs. out-group concept between the Capitol and the districts that has existed throughout this series. However, these feelings come closer to the end of the war and therefore are stronger. We see in this book an interesting examination of a lack of cultural relativity. The districts are described as barbaric and almost less than human and their practices and traditions are described as backwards.
"They're not like me!" the little girl protested."They're district. That's why they belong in a cage!"
A second-class citizen. Human, but bestial. Smart, perhapse, but not evolved. Part of a shapeless mass of unfortunate, barbaric creatures that hovered on the periphery of his consciousness.
This idea is pretty explicit but I think whats slightly more subtle is they way this line of thinking contributes to the ownership Snow feels over Lucy Grey. You can see how their relationship is imbalanced and how Snow falls into rhetoric seen in abusive relationships.
As if he was hunting her. But he wasn't really going to kill her. Just talk to her and make sure she saw sense.
Even if Lucy Gray was confused on the issue, in the eyes of the Capitol, she belonged to him.
In some ways, it had been better to have her locked up in the Capitol, where he always had a general idea of what she was doing.
By situating the district citizens as less than human and backwards, it becomes easy for Capitol citizens like Snow to convince themselves that they know better and should therefore control all the actions of the districts. It is easy to see how an abusive relationship would follow from that. And even though the Capitol believes that the district beliefs and practices are backwards it is important to remember it is the Capitol that instituted the Hunger Games and, as we see in the book, many Capitol citizens are more concerned with the destruction of a flag than the death of district children (can't imagine what that might be a reference to...).

As you can see, I have a lot to say about this book and I'm probably going to think about this one for a while. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I went back and changed my rating to five stars, not because I think this is perfect but because of the work Collins put into the metaphors in this book. I didn't even really get into the role of songs, birds and snakes, mostly because I don't feel qualified. I know a lot of people were disappointment in this book but I think if you go into this book looking at it through the lens of metaphor for how evil develops and not an action packed Hunger Games book, I think people could really enjoy this just as much as I did.
review to come, probably tomorrow. I need to think on this one and review my notes and highlights but know that I really, really enjoyed it and would give it like 4.5 stars, I just didn't think it was a perfect book which is why I'm not giving it 5 stars. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
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A beautiful foiled, hardback journal to coincide with the release of the new novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

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