Monday, September 25, 2023

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (book review)

Quite an interesting read. The story itself was gripping enough to keep you reading, even if it feels like the book maybe could have been shorter than 500+ pages. At points it felt more grim than the other books in the Hunger Games series, for the same reason that prequels of this sort always feel that way, because you know from the start that there won't be any sort of resolution until the events of the main HG trilogy take place.

Making Snow a clearly problematic person from the start was a wise choice, much preferable than trying to humanize him and justify his future actions as those of someone driven too far by traumatizing events. It was also clever how the book included several other characters like Tigris, who had gone through the same hardships as Snow, and had also gone through losses, pain, and grief but still had not resorted to his Machiavellian, cruel, and opportunistic way of thinking. Showing that cruelty as a means of self-preservation is ultimately a choice and not the only way. Snow wasn't shaped into the tyrant he became by outside events, he chose that path based on his own way of thinking and capacity for ruthlessness.

The book also explores in an interesting way how fascism twists and frames inhuman actions and double standards to justify them as the reasonable thing to do. One death is a great tragedy, another is collateral damage. It's not an easy read at times, but this mentality is very real and Suzanne Collins approaches it quite realistically. With Snow's inner monologue and interactions it showed how people ascribing to such ideologies and worldview think, and how even if you are in a position to be safe from them, that safety is very fragile and only lasts as long as you act and behave in the exact way they expect you to.

Overall a solid addition to the Hunger Games series. 


Originally posted on Goodreads

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