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Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Suzanne Collins' new novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, an origin story of the unrelenting tyrant from The Hunger Games Trilogy, President Snow, may lack the action-packed pacing of the first book and the all-star cast of Catching Fire; however, it is less common for YA literature to explore a villain's origin and deliver a gripping story with an engrossing protagonist turned villain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This book revealed the many layers of Snow's one-note character in the original trilogy. Collins' wrote him in a way that the reader's sympathy and contempt towards him are balanced until the latter outweighs the former as the story progresses. There were moments where he could've made heroic choices, inviting the reader to root for him, but beneath those choices lies the fact that he only actively makes them according to his own interests, hence, allowing the reader to develop contempt towards him. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Given the mixed reviews, not everyone will like this book, probably because of its psychological realism but, for me, that's what makes it so engrossing. If The Hunger Games was a political allegory, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is Collins' political commentary and philosophy fashioned as fiction, showing the horrors of the Games stripped of glitz and glamour. It's worth the read.

A solid four stars to Collins' comeback!

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