I wasn’t originally going to pick up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as I didn’t really have any interest in President Snow’s backstory, and I thought that without Katniss Everdeen, the Hunger Games wouldn’t be all that interesting. I was correct.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes felt, to me, entirely pointless. I struggled from the beginning to connect with Snow’s younger self. It seems strange to me that Collins chose to write the story from Snow’s point of view, as presumably everyone reading this book will know what he is to become. I read books to connect with the characters, but I couldn’t do that with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes because I simply could not see the two Snows as two different people. I knew who he was.
Even if I hadn’t known what Snow was going to do in the future, I still don’t think he’s a very good character to write about. I didn’t want to be inside his head, as he’s rich and arrogant and entitled. He’s just an awful person, and you see huge glimpses of that while reading from his point of view.
It would have made more sense to me if The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes had been written from someone else’s point of view, but still featuring Snow prominently. I would really like to find out what Collins’ reason for writing the book this way was, because to my mind it would have been stronger if we’d have seen Snow from the point of view of someone close to him. Sure, still write about people from the Capitol, but it seems silly to me to write about someone so hated, especially if they’re a complete ass from the start.
I also didn’t like the songs. I’m just putting it out there.
I think I just didn’t care enough about this book to really get into it. Perhaps my experience would have been slightly different if I’d reread the original trilogy first and everything was fresh in my mind. However, I didn’t enjoy reading about the Hunger Games from Snow’s point of view. I cared about what the tributes were going through, not some posh guy who was never in danger in the same way.
I did enjoy the extra backstory about the war and the rebels, and how the Games evolved, however I think all of that information would have been better in some sort of encyclopaedia, or, you know, an actual book about the war.
In my opinion, this book isn’t worth reading unless you’re a die hard fan of the original series. Even then, I’m not sure you’ll love it.