Audiobook Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Posted January 20, 2021 by Stephanie in Review / 14 Comments

Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Author: Suzanne Collins
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: The Hunger Games #0.5
Publication: May 19th 2020 by Scholastic Audio
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | Kobo
Rating: 2/5โ˜…

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was okay, I guess. I didn’t full on hate it but I also didn’t love it. A huge part of the story wasn’t very interesting, I must admit and in general I wasn’t very impressed with it either. I love a good villain origin story but somewhere something missed its mark with this one.

I listened to the audiobook and I wasn’t a very big fan of the narrator. His voice was pretty dull and often droned on. This didn’t make it fun to listen, that’s for sure. There were parts in the book where characters were singing and the voice he did then was just plain weird. I really couldn’t keep a straight face with it. So I wouldn’t recommend picking up that version.

I do have to say that because I didn’t like the book that it doens’t mean it didn’t have its good parts. It takes place during the tenth Hunger Games (and after) where a eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is a mentor to Lucy Gray from Distric 12 (what can go wrong, right?). I liked learning more about the history and world of Panem. But that was probably the only likable thing in the book.

I hate to say it because I’m a big fan of the original Hunger Games trilogy but it kind of read like some sort of fanfiction. Yes Snow is a somewhat intriguing character, there’s no denying that but I feel like this could’ve been a so much better story. And don’t get me started on the romance. I really wasn’t there for it at all. It was creepy. So I feel that with two stars I’ve been pretty generous. If not for all the extra information and things I learned about The Hunger Games, the Capital and the districts then it probably would’ve been a star less even. It’s a no from me.

14 responses to “Audiobook Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

  1. I confess that I’ve watched and the movies (more than once), but I still have to read the books . . . I’m sorry this new book was a disappointment for you, I was hoping for a winning story ๐Ÿ™ I’ll probably stick with the original trilogy when the time to read it comes!

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I liked seeing the connections between this prequel and the other books, but I did feel it was overly long.

  3. verushka

    Ouch, I’m sorry this sucked for you. I remember this coming out, and the hype around it. Also, I hear you on bad narrators — they just destroy a book.

  4. I love the books, and I love the movies even more. And let’s not get started on the movie soundtrack, which is just mind-blowing. Didn’t know Collins was still writing for this series, sorry this one didn’t work out for you.

  5. I think I’ve seen exactly ONE person give this four stars. What I’m understanding is that this book is very unnecessary. I hate books that read like fanfiction. I also don’t think I’m familiar with this narrator. What a bummer all round.

  6. I felt the same way about this book! I enjoyed some parts, like the connections with the original trilogy and learning more about how it all started, but overall it was indeed just not that interesting and the romance was creepy. At least I didn’t read it on audiobook, maybe that’s why I still gave it a 3 stars ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. YES! This is EXACTLY how I felt! I gave it a 4 stars because I did still (bizarrely) really enjoy it but that was largely because of Sejanus! I think that if this same story had been about Sejanus and his POV of Snow rather than Snow’s POV, it would have been more entertaining. (I just really loved Sejanus and that was enough for me haha.)

    The audiobook sounds like an awkward experience! Yikes!

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