Audiobook Review: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Audiobook Review: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsBallad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #0
Published by Scholastic Press (5.19.2020)
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 541 pages
Length: 16 hours, 16 minutes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Source: Library

1 Stars

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.

My thoughts

Disclaimer: I don’t usually swear in my reviews, but there’s some colorful language in this one.

Welp, there’s a reason this took me three whole years to pick up. I just want to say: I despise when a series is “finished” and the author writes another book for it years down the road. They are always, always terrible, in my opinion. I cannot think of one single series where I haven’t hated it. (*side eyeing you, Tahereh Mafi*) To me it just screams ‘let’s see how much more money can I milk out of this!’

I’m going to preface this by letting you know that it’s been years since I read The Hunger Games. I loved the movies (with the exception of the very last one), especially Catching Fire, which was my fave book of the trilogy. They did SO GOOD with that adaptation! Anyway, I was young when I read them for the first time, and my last re-read was almost 10 years ago. So I can’t remember how Suzanne’s writing was. I also had MUCH less to compare them to back then, because I hadn’t read hundreds upon hundreds of other books. (read: I’m old now, okay) However, back then? I loved these books to pieces.

But…holy. SHIT. I sooo do not remember her prose being this goddamn dry. Like, deep in the Sahara desert, dead and desiccated for 50 years dry. There was ZERO feeling whatsoever, and I’m pretty sure watching paint dry would have been more exciting. I felt exactly nothing throughout this entire novel. Except maybe grievous, insufferable boredom. I felt like I was reading a textbook. It’s also as long as a damn textbook. The narrator wasn’t great either, which made 16 hours of audio feel like an eternity, even at almost 2x speed.

I love a good villain backstory. Key word here: good. I want a slow build to villainy, giving me a relatable backstory where I can sympathize with the villain and actually see where they’re coming from. This book does not have that. Snow is the “good guy” for almost all of the book…until he’s not. I mean, I guess he had it in him all along, because he pretty much only did things for himself. But there was really no depth to him at all. I crave deep, complicated villains and Snow was just shallow. He really doesn’t have any legit reasons for being a villain tbh. Thus I could never relate to him.

He’s also a raging dumbass. He kept doing things that were completely illogical and then getting surprised when things backfired?? View Spoiler » How TF did you think that was going to end, you fucking moron. And then he was all omg, I got *character* killed, I never meant for this to happen. Bro. Hangings over dumb shit happen all the time and you bloody well know it. That’s the only specific one I remember, but there were so many times I wanted to throttle him for the stupid ass decisions he was making. No wonder Panem went to shit under his rule.

The romance was just bad. So, so bad. They had zero chemistry whatsoever, and I just did not care. And the way things ended, are you kidding me?? View Spoiler » I’m pissed. What a fucking cop out. Oh, and I got SUPER sick of hearing the entire first and last name of every single character every single time anyone said their name. WHY. Let’s not even mention the constant stupid ass song lyrics.

Do I recommend this to fans of The Hunger Games? No. No, I fucking do not. I deserve an entire bottle of wine for finishing this book, because it was exhausting. Hopefully the movie will be better.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 2/5
Writing style: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 1/5
Feels: 0/5
Narration: 2.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 1/5

Jessi (Geo)

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