This is a prequel to The Hunger Games books, thus Hunger Games #0. President Snow isn’t president yet. In fact, he’s only about 17 years old and recently designated a mentor to the Tribute from the 12th district in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Suzanne shows us just how Snow’s mind works, as he helps his tribute make it to the top before the Games begin. During the Games, Snow works to keep his tribute alive and eventually falls in love with her. I won’t spoil what happens during the Games and who wins, but it is very different from the Games you’ve probably read about in the series.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, no, I would not recommend this book.
I had a hard time with this book, as I was glad to read a book that took me back to high school, but it was difficult to read because of the pace. Most of the reading was slow, as it felt like I spent a lot of time in Snow’s head, reading his thoughts. Which were mostly understandable and relatable, compared to the character we see in later books.
It was hard to imagine how teenage Snow grew into the villain he was later, but I could see a small glimpse of his future every so often. When one of his thoughts seemed just a little—off. A majority of the time, Snow spends his time thinking philosophically. Why do we have the Games? What do they tell us about human nature? He also spends much of his time thinking about his appearance and the war ten years ago.
I think it was a lot more exciting to read the later books written in Katniss’ perspective because she participated in the Games. But it was interesting to see Snow’s start on his path to villainy. So no, this book does not show Snow’s rise to power, as I thought it might. Each chapter felt slow, but there was always a violent cliffhanger to keep me reading. We couldn’t have the Games without more than a few violent ends.
Besides the poor pacing, was the fact that it was drawn out over the course of about 600 pages. I’d get close to the middle of a chapter and think how bored I was starting to feel when a character would be murdered and I’d have to keep reading to find out what else happened. A few things I enjoyed were Snow’s tribute, Lucy Gray, and the earlier workings of the Games.
Overall, I would not recommend this book to a busy mom. Except if you really enjoyed these books and want to reminisce. Otherwise, I don’t think it’s worth it. The book is too lengthy without a great pace to set the tone. Have you read it yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!
If you enjoyed my review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, you might also like The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.