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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Book Review

Dive into 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' with our concise book review and summary. Uncover the captivating twists in this Hunger Games prequel.

The Hunger Games, held to teach the citizens of Panem the lessons of war, will soon be held for the tenth time. 

Not only will the drawn tributes have to win the game with all-or-nothing determination, but students from aristocratic families in the capital will also serve as mentors, working with their tributes to win the game, gain glory, and have a great future.

Eighteen-year-old Coriolanus. Snow, looking forward to becoming the most competitive tribute mentor. The Snow family was once glorious but fell into decline after the war. 

Now the house's taxes, and the fate of his family, depend on whether Coriolanus can outsmart and outmaneuver his classmates and guide the tributes to win the Hunger Games.

But the situation was very unfavorable to Coriolanus from the beginning. The tribute he was assigned was the worst of the worst, a skinny girl from District 12, the poorest district in Panem, Lucy. Grey. 

She wore a rainbow pleated skirt, brought a snake to the lottery ceremony, and let the snake bite people in front of everyone...

In the arena, there is a life-and-death duel, and every choice Coriolanus makes may affect Lucy. Gray leads to victory or destruction. 

With no way out, their fates are completely entangled, and he begins to sympathize with his doomed tribute... 

He must weigh his own needs, follow the rules of the game, resist his inner desires, and keep both of them alive no matter what the cost...

       This book is the latest to be released in the United States on May 19, 2020. It is the prequel of the "Hunger Games" series. 

I am not too keen on the "Hunger Games" series, but as one of the few well-known works in recent years, it is still quite popular. 

I was looking forward to it, so on the 20th, I obtained the electronic version of this prequel in Kindle format. 

The hardcover version of the original book has 528 pages, which is much more than the average of more than 300 pages in the main story series. 

The thickness of more than 500 pages is considered thick enough for a popular English novel. I originally planned to spend about five days on it. 

I finished reading it in about half a month (compared to the reading time of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). 

However, I seriously underestimated its thickness and text volume. It took me about half a month to read it, and overall I felt that it was well written. 

Strictly speaking, it is recommended that those who have not read the "Hunger Games" book or movie should first read the Chinese version of the book or movie. 

This book cannot be regarded as an independent work. Many of its characters are related to the main story, and it feels like When writing this book, the author also assumed that readers had already read her previous "Hunger Games" series, so she did not explain too much about some concepts in the book. 

This is different from the "Harry Potter" series. In my impression, each "Harry Potter" book can be read individually, even if the reader has not read the previous work...

Book: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dystopian action-adventure novel written by the American author Suzanne Collins. It is a prequel to the original The Hunger Games trilogy, set 64 years before the events of the first novel. Wikipedia

    • Author: Suzanne Collins
    • Country: United States
    • Language: English
    • Series: The Hunger Games
    • Genres: Science fiction, Thriller, Adventure fiction, Dystopian Fiction, War story
    • Publication date: May 19, 2020
    • Pages: 517
    • Followed by: The Hunger Games

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

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About the Author  · Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins made her debut in 2008 with the best-selling series of novels "Underland Chronicles" and was highly praised; her "Hunger Games" series has become the most recognized trilogy novel since 2008, with each episode listed on the Top of the major bestseller lists, selling copyrights in 51 languages to 56 regions, Susan. Collins was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in 2010.

In 2018, the 10th anniversary of the publication of "The Hunger Games Trilogy" was released, and a special commemorative edition was released, including Susan. 

Collins reflects on a conversation on the 10th anniversary of the publication of "The Hunger Games Trilogy"; and with novelist Walt. Dean. A conversation with Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014) on how to write war stories for readers of all ages.

Susan. Collins's works are popular around the world and have sold more than 100 million copies. 

In addition, the four movies adapted from "The Hunger Games Trilogy" also caused a sensation and were released one after another in 2012; the first and second episodes respectively ranked 14th and 10th in North American box office history.

Book Overview: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

       "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" What does it mean? In fact, both Songbirds and Snakes have two meanings. One refers to characters, and the other refers to animals. 

Songbirds refers to Lucy Gray on one level, she is the female tribute from District 12, the heroine in the book, and her mentor is Snow, Lucy likes to sing, and the lyrics are unique; on the other level, it means mockingbird, which can convey a message (repeating a person's words). 

As for Snakes, the first layer refers to President Snow. The male protagonist in the prequel is technically the young Snow. 

Everyone who has watched the "Hunger Games" series should have guessed this. The second layer refers to snakes among animals. Lucy is good at "snake charming", and a mutant snake appears as a weapon in this Hunger Games.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Live Discussion

Author Background: Suzanne Collins and Her Culinary Influence

       Before going into the specific content of this book, let me first talk about the author of the book, Suzanne Collins, whose Chinese translation is Suzanne Collins. She is a middle-aged American female writer. 

Before "The Hunger Games", she wrote a series of children's literature and then turned to young adult literature. The works written by female writers all have one characteristic. They have a lot of psychological descriptions of the characters in the books. 

The "Hunger Games" series and this prequel work are the same. Even the author directly uses the first person to narrate the main series. I am not used to the first person. The way of narration always feels not as "grand" as the third person perspective from God's perspective. 

Readers who have read the main series of works should be very impressed by the various foods in the book. It seems that this female writer especially likes to add the element of "eating" in her works. The book is full of various games and sweets. 

I think this female writer must be a master of cooking in her daily life. She can describe in detail what the protagonist eats for three meals a day. Many of the characters' names even come from the ingredients. 

In fact, it doesn’t hurt to include various foods in the book. However, for those who like to read the original book, the English vocabulary for those foods is too unfamiliar. Generally, people like us who have learned Chinese English since childhood will have a hard time coming into contact with those vocabulary words. 

Of course, speed reading It’s okay to skip it, but for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, turning to the dictionary is unavoidable. 

By the way, after writing the "Hunger Games" series, this female writer actually published a "cookbook", that wrote exactly the preparation methods of the food that appeared in "The Hunger Games". It's really Cooking enthusiast.

       I thought, since I am writing a book review, I should write it in more detail, because many people don’t like to read long books, but at the same time they are interested in a certain work, or they are just interested in movies and want to learn more about the original work. , in fact, I am such a reader sometimes. 

In other words, I often like to read spoilers, so next, I want to write about the specific content of this book and talk about my feelings at the same time. This part includes Serious spoilers, readers who want to read the original book themselves or are waiting for the Chinese version, please do not read it.

       Because I have read the entire book, it takes a long time to read it back and forth, and I rarely read the book after I have finished it, especially the original book. The specific details may not be accurate. I apologize if I am wrong. 

Snow is habitually called Coriolanus in the book, but I still habitually call him Snow. After all, everyone is more familiar with this name. Unless otherwise specified, Snow in the following content refers to Coriolanus Snow.

Characters and Setting: Snow Family Dynamics

       The Snow family is highly respected and once wealthy. Coriolanus Snow's father, the future president's father, is named Crassus Xanthos Snow. 

He is an arms dealer who made his fortune selling arms, but his arms sales are mainly concentrated in District 13, because of the rebellion that was first launched in District 13, not only on the battlefield, but District 13 was razed to the ground by nuclear weapons after the war, and the Snow family's weapons factory was also lost. Snow's mother was also in the war. 

They died due to difficult childbirth and were not sent to the hospital in time. By the time of our Coriolanus Snow, their lives were difficult. 

How to describe it? I think of what Ruth's mother said to Ruth in the movie "Titanic": "Except for debts and titles, your father left us nothing. 

Titles are our only support." These days One sentence can basically describe the current situation of the Snow family at that time. 

The main characters in the Snow family in book are Snow's grandma (of course it's just in English, it may mean grandma, but based on the whole book, grandma is the most likely), Snow's sister Tigris, and Snow himself.

       Snow's grandma is an "old-fashioned" person who misses the glory of the Snow family in the past, is loyal to the Capitol, is nagging, loves to sing songs, and is discriminatory towards people in the district.

Author's Style: From Children's Literature to Young Adult Fiction

       Here I would like to focus on Snow’s sister Tigris. This name seems familiar to everyone, right? She is the designer who helped Katniss and the others hide in the last chapter of "The Hunger Games 3". 

People who have watched the movie must be deeply impressed by that lion's face. The old woman, as shown in the picture below, was shocked. It turns out that she is the president's sister. 

In "The Hunger Games 3", how could she be so hostile to his brother? Closer to home, in the prequel book, Tigris is a hard-working person and the backbone of the family. 

She always helps and encourages Snow when he is in trouble. She even saved Snow during the Rebellion War. She has sympathy for the people in the district.

Tigris in the movie "The Hunger Games 3"

       The Snow family lives in the Capitol City. It is a tall flat-roofed building. It is probably the ancestral home of the Snow family. 

Standing on the roof, you can overlook the entire Capitol. Snow's mother had a small cosmetic box with a hollow rose pattern carved on the lid, which contained rose-flavored cosmetic powder. 

After Snow's mother died, Snow's grandmother, probably out of missing her daughter, stayed on the roof of Snow's house. I grow a lot of red roses and like to grow them in the greenhouse during the winter. 

What impressed Snow the most was the scent of his mother's roses, so he would always take out his mother's relics - the makeup box at night, open the lid, and smell the roses inside. 

Later, Snow went to the station to greet Lucy, and he also obeyed his sister. Tigris suggested bringing a white rose as a gift. 

Before the start of the 10th Hunger Games, Snow lent her mother's rose-shaped makeup powder box to Lucy. First, she hoped that Lucy would think of herself when she saw the makeup box. 

Second, Snow replaced the makeup powder inside with mice. medicine, telling Lucy that she can use it to poison people in the game. N years later, after Snow became the president, he still liked to carry roses with him and smell the scent of roses. He even always " sent " roses to Katniss.

       It is necessary to introduce Snow’s classmates here. There are 24 students as tutors. As shown in the figure, the ones that appear more frequently in the book are marked with blue lines.

List of tributes and corresponding mentors from The 10th Hunger Games

       Strictly speaking, Snow has no close friends in the academy. Except for Sejanus (the superficial friendship also developed later), Snow's relationship with everyone else is average. Let’s introduce them one by one:

Sejanus Plinth: The son of the Plinth family. Their family comes from District 2. His father is a manufacturer in District 2. 

He sided with the President of Panem during the war, made a fortune selling arms, and moved to the capital. Sejanus was born in District 2 and has a deep affection for District 2. 

Although he lives in the capital, he believes that his real "home" is in District 2. Snow initially thought that the Plinth family were competitors of the Snow family, and looked down on the outsider Sejanus from the bottom of his heart. 

However, as the plot develops, Sejanus becomes an important figure that affects Snow's life, which will be mentioned later.

Persephone Price: The female character, this name is very easy to remember, "phone" and "price", the author's name is really interesting, not taking the usual path. Persephone is the daughter of Nero Price. As for Nero, he once ate the legs of the corpse of his maid during the Rebellion War. This made Snow very disgusted, so when he saw Persephone, Snow felt "sick to his stomach", but She's still a nice person.

Festus Creed: He is also the son of a prominent family in the capital. His family's wealth is concentrated in the lumber business in District 7. Although the business was affected during the war, it gradually recovered during the reconstruction of the capital.

Juno Phipps: A female character and one of the famous haters. Juno often emphasizes her noble blood and is hated by Snow.

Hilarius Heavensbee: Does the name sound familiar? Yes, the name of the Gamemaker who appeared in "The Hunger Games 2" and "The Hunger Games 3" is Plutarch Heavensbee, as shown in the picture below. I have reason to guess that Hilarius and Plutarch are related. The Heavensbee family is extremely wealthy, and the name of the hall in Snow's college is Heavensbee Hall.

Plutarch Heavensbee, the game designer in the movie "The Hunger Games 2"

Arachne Crane: One of the famous nuisances, a neighbor of the Snow family, who always likes to make a lot of noise and tease people. Her final destination is also expected. In addition, her name also reminds people of Seneca Crane, the game designer in the movie "The Hunger Games". As shown in the picture, they are probably related. It seems that there are not many good people in the Crane family.

Game designer Seneca Crane in "The Hunger Games" movie

Clemensia Dovecote: A female character who once lied to Gamemaker with Snow, but was bitten by a mutant snake (details will be written later). As a result, she was bitten by a snake and was afraid of good ropes for ten years. Later in the game, Snow apologizes and is forgiven. The people are still good, not bad.

Felix Ravinstill: The grandnephew of the president at the time, who got his mentor role through the back door. However, the relationship between the president's relatives did not bring good luck to him and the tributes he directed, so he received lunch in advance.

Lysistrata Vickers: A female character who is responsible for guiding Jessup, the male tribute in District 12. Because Snow guides a female tribute from the same district, Lysistrata wants to unite with Snow to cope with the game. However, Snow was more independent in the early stage, which made Lysistrata a little annoyed. In the later stage, When the situation demanded it, he gave up his own tribute and instead helped Snow's female tribute. He is a nice person and reasonable.

Key Figures: Tributes, Mentors, and Game Designers

Some "adult" roles in the academy need to be introduced:

Volumnia Gaul: Dr. Gaul, also known as Dr. Gaul, is a game designer. I don’t know if you have seen the animation "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse". 

The impression of Dr. Gaul is similar to Olivia Octavius in the animation ( Doctor Octopus), a ruthless female character who hides a knife behind her smile and is cunning, cunning, and cold-blooded. 

She also played an important role in Snow's growth. She gave Snow a lot of "reminders" and accepted many of Snow's suggestions about games.

Olivia Octavius (Doctor Octopus) in "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" animation

Casca Highbottom: The dean of Snow's college is also a ruthless character. Because he has issues with Snow's father, he always likes to find fault with Snow (if he is bold enough to find fault with the future president, he will definitely not end well), and he Love "taking drugs", which is the posca mentioned in the "Hunger Games" series.

Origins of "The Hunger Games": Historical Context

       One thing to mention here is why is this killing game called "The Hunger Games"? In fact, the name was very strange when I first saw it. Even after watching the movie, I still didn't understand it well. 

However, in this prequel, there is a good explanation: when the districts outside the capital rebelled, the capital was to be taken into account. 

The strategy of encirclement and closure was to starve the people of the capital and cut off the food supply in the city. Due to the shortage of food in the capital, there was even a phenomenon of eating corpses. 

Later, after the war, to punish the rebellious districts, the people of the capital hung up the "game" The word "hunger" is missing. So who invented "The Hunger Games"? The answer is Lord Dean Highbottom. 

According to Dr. Gual, Highbottom invented the "Hunger Games" when he was young to punish the people of the rebellious districts. In fact, there was another person who instigated it, which will be discussed later.

a deep dive into why the ballad of songbirds & snakes book is better than the movie  *spoilers*

Book Structure and Parts: A Prelude to the Games

       The book is divided into 30 chapters, plus a postscript. The 30 chapters are divided into three parts, each part has 10 chapters. 

The reading time of each chapter of the e-book is about 30 to 50 minutes (Kindle automatically displays it, and I have verified it. Yes, not much different). There are three parts, each with a title, namely "Mentor", "Reward" and "Peacekeeper". 

In my own words, they are actually "before the game", "in the game" and "after the game". Seen this way, it’s easier to understand.

       As mentioned before, the author assumes that the reader has already read the "Hunger Games" series. In the beginning, Snow was looking for clothes to wear to attend the "mentor" meeting (which is to announce which student mentors are the tributes of which district). 

His family was poor and did not have decent clothes. His hard-working sister Tigris found some curtains from the hostess who hired her. Waiting for the "leftovers", I made a beautiful outfit for Snow. 

PS: Before the prequel was published, the publisher deliberately published a portrait of Snow in his youth on the website. In the painting, the young Snow wore a dark green coat with gold trim on the sleeves and collar. 

However, according to the description in the book, the top that my sister made for Snow, material is linen, the overall color is light yellow, and the cuffs and collar are black velvet, with gold and black square buttons

Image of Coriolanus Snow in his youth as depicted on the publisher's website

Preparation for the Games: Mentorship and Challenges

       As you can imagine, the subsequent plot is that Snow was chosen to guide the tributes from the worst district, District 12, and she was also a female tribute. This made Snow feel insulted, but if Snow had given up at this time, this book would not have been written. 

Of course, he chose to accept it. As for the names of the tributes, they were drawn later on the Reaping Day of each district. The one drawn in District 12 was Lucy Gray, who is our heroine. 

There is an episode here. When Lucy walks to the stage, she deliberately "gives" a small snake hidden in her clothes to the mayor's daughter Mayfair, which scares her so much that the mayor wants to vent his anger on his daughter. 

After slapping Lucy, the whole scene attracted many students watching in front of the big screen, as well as urban citizens. Snow felt that this was a good sign because the exposure of the tributes he was about to guide increased, and Snow began to have confidence in himself. 

Also, Lucy hummed a song live on stage, and not only the people in District 12 at the lottery site, but also the peacekeepers were fascinated.

       Later, Snow decides to go to the train station to greet Lucy in person, but the train that transported the tributes is not the luxury train in "The Hunger Games", but a dilapidated carriage used to pull animals, and it pulled 24 people from 12 districts at once. come over. 

At the station, except for the peacekeeper, only Snow among the instructors came to pick her up. He met Lucy once and had a brief conversation. 

Lucy saw the white rose, pinched a petal with her hand, and put it into her mouth to taste it. Snow felt that he should go further, and he followed the tributes into the truck. 

In the truck, Snow was almost strangled to death by Reaper, the strong male tribute from District 11, but fortunately Lucy "rescued" him in time.

       In "The Hunger Games", the tributes all have a dedicated tribute building, with an independent floor in their own area. The facilities are luxurious and they have no worries about food and drink. 

However, this was not the case in the 10th Hunger Games 64 years ago. The 24 tributes + our Snow instructor were sent to a large cage in the zoo. As Snow said, it reminded him of the animal cages in the circus performances he watched when he was a child. 

Snow was confused at first, but he soon regained his composure and took advantage of the surrounding environment and the audience at the scene (outside the cage) (there were also news reporters from the capital) to warmly introduce Lucy and him to the citizens of the Capitol. themselves, and got a great response. It was enough to be in a cage in the zoo. 

What was even worse was that there was no food in the first few days. The tributes were all very hungry. Snow brought some food from home and gave it to Lucy, and also had a "picnic feast". 

Later, perhaps because they saw Snow's actions on TV and in news reports, more and more mentors began to give food to their tributes. 

At the same time, Snow also began to encourage urban citizens, especially children, to go to the zoo to give food to tributes. Our food crisis has been temporarily lifted. 

In a subsequent process when the instructor was delivering food to the tributes, Arachne Crane accidentally had his throat cut by the other party (the female tribute Brandy from District 9) because he was teasing (teasing the other person with a sandwich). He became a character in the book. 

The first mentor to die deserved it. During the process, Snow tried to save her, but eventually, she lost too much blood and died. 

However, Snow was regarded as a rescue hero by the people in the capital, and even as a "Friends" of Arachne Crane. Afterward, the capital and college held a grand funeral for Arachne Crane, and the then-president was present. 

Snow was "rewarded" with singing the national anthem for his "heroic" behavior, and Snow's voice was recorded and was often played in the media thereafter.

       Before Arachne Crane's funeral, there was an important episode. At the college's mentor group discussion, Snow was the first to propose tribute betting, which is betting in "The Hunger Games". 

The difference is that the betting is all food and Water, Snow's proposal was later brought to Gamemaker Dr. Gaul by Snow's classmate Festus Creed, and she expressed that she could actively consider it (it was eventually adopted). 

Snow later went to Dr. Gaul's weapon department laboratory with Clemensia Dovecote to submit a homework report on game suggestions. 

In fact, Snow wrote this report alone, Clemensia did not write it. To take care of the former, Snow lied to Dr. Gaul. It was co-written by the two of them. Dr. Gaul is not someone who is easily deceived. 

There is a highly venomous mutant snake in a box in the laboratory (Snow calls them rainbow snakes because of their colorful colors). Dr. Gaul threw Snow's report into the box. inside, and then asked Snow and Clemensia to reach into the box respectively (because they had to repeat the report content to Dr. Gaul, and there was no paper version). 

When Clemensia reached out to grab it, the Rainbow Snake gave her a bite, and she was poisoned on the spot and sent to the hospital. Dr. Gaul told Snow that the rainbow snake could identify the smell of paper. 

The report was written by Snow alone. Only Snow's smell was left on the paper, and there was no smell of Clemensia. 

Of course, Clemensia was bitten when she went to get it. Our Clemensia stayed in the hospital for a long time, and Snow visited her during the trip. She was seriously poisoned, and it even affected the color of her skin. 

Later, there was a bomb explosion during the tribute parade, which we will talk about later. The time jumps directly to the night before the game starts. Snow and Lucy meet for the last time. 

The two kiss passionately for the first time. They are like a boyfriend and girlfriend. Snow secretly gives Lucy some food and asks her to keep it and bring it into the competition. 

At the same time, he gave her a "magic weapon" - a rose cosmetic box with rat poison hidden inside. 

It was the cosmetic box left by his mother, but the cosmetic powder inside was replaced with highly toxic rat poison, so that Lucy When convenient, she poisoned the water to kill the tributes who competed with her.

       In addition, I also want to mention that on many occasions, Lucy will "sing affectionately". She is the lead singer of the band Corvey, and her singing is very meaningful. 

For details, you still need to read the original book yourself. I won’t mention it here, but just like the title of the book, the ballad is used throughout the plot.

Next, let’s talk about the highlight – the game

Game Developments: Twists, Turns, and Fatalities

       I have a habit of reading. When there are too many characters in the book, I have to prepare a piece of paper to record the names of the characters. 

For example, I have read Arthur Clark's "Meet Rama" before, and also There is "Sky Bee" by Higashino Keigo. Both of them have too many character names, which is very easy to forget. 

You have to scroll forward, which is very annoying. In this book, there are a total of 24 tributes, from 12 districts, with 2 people from each district. There are many characters. 

The author may also be aware of this, so the names of the tributes are always mentioned repeatedly in the form of a list in the book. , the district to which it belongs, and the name of the corresponding instructor.

       I printed the table on a small piece of paper and then made some small marks as the plot developed to facilitate understanding and analysis. 

For the fate of the tributes in the 10th Hunger Games (the game is not the focus of this book), you can refer to the words and marks on the small pieces of paper I recorded. 

The secant represents the death of the tribute, the cross represents the death of the mentor, the red line represents those who died for some reason before the game started (most of them were killed by bombs), the blue line represents those who died after the game officially started, the numbers represent the order of death, the red star represents the final winner, and the text on the secant line represents those who were killed. Who killed or how. Of course, as you can see in the picture, the final winner is Lucy Gray.


Arena and Explosive Start: Unveiling the 10th Hunger Games

       Before the game started, the first one to die was Brandy, a girl from District 10, who was shot to death by the peacekeeper because she killed her mentor Arachne Crane (who had his throat cut with a knife) because the latter Sandwich teases the former, and here our Snow once tried to save Crane's life but failed. 

Later, to give other tributes a warning, Dr. Gaul asked the tributes to parade in the arena for a week, and this process should be accompanied by a mentor. 

This could be regarded as the mentor from Panam not being afraid of the tributes from Distinct and encouraging the former.

       Here, the gaming arena comes on stage. I have watched the "Hunger Games" series of movies before and then went back to read the original book to better understand the specific plot. 

If I want to talk about what impressed me most about the book, it would be the various science fiction arenas. 

Those strange traps, hunting tools, and shielding force fields are very pleasing, especially for me who is a technical person. 

But the arena in this prequel is really an "arena". Maybe my expectations were too high. There was no such luxurious arena 64 years before the main story happened. 

The arena in the book is similar to The Colosseum in Italy and is very similar to that of ancient Rome. It is in ruins and dilapidated. It was formerly a stadium in Panem. 

Later, the District's rebellion war occurred, which caused serious damage to the stadium. After the war, the waste was recycled and has been used as a venue for the Hunger Games.

       Closer to home, during the parade of tributes, bombs exploded around the gates of the arena and inside the arena (the book does not specify who planted the bombs, but it may have been rebels), killing the male and female tributes from District 6 on the spot. 

Along with their two mentors, the two tributes from the first area tried to escape the chaos and were shot to death by the peacekeeper at the gate. The female tribute from the second area fell from a waterfall not far outside the arena during their escape. 

Death, Marcus, the male tribute in District 2, managed to escape (caught before the game started), and the male and female tributes in District 9, as well as the male tribute's mentor, were seriously injured. 

Later, all three died of their injuries. Snow was also injured in the explosion. And Lucy saved his life. 

By the way, the plot arrangement of this bomb explosion is really a bit ridiculous. Seven tributes flew into the sky at once. 

In addition, the male tribute from District 5 later died of asthma. Nine people were killed before the game started. Lucy Suddenly one-third of the competitors were lost.

Game Conclusion: The Winner and Unraveled Alliances

       After the game started, Marcus, the male tribute from District 2, was captured and tied to a high X-shaped iron frame for public display. When the bell rang, it meant that the game officially started. 

Because of the previous explosion, many caves were blasted around the arena, and these caves were connected to each other. Most of the tributes chose to hide in these man-made caves. 

By the way, one of the special ones among these tributes is Reaper, the male tribute from District 11. He is strong and has always been favored. He is also the one who attacked (choked) Snow in the truck transporting tributes. 

Next, Lamina, the female tribute from District 7, used her climbing skills to climb onto the cantilever beam of the iron frame where Marcus was tied, killed Marcus with an axe, and "set up camp" on the cantilever beam because it was a high place to look at. 

Far away, there is no need to worry about attacks from other tributes (it’s too early to tell). The female tribute in District 11 died of disease (tuberculosis), possibly because she was from the same district. Reaper seemed a little sad.

       As time went by, an episode occurred. Sejanus, Marcus' mentor, and Snow's classmate and friend, suddenly sneaked into the arena at night and knelt in front of Marcus' body to "move in silence." Snow was nominally Sejanus. His friend was forced by Dr. Gaul to go inside the arena to fish Sejanus out. 

However, during the process of taking Sejanus away, four tributes attacked Snow and Sejanus one after another. Snow accidentally killed District 8 out of self-defense. 

The male tribute Bobbin (died after being hit on the temple by a plate-like object), the other three tributes, namely the male tribute Mizzen and the female tribute Coral from the 4th area, and the male tribute Tanner from the 10th area, threw javelins and other weapons, causing Sejanus' leg Injured. 

Snow was taken to the hospital (the laboratory where Dr. Gaul worked) and was later cured and discharged, while Sejanus disappeared after being cured.

Arena Strategies Unveiled

       The next day, the game continued as usual. Mizzen, the male tribute in District 4, Coral, the female tribute, and Tanner, the male tribute in District 10, formed a three-person team alliance. Coral hunted and killed Sol, the female tribute in District 5. 

At this time, the protagonist Lucy Gray debuted in the game for the first time. She was chased by the male tribute Jessup from the same area, who had rabies because he was bitten by a small raccoon with rabies virus while sleeping in the zoo. 

Later, when Lucy was in a dilemma, Jessup's mentor Lysistrata was forced to give up on Jessup and decided to help Lucy. 

She thought of the fear of water in rabies patients and used a drone to drop "water bombs" to scare Jessup away. Jessup was finally cured of rabies. Invalid death. The three-person alliance mentioned before targeted Lamina on the cantilever. 

Tanner throws a trident under the cantilever (Tanner has multiple tridents, which is different from the setting in "The Hunger Games") to scare Lamina. Coral and Mizzen climbed up the cantilever from both ends of the pillar at the same time. 

Later, Lamina was killed by Coral, and Mizzen was injured in the leg. After the two went down to the ground, Tanner stepped forward to check Mizzen's injury but was attacked from behind by Coral with a trident. Mizzen faces Tanner from the front for a last hit, and Tanner dies. This is quite realistic. It seems that the alliance is just using each other. 

If you are not careful, you will die at the hands of your ally. Then the next person to die was Wovey, the female tribute from District 8, who drank water she shouldn't have in the cave (poisoned by Lcuy with rat poison).

      Next comes a big scene in the game: releasing the snake. At the end of Snow's hospitalization, he guessed from Dr. Gaul's words that she would release a mutant snake (called the Rainbow Snake by Snow) into the arena to "punish" the tributes. When Snow left the hospital, he secretly took a bag with his father's initials printed on it. 

The handkerchief with the letters was put into the pool containing the snake, because Lucy had come into contact with this handkerchief before, and Snow felt that the snake would not attack Lucy after smelling the smell of the handkerchief. When the rainbow snakes were put into the arena, they began to pounce on the tributes quickly. 

You can imagine the scene in the movie "World War Z" where zombies scramble to climb the wall and "bite" people. The snakes have bitten to death the male tribute Cire from District 3 and the female tribute Coral from District 4. Lucy was also surrounded by snakes, but the snake did not bite Lucy. 

Instead, it followed Lucy in circles as she sang. After the song stops, the Rainbow Snakes Stay still (sleep) around Lucy. 

When I read this, I really wondered how future movies would show a scene where a bunch of rainbow snakes circle around a female singer. After heavy rain at night, most of the snakes died the next morning because they were not adapted to the natural environment. Lucy was really lucky. 

Then, Teslee, the electrically strong person from District 3, "hacked" the drone that delivered food, and used the drone to hit Mizzen, the tribute from District 4 (who had not accepted Teslee's rescue request before, and was resented by Teslee). face, Mizzen lost his footing and fell to his death. 

The mantis stalks the cicada and the oriole follows, and while Teslee is enjoying herself, the male tribute from District 7, Treech (a low-key character, but very clever), sneaks up behind her and hacks Teslee to death with an axe. 

Later, when Lucy comes out of the cave to drink water (and poisons the water after drinking), Treech tries to attack Lucy from behind but is bitten to death by Lucy with a rainbow snake hidden in her clothes. 

At this point, Reaper and Lucy were the only ones left in the arena. The former refused to accept the water and food delivered by his mentor using a drone, and his body was about to collapse. 

Later, when he drank the water from the pit, He was poisoned by the poison Lucy had given him before.

     In the end, Lucy won. (applause for encouragement)

     However, Snow did not get his reward. Instead, he was called to Dean Highbottom's office. The dean showed him three items: the tablecloth Lucy carried, Snow's mother's makeup box, and the rainbow snake that Snow put in the pool. handkerchief. The cheating was exposed, and Snow faced expulsion and punishment. 

However, the dean proposed a "remedial" measure, which was that Snow had to be a peacekeeper, and he had to be a peacekeeper for 20 years. Snow had no choice but to accept it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

After Reading: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The 3.5 cm thick took me half a month to read it slowly. It mainly talks about the "growth" history of President Snow: an eighteen or nineteen-year-old child who originally had both humanity and cruelty. 

After experiencing the Hunger Games, short-term love, and increasingly cold-blooded self-interest, After an act of ism, the latter finally prevailed.

My biggest feeling after reading it is that this book gets better and better towards the end. The first two parts, "The Mentor" and "The Prize" - mainly talking about the 10th Hunger Games - are actually a bit disappointing to read. 

There is a lot of nonsense, and the plot is just advancing dryly. Mr. Snow describes every day in detail, and after reading hundreds of pages, I found that only a few days have passed in the book... 

Some supporting characters are a bit flat, and some only show their faces; some places are written with a feeling It's a bit deliberate, and the logic is weird... but it doesn't look very good anyway. 

But starting from the third part "The Peacekeeper", the plot took a turn for the worse and finally started to look better; especially the ending of the last three chapters, it was quite exciting! Little Snow completes his final transformation in these three chapters, which makes people's heads tingle and adrenaline surge while reading.

After reading and reviewing the whole book, I found a very interesting point. Think about it, a book with thirty chapters has a lot of nonsense at the beginning, and the transformation of the protagonist is explained in the last three chapters. It feels very abrupt, but it is quite reasonable and not lacking in persuasion in the book. 

What is going on? Woolen cloth? In fact, when readers first read it, they may not feel that there is anything scary about this overly cautious middle school boy; blah blah, the book keeps writing about his various situations and various little thoughts, which makes the reader's perspective It seems to be on his side. 

But something is wrong as I read it: Snow was ruthless and ruthless when he was studying in school, and he would do anything to achieve his goals; but later it was discovered that he was like this in everything in life, calculating carefully, ignoring human feelings, and even betraying and killing people... 

In the end, as the plot progresses, his true face naturally emerges: when faced with choices, Snow completely excludes human nature and emotions, so when the choices he faces become more and more terrifying, He becomes more and more terrifying. 

Snow's cold-bloodedness has been in his character from the beginning. He does everything for his own consideration. He is a twisted product of "civilized" society, and he treats the whole world like the Hunger Games from beginning to end.

Let’s talk about the heroine in the book. The heroine Lucy Gray is very vividly portrayed. She comes from a group that relies on song and dance performances to make a living like the Gypsies, and she appears as a tribute to District 12. 

Her story in a nutshell is that before the competition, she sponsored her and started a romance with Little Snow. During the competition, she was witty and brave and won the competition. 

After the competition, she continued to date Little Snow, played with fire, and burned herself. In the end, she left a very sad and sad story. Sad ending.

Maybe the "songbird" in the title refers to Lucy Gray, and the "snake" refers to Snow? This also echoes the characteristics of Lucy "always knows where to find a snake", a girl who loves to play with snakes... 

I think if you look at it from her perspective, this is a very different story: she fell in love with Snow He is innocent, but that kind of innocence is actually an absolute cold-bloodedness, so pure that there is no emotion. 

In Snow's cold-blooded world, she plays a romantic character who represents love and freedom; but the singing bird who longs for freedom falls in love with a cold-blooded snake, and ultimately cannot escape the tragedy of her fate.

This leads to another keyword in the book - "self-destructive", the tragedy of self-destruction. Lucy's self-destruction is due to love, Snow's friend Sejanus's self-destruction is due to the awakening of conscience; the regional tribute's self-destruction is due to the rules of the Hunger Games, which twistedly proves the statement of "human nature is evil" and allows the controller to have his control reasons. 

What Snow experienced was actually a process of self-destruction: at the end of the story, he destroyed his own humanity. His self-destruction was due to the "civilization" and "education" he received. 

He believed that human nature is chaos. , needs rules (contract) to control (control); and also because of "Snow lands on top" - his identification with the hopeless extreme of egoism and elitism.

At the end of the book, Snow throws away the relics of his once-beloved mother. He no longer needs its comfort... 

In the end, he only leaves his father's compass, indicating that he inherited his father's cold-bloodedness rather than his mother's softness. The battle between humanity and cruelty in him finally ended with the victory of the latter, and the development of the great devil was completed.

In addition to the origin stories of President Snow, The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, and other related things, the connection between this book and the main story is also the song The Hanging Tree. 

Reading this prequel will reveal who created it, what story it tells, and the role it plays in Snow's experience. When I read this song in the prequel, I felt really shocked. 

Everything seemed to be connected in series with the main story: more than sixty years later, when the melody of "The Hanging Tree" sounded again in Panem, that was When Snow's nightmare returned, it's as if Lucy Gray's ghost is causing trouble, returning to denounce Snow's ruthlessness. (From now on, the hanging tree becomes even taller ×

There are also some Easter eggs related to the main story in the book, such as some familiar surnames such as Heavensbee and Crane, which are related to some characters in the main story; and it is revealed in the book that Snow's cousin is named Tigris, which is related to the character in the third part of the main story. 

The tattooed costume designer who protected Katniss and others in Capitol has the same name, maybe he is the same person? But the book doesn't reveal why she later hated Snow so much. 

But considering Snow's darkening process, this may not be surprising. There is also an Easter egg in which Katniss is named after an edible plant in the book.

Because the dramatic change in the plot at the end is really shocking, I found this book to be quite enjoyable after reading it. 

If I close my eyes, I can still see the scene of Snow chasing Lucy in the forest, which is quite exciting. The blackening seems to be just a thought, but the snake's blood is cold from beginning to end.

Anyway, the first book I read in full in August, finished Spreading Flowers!

Muhiuddin Alam is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He serves as a consistent contributor to various websites and publications, including Medium, Quora, Reddit, Linkedin, Substack, Vocal, Flipboard, and Amazon KDP. Alam personally read numerous books and, for the past 10 years, has been providing book recommendations and reviews. Find Me: About Me & Google Knowledge Panel.

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