Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games, #0
Published: May 19, 2020
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-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 out charm, 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.
Snow lands on top”❄️
I am a big Hunger Games fan, so when they announced that this book was being released I decided I would read it no matter what, even if it was about President Snow. I honestly don’t know where to even start with this one, so I am doing something a bit different and separating my review into likes and dislikes.
We all know Coriolanus Snow turns out to be an evil bastard, but what I wanted to know was how? What was the turning point in his life? What made him into HIM? Unfortunately, for approximately ninety percent of the book all I got was a story about a regular, albeit ambitious guy who had to make hard choices when he was put into tough situations. Then, in the last ten percent of the book I was not even remotely prepared for the changes in his character, and I had whiplash by the time I was done. I feel like these changes should have been more gradual.
I also cannot go into detail when it comes to Coriolanus’s relationship with Lucy Gray without giving away any spoilers, but I did not like the way it was handled at all. Just like his character arch, their relationship would have benefitted from a more gradual development, and then a steady decline. This is not what I got. Instead, at the end of their story I felt like I had been slapped with this random unsatisfying ending and left with a LOT of unanswered questions.
Okay, now that I got all that off my chest. I did enjoy the non-stop action in this book, and it was very emotional being back in the Hunger Games and experiencing the very beginning when the games were not as elaborate and immersive as they later became. I really liked finding the little Easter eggs along the way, which were in the form of familiar characters, animals, items, and songs from the original Hunger Games. It was nice finding out how certain aspects of the later Hunger Games came to be.
I liked that the mentors had their own side game going on as well, and that they were being put through almost as much as the tributes were. My favorite character, and in my opinion the only one with any redeeming qualities, was Tigris. I admired her resourcefulness and loyalty to her family, especially to Coriolanus. I enjoyed learning about many of the behind the scenes workings of the Hunger Games, from the way tests were performed on people and animals at the lab, to how the Peace Keepers were trained.
My whole initial rant aside, if you are a Hunger Games fan you won’t want to skip this one. Like I told someone on Instagram recently, just keep telling yourself “He’s the villain, he’s the villain,” and you shouldn’t have as much of a shock as I did. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy/YA fans, and Hunger Games fanatics should definitely read it.