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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

A Hunger Games Novel
Written by: Suzanne Collins
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Series: Hunger Games
Length: 16 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (457 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2020 Suzanne Collins (P)2020 Scholastic Inc.

What listeners say about The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing to have another hunger games novel! But...

Narrator definitely could have put more effort in to the parts that were supposed to be musical instead of mechanically talking through them.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Was this needed? Yes it was.

When I heard about this book and I honestly didn’t think we needed it. Then I listened to it on here and my god it was needed. Go listen to it!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Audio production

The audio production of this book is abysmal.
This review refers strictly to the quality of the audio, not the narrator. The edits are jarring and the sound quality of the narration at these points is just plain bad.
If I didn’t want to see how the story turns out, I would return it immediately.
If this was my work, I would be embarrassed.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 2020-05-24

What a ride

This one really tugs on your emotions. Sympathizing with a character we all know to be inherently evil. Wondering the whole time when the turning point will come. This book had me guessing the whole time. Prequels are not normally my cup of tea but I found myself giddy every time a familiar name, place, and inanimate object came into play. The narrator was good, though he could have used with some variety in the female voices, they all sounded very similar and very “man trying to sound like a girl” if you know what I mean.

Overall very pleased with it.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loved the story, narration not so great

I love the world of the hunger games, and Suzanne Collins is an amazing author! This was a great addition to the world, and give you a great insite in future president snow! Sure hope she writes more in the in between time.... Would love to read them! Santino reads a little slow at times and inflections and pauses come at weird times.... And the singing is talking which is annoying.... Kind of ruins the hanging tree.... Sung by both Tatiana maslani (reads the audible version of the trilogy) and Jennifer Lawrence, it's amazing... Him not so much.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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great book, bad editing.

the book was great. my problem was the editing of the audio book was poor. they mashed in edits where he clearly was in a different studio or using different equipment. He was good outside of the bad editing.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Wow!

I came into this sceptical, I didn’t feel like we needed a Snow prequel book. Boy was I wrong! A fantastic read and even better listen with the great performance by Santino Fontana! I just wish he’d actually been allowed to sing!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Audio errors

I really liked the story and the narrator did an okay job, but there were several weird audio errors. I liked having the Capitol perceptive on the games and I loved Lucy Gray, but Snow kinda got more annoying as the book went on. Even with that I feel that this was a good addition to the hunger games saga.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A haunting and complex read

Back when I was younger, I was very into the hunger games series, so when I saw that this book was out, of course I had to hear it.

The writing and wording is smooth and good to listen to. The characters are complex and interesting. This book both haunted me with the dark tones and the way the main character justifies his actions, and left me spellbound with every twist and turn to come. The way the world is portrayed, just as dark as it always had been but more up front about it, absolutely absorbed me into it and captivated me.

I haven’t read or heard a book this good in a very long time. If you’re on the fence about this, it’s a must read in my opinion! Especially if you like the series, it’s an important read about some historical times in the world’s history.

1 person found this helpful

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WoW.

I didn't think this book would be anything to get excited over. Why would be possibly need a book from President Snow past and point of view?
WoW was I wrong!!!! this book was worth the wait and worth the read. definitely not what I was hoping for or expecting but far exceeding that. she is an amazing writer.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr.
  • 2020-05-19

All about the narrator

I listen to audiobooks. A lot. So, I know something about narrators. A good narrator fades into the background as the characters rise through their voice, creating a seamless performance. Santino Fontana is not a good narrator. A good reader, but not a narrator. The book is read in a monotone with zero differentiation between the characters. There are several points where the characters are singing and this is not even attempted. The disconnect between the text saying that the character is singing and unemotional reading of the text is jarring. There is no good reason for a narrator this poor to be reading this book. I mean, it's the Hunger Games. They had their pick of vocal talent that they selected this guy? Now, the narrator is not going to keep me from this book. I'll probably enjoy it, too. But I will not have the immersive experience that a truly talented narrator brings to the story. It's unnecessary and a real shame.

602 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rj
  • 2020-05-19

The narration is the worst I’ve heard

This is the dullest , monotonous reading I’ve heard for a high anticipated book. Why did they choose such a horrible , Boeing reader !!

I will finish the story, but the narration will limit the number of listens.

Hopefully they re-record with better talent.

307 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Edgars Dumins
  • 2020-05-19

Bad part

Good story and interesting premise BUT the reader is not interested,he sounds bored.
I would have prefered Tatiana (original book reader) to Fontana.

219 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • amybw
  • 2020-05-19

struggling to get through chapter 1

Like others have said, this reader is awful.
He sounds like he is reading a mundane "same stuff, different day" news story.
Not much inflection. Pauses in the wrong places.
Almost as if he is reading a list.
No change of tone when changing to a flash back.
Character voices are barely changed.
When excitement happens at the reaping it brings about a yawn. :(

148 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 2020-05-19

Narrator is perfectly fine

Ok, I’ll be totally honest, this is JUST a review of the narrator. I am only a few minutes into the book but I can’t figure out why people are so up in arms. He’s fine. Sure, it’s been a VERY long time since I listened to the original books but compared to the hundreds of narrators I’ve listened to since 2005, this guy is fine. IMHO narrators tend to fall into two categories; those who do a lot of voices and bring a lot of acting to the performance and those who more or less read to you. This is a reader for sure but even in the first few minutes he’s already done a different voice for one character. I think most people will be fine with this narration once more people have listened.

122 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com
  • 2020-05-20

A Powerful Prequel

Suzanne Collins, the award-winning and best-selling author of The Hunger Games Saga, invites the readers and listeners back to this beloved series with the recently released The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

With its action set 64 years before the exhilarating events in The Hunger Games, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel, an origin story for one of the most hateful characters in this extremely appreciated works of fiction. Coriolanus Snow is a young man down on his luck, his family fortunes are gone and he is chosen to be a Mentor for one of the kids destined to fight to the death in The Hunger Games.

Fans of this series will discover how the games were in their inception, how The Capital looked 10 years after the war and most importantly, how this renowned character, hated and despised in the original stories, started his path to power.

After his excellent performance for Stephen King's The Institute, actor, singer and narrator Santino Fontana does a great job in bringing to life the events, characters and locations in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.I enjoyed Santino Fontana's delivery of this work and I am always glad to listen to him.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a great opportunity for fans of The Hunger Games to step back into this world filled with violence, action, horrors, betrayal, dirty politics, dark secrets and unforgettable characters. Although I am not a Hunger Games fan, I think I'll pick up the series as soon as I'll get some free time as I am ''hungry'' to relive the events set after this prequel.

If you liked this review please vote Helpful below and find more of them here and on theAudiobookBlog.
I also post honest reviews at the author, narrator or publisher's request, you can get in touch with me for more details.

Thank you & stay safe,
Victor

119 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JS
  • 2020-05-19

Great Narrator, Engrossing Story

I'm breaking my rule of always finishing a work before writing a review because I can't believe the reviews saying that Santino Fontana doesn't provide a good performance here. Fontana gives a measured narration that fits a third-person limited perspective. Since there is no "narrator" character in this work, (unlike the originals, where the narrator is Katniss), it wouldn't make sense for Fontana to go over the top with emotion during the narration. In fact, I would argue that it would be distracting for him to do so. He still provides proper inflection during narration and dialogue.

UPDATE: I've finished the book and am really impressed with this story. It's darker and bleaker than the original trilogy, but it's still incredibly compelling. The narrative goes to a few unexpected places and the way Suzanne Collins fleshes out Snow, adding real dimension without trying to redeem him from irredeemable actions, is an incredible feat.

81 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam
  • 2020-05-19

I like the narrator

I’m a big fan of Santino Fontana so I’m probably biased but I enjoy his narration. He does different voices for different characters. And he might be dry at times but I think it fits the character (or at least how far I’ve gotten). I honestly wasn’t going to bother listening to this until I saw he was the narrator. As for the story itself it’s such a weird choice for a prequel. Never while reading the Hunger Games trilogy was I like “oh Snow is so interesting I must know more about him”

80 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynette Garet
  • 2020-05-19

Narration not good- turn up speed.

While the story is, as expected, good, the narrator is pretty disappointing. Up the speed to 1.1- it helps.

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kallensmama
  • 2020-05-19

poor narrator so far

Just started, but so disappointed in the narration so far! ugh I was so invested in the previous narrator that it's a difficult adjustment. We'll see how it goes..

45 people found this helpful