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  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

  • A Hunger Games Novel
  • Written by: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Santino Fontana
  • Length: 16 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,375 ratings)

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Written by: Suzanne Collins
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
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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.

Editorial Review

Suzanne Collins breathtaking prequel to the bestselling Hunger Games series, the young adult science fiction series that took the world by storm, starts with an immediate bang. Suzanne Collins prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy follows young Coriolanus Snow, soon known as President Snow.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes begins on the morning of the reaping, an event that will decide with tributes from each district will compete in and fight, and will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Hunger Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, and the once-thriving family now lives in a home they cannot afford. Future President of Panem Coriolanus Snow — not the ruthless evil man he soon becomes — lives with his grandmother and cousin Tigris.

Coriolanus hopes for “the odds to ever be in his favour” as he has been given the awful task of mentoring the female tribute from the impoverished District 12, Lucy Gray Baird. Coriolanus and Lucy are now intertwined; every step they take could lead to disaster or death. With Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul at the helm and a plot to take the capital of Panem down, there is no shortage of drama.

Francis Lawrence, who helmed the original Hunger Games book to film adaptation on the big screen, directs the major motion picture The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The Hunger Games prequel movie stars Tom Blyth as Coriolanus, Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, Hunter Schafer as Tigris, Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage in supporting roles. Before the film hits the big screen, explore the world of Panem and the origin story of Coriolanus Snow before he was the ruthless adversary to hero Katniss Everdeen.

Featured Article: The Best Young Adult Audiobooks For Women Of All Ages


Many people equate "growing up" with "growing serious." But while interests may change over time, age does not have to be the deciding factor in what games you play, movies, or books you enjoy. Young adult novels are the perfect example of this. Though written with a teenage audience in mind, women of all ages are sure to enjoy the genre’s hallmarks: strong yet flawed characters, heartbreaking twists and turns, romance, and drama.

What listeners say about The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

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20 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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16 people found this helpful

  • 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.

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

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8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible

Terrible writing read by a voice actor who doesn't try very hard. The writing was so poor I didn't even realize two characters were "in love" until it was specifically written out. The main female character has no development at all, and it was hard to tell if her personality was incredibly sarcastic or just annoyingly odd. It also seems very lazy that the only 2 districts in this book are ones we've already been to in the hunger games. The author can't bother to wrote about anywhere else?
The voice actor seems to hate women. Every time he voiced one it was high pitched, extremely whiney, and made it really hard to figure out the actual tone of the character. There was also a part where someone was singing "la la la la", and he read it completely flat and monotone. It was weird.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

This is the story we didn't need...

This was hard to finish. Just hard. I kept listening hoping that it would get better and I think out of loyalty to first three lol. The narration and voices were very difficult to listen to as well. Overall would not recommend

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor narration and inconsistent pacing

The narration was monotone, slow and drowsy. The multiple songs are basically read to you, which impair their impact. A book this popular should have a better narrator.

The story is fine, but very inconsistent. Pacing is an issues; very long uninteresting bits, and a few interesting moments that could have been more detailed. I don't get Snow change in nature towards the end, it evolves badly and too fast.

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2 people found this helpful