First, let me say this: the first Hunger Games trilogy was a whole load of I DO NOT WANT THIS TO END.
Then bam!!! The book would end.
And so, when a larger-looking story associated with the Hunger Games was released, I was looking forward to that same fast-paced drama – just more of it.
This 4th book was released in 2020. Like everything in 2020, however, expectation management underperformed.
Missed the Memo
First, I missed the memo that it was a prequel, and I really wish I’d read, I don’t know, a synopsis before ripping to read the first page. I must have taken a leave of absence from the world to have missed that, but then again, neither the back of the hardback copy I had, nor the inside jacket, hinted at it being a prequel.
Anyway, prepare yourself for a book WITH PARTS. As in, Part I, Part II, and Part III. Yes, this is an epic tale that sets the stage for even more heartbreak in the original Hunger Games!
Perhaps because I was anachronistically lost, I struggled in the first portion. Did I mention I am a fan of the trilogy? Therefore, I was conditioned for fast-paced story. In this Ballad, it seemed to take FOREVER to get to Part II, where we finally get to the games!
Once the Games began, the book’s pace picked up. Even though it’s a long haul, I do believe the story is worth it. Had I quit when I wanted to, I would not be able to say that. It’s almost like you must gear up for your own battle of perseverance to even make it to the Games.
A pleasant surprise was learning more about the future President Snow, and where he started out, and what made the continuation of the Games important to him. I wasn’t expecting to read about a human side of Snow, honestly. Every good sci-fi does reconnect with the reader at a heart level, though, and this one fit the bill.
More than that, I particularly enjoyed the ethereal Lucy Gray’s role in the story. Not only is she full of mystery, she plays an essential part in how the Games evolve.
Read this if you have a long time ahead of you to get lost. But don’t expect a short, fascinating read like the other Hunger Games trilogy books.
I’m parking an extra-short blog about the book here, because it’s the only one I could find without spoilers. Plus, it’s referring to something Suzanne Collins herself revealed prior to the book’s release. Enjoy the rabbit hole!
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