You might remember from my Hunger Games review that I gave it an 8/10. You might also remember that it dropped points for its ending… Suzanne Collins returns to the land of the Hunger Games and brings us a prequel. I heard about this the day it was published and immediately bought it on my kindle.
As said, above, this is a prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy. We are in the Capitol and are 10 years after the war that started the Hunger Games and divided Panem the way it was.
We are following a young Snow. We learn his family had money but they had invested it all in District 13 – now meaning that they have no money as it was destroyed in the war. We find out that Snow’s mother died in childbirth and his father died in battle. Snow and his cousin Tigris (remember her?) are raised by their mentally ailing grandmother. Because of the lack of money, Snow is hoping to do well at school to get a free scholarship to the university. The family can no longer afford to send him there on their own anymore.
This year is the 10th Hunger Games. They are very different to those that we learned of in the trilogy. Still in its infancy and raw form. This year, they have decided to have the last year students be mentors for the districts to get the Capitol interested in them as no one is. In a seemingly public slight of Snow, he is given District 12’s girl to mentor. The worst one tribute. Snow must now battle with his own morals, the law and his unquenchable desire to win to succeed, not only in the games, but in life too.
This book is a bit of a mixed bag. I thought following Snow around in his early years was interesting. What makes such an evil man evil? And to be honest, I’m still wondering.
As you get into the book, the pacing is the same as the previous trilogy and makes for a great read. The relationships and character building that Collins has shines again.
But this, this is the problem… She creates these amazing worlds and characters and had you invested and then fizzles at the end. Again. I don’t think the reason for Snow starting down the path of evil was good enough. The stakes not high enough. Yes he was always selfish and you can see that throughout but how evil we know him to go doesn’t work for me.
Honestly, I think she should have made it a new trilogy. This book has a natural split. Easy to make it into 2 books and flesh them out a little. That would leave time for a 3rd where it could answer some questions. I was fine with these questions being not being answered from the last trilogy but Collins opened it up when she made this prequel and has left me disappointed. How does the Capitol turn into such a preening place? Why does Tigris turn on her own cousin? How does Snow go so deep into the evil we see in the trilogy? How does he become President? I think another book, set a few years after the end of this one would be welcomed.
Giving a score is a hard one for this. On the one hand, it was great to read for 4/5’s of it. But I was left disappointed. It also didn’t have 2 previous books to help temper the ending. 6.5/10. That ending 😦