Bingo Square: Green
Suzanne Collins is back with another book in the Hunger Games world. This time it’s a prequel, following Coriolanus Snow – later President Snow, of course – as he navigates the world of the Capitol. 18 Years old, the once glorious house of Snow is struggling. Their money is gone, and all that’s left is their penthouse apartment and their class status. Snow needs to make it to graduation and go to university in an attempt to keep himself, his grandmother and cousin in the life they are accustomed to.
The Hunger Games itself has been going for ten years at this point. Nowhere near as popular as it will be in Katniss’s time, the tributes are thrown in the arena starving and weak, the place itself a collapsing ruin. No one wants to watch. This year’s twist is student mentors, and Snow is one of them. His fate becomes tied to his tributes’, and if she can stay alive, then maybe he can win a free ride to university and save his family’s fortunes after all. But Lucy Gray catches his eye in more ways than one. Her beautiful singing voice and spunky attitude means he has a contender on his hands, one he may be falling for. Can she win the Games, score Snow his rightful university place, and maybe love him back?
I really enjoy Collins’ writing for the most part. It’s generally a quick read, one that I want to go back to, full of interesting characters. And I did read the first half very quickly. But then it became a bit of a slog and the reservations I’d had when I head the subject of this book seemed well founded. Because is the story necessary? Do we need Snow’s history? Does it add anything to the world as a whole? I don’t think it does. If you want to show the Hunger Games in its infancy then you could choose any number of people to focus on for a new story. Lucy Gray’s voice would have been better, for example. Snow himself is not anyone to root for, does not seem torn in his loyalties or misunderstood. He’s out for himself and the legacy of the Snow name. From the very beginning his character is the same, there’s no real arc. Even his so-called affection for Lucy Gray is obsessive and full of jealousy, not actual love. There’s no other side to him. It’s not an origin story that I can see, one that shows how he lost his way. He was always lost. So why? And if there is no greater point is it still worth reading? There are some call-forwards I guess, and we see some origins of songs (although there are too many of those), but I could have skipped this one and missed nothing.