I don’t know why I read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes other than the fact I am a completionist and it is officially part of The Hunger Games trilogy because it is a pet peeve of mine when authors play revisionist history within their canon.
Our protagonist is Coriolanus Snow, a Capital resident who is finishing up high school and tapped to mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games. On the line as a mentor is the opportunity to attend the University on a scholarship and while Snow is from a prominent family they lost most of their money during the preceding war and this is a big deal. He ends up getting matched with Lucy Gray, a girl for District 12, who charms the Capital with her ability to sing. There are a lot of differences between these Games and the ones we see in The Hunger Games, namely how the Tributes are treated leading up to the Arena. We are supposed to feel for Corio because he thinks the Games are bad and that the District kids are people too but he also writes a paper that helps shape the Games we see later on.
“What young brains lack in experience they sometimes make up for in idealism. Nothing seems impossible to them.”
I think if Collins wanted this to be a more believable transformation from Corio the student to President Snow we needed a slower, possibly multibook transition. The way this is mapped out is just not believable storytelling.
Spoilers and a question/ quibble:
Am I crazy that Haymitch was the only winner to ever come from District 12? Is this some technicality I forgot over the years from the book that he is the only living victor which is why he was the only mentor possible? Because I just rewatched the movie over the summer and I do not remember that particular call out.
But! Even then- why is it not mentioned at all that it is not totally impossible to expect Katniss, a girl from District 12, to win because it had happened before but just a really long time ago (with someone much less prepared than she appears to be since no one knew Corio was helping Lucy Gray)? Even a through away line about how there were two winners but one never got to enjoy her victory because she disappeared.
Anyway, I could not get over this and it ruined an already mediocre story. Make her a District 11 girl and don’t make me feel the need to reread the original.