The Hero of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Prequel Pricks Like Thorns

Everyone who devoured Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series has been on the edge of their Capitol arena seats waiting for the release of her prequel novel set 64 years in the past. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be out in May this year, and we just a got a look at where that novel is taking us, or rather, with whom.

Read the first excerpt from the novel exclusively on

If the name Coriolanus doesn’t immediately prick your senses, it’s because you know him better simply by his surname, Snow. Yes, somehow, Suzanne Collins is picking back up her award-winning dystopian world with the most controversial character of all: the genocidal, corrupt President as he once was — a young man with something to prove.

I would doubt that she would be capable of pulling off such an impressive feat, except for the last line of the excerpt, which had all of Collins’ signature end-of-chapter weight and heft, while also pricking like thorns.

Coriolanus was beginning to think they had forgotten him—perhaps they were giving him some special position?—when, to his horror, he heard Dean Highbottom mumble, “And last but least, District Twelve girl…she belongs to Coriolanus Snow.” 

It takes no feat of memory to remember exactly what it felt like to finish the first chapter of The Hunger Games and have the breath knocked out of you with a phrase. This feels exactly like that.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be released on May 19, 2020.

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Excerpt from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes © 2020 by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Inc

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