Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes & Midnight Sun

Through the midst of a global pandemic and much heartache, we, as readers, have been blessed with two great treasures: Newly published books in The Hunger Games Trilogy and The Twilight Saga. My inner-teen heart was set aflutter when I learned that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Midnight Sun would both be released in the summer of 2020. And you better believe that I purchased both of these books as soon as they were published… and even better, I poured through both of them at hyper speed.

Both The Hunger Games Trilogy and The Twilight Saga were fundamental in my passion for both reading and writing. Stephanie Meyer was the first author whose words truly touched me and launched my love of creating stories for pure joy. Suzanne Collins was the author who gave me my second taste at this type of creativity. For this reason, I am grateful to both of these authors!

With that said, here are my reviews for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Midnight Sun.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

If you have never dived into the world of Panem, The Hunger Games is a trilogy based on a yearly brutal game in which blood is shed. There are twelve districts within the world of Panem, and each year one boy and one girl are chosen from each district to visit the Capitol and participate in the hunger games.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel set before the hunger games became a true central point of life in Panem. Surprisingly, this story follows the young life of Coriolanus Snow (aka President Snow), who is the villain in The Hunger Games Trilogy. When readers learned this, many were upset that we would be reading a story told from Snow’s perspective, but personally, I think it was great.

Collins wrote this book as a way to show readers the progression that Snow had from being an innocent teenager who was trying to make his way in the world into the stone-cold tyrant that he would soon become. Throughout reading this book, I began to feel such compassion for Snow that I had never quite had before. When reading the other Hunger Games books, I despised Snow; however, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes offers a fresh perspective of the humanity that Snow once had.

“People aren’t so bad, really,” she said. “It’s what the world does to them.”

― Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

In addition to gaining some compassion for Snow, Collins also offers readers a chance to gain more insight into what life is like in the Capitol. Through Snow’s perspective, readers get a glimpse at school life in the Capitol, politics, and the dangerous people who existed there in the beginning of the hunger games. As you follow along Snow’s journey in school, you learn more about how the hunger games were formed and are able to witness the vast difference between the games in the beginning verses the games we learn about in the trilogy.

Overall, I thought this book was amazing. I enjoyed reading every single page and having the opportunity to learn more about the world of Panem and the hunger games.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Years ago we all visited Forks, Washington where we learned a tale of love and darkness. In The Twilight Saga we were told a story from Bella Swan’s perspective about how she went from being a lost human to falling in love with the world of vampires (and one vampire in particular), and to becoming a powerful vampire herself within the Cullen family.

In 2008, Midnight Sun, Edward’s perspective in Twilight, was leaked. Readers got a glimpse at what Twilight told from Edward’s perspective could be like and became crazed for this book. However, since the book had been leaked, Stephanie Meyer halted working on the project. Like many other readers, I was distraught when this happened because I suddenly wanted that version of Twilight more than ever. We may have had to wait for a while, but finally Stephanie Meyer did release Midnight Sun in 2020.

Midnight Sun places a darker spin on the love story we all originally became infatuated with. In this book, readers follow along with Edward’s perspective of Twilight. We learn about the darkness that comes with being a vampire and just how strong Edward’s thirst for Bella’s blood was. We learn how, although Edward is a vegetarian vampire, he almost breaks and forsakes that nature when he first meets Bella. We follow along as Edward continues to toy with the idea of killing Bella or simply leaving Forks, until he begins to fall in love with her. Through Edward’s perspective, we learn how the love story began for him. We also learn a lot more about Bella’s true character. Edward, and those around Bella, have a much different perspective on her character than she has of herself. Through Edward’s eyes and the minds of others that he can read, we learn more about how kind, compassionate, strong, and plainly beautiful Bella truly is.

“Though I hated her, I was absolutely aware that my hatred was unjust. I knew that what I really hated was myself. And I would hate us both so much more when she was dead.”

― Stephanie Meyer, Midnight Sun

Although this book provides so much new information that readers had not been privy to in the original books, my favorite addition was learning other character’s thoughts about situations and learning more about what the Cullen family was like without Bella present. Through Edward’s perspective, we get a better glimpse of both of these things, and I believe that it adds so much more character depth to every character mentioned in the series.

I have waited for Midnight Sun to be released for so many years and I must say that I was not disappointed. This book is phenomenal and sent me back into my love affair with Twilight for the moment.

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