When I saw the new trailer for the The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie, I thought, Well, I guess I’d better read the book!
Like a lot of people, when the book was announced a couple of years ago, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. President Snow is the villain of The Hunger Games, after all.
Here’s the thing about this book: compared to Katniss’ close point-of-view in The Hunger Games, this prequel feels very distant.
The book is from Corolanius’ point of view, sure, but it’s a distant third. We’re not bathed in his fear, horror, and opinions like we are Katniss’. When the Hunger Games happen, we’re nothing but a spectator alongside Corolanius, watching from the outside. Because of this, despite it being a literal life or death situation, it didn’t feel like it actually was a life or death situation, and I found myself skimming the depictions of the Games. There’s also a myriad of side characters, and most of them felt rather flat and blurred together.
All of that being said, I thought the ending was well done.
Overall, this book was just okay. I think Collins’ publishers were probably like, “Hey, you need to write a prequel,” and she just had to roll with it. However, I do think it will translate better on screen when we can be more involved in the Games, so I still plan on watching the movie!
Alexis: Read 4/18/19
I was hesitant to read this. I put it on hold at the library so I would have time to think about it for a while, and a month later, I got an email that I could pick it up. And I decided, you know what? Why not!
For those of you who don’t know, last year, my lung spontaneously partially collapsed twice, a couple months apart. After the second one, I had surgery to adhere my lung to my chest wall so that it won’t ever happen again. But because of this, Five Feet Apart was super relatable for me. I found myself knowing how horrible it is not to be able to breathe, to literally feel your lung keep you from taking a deep breath as it fills your body with pain.
That being said, I do not have cystic fibrosis, and I can’t begin to know what it feels like to have a terminal illness. But this book brought back a lot of memories and feelings, and I identified with parts of Stella and Will’s ordeal.
Now, onto the review. I don’t have much to stay about the book other than well done. This is definitely this generation’s The Fault In Our Stars. The story is told from two different perspectives: Stella’s and Will’s. I love alternating POV’s and I found it worked really well for the story. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of Stella or Will’s characters at the beginning, I really enjoyed their journeys and their full character arcs by the end.
The writing style is very conversational. I enjoyed how the authors had the characters use so much modern technology because it felt very true to people/teenagers in real life. I will say that yes, parts of this book are cheesy, and yes, I guessed the ending halfway through. But Stella and Will’s relationship moves at an appropriate pace. I liked all of the characters’ backstories and motivations.
All in all, I think this is a solid YA read that achieves awareness of cystic fibrosis while telling a good story. I’m excited to watch the movie!
VERDICT: 4 ½ stars