Suzanne Collins, takes readers back to near the tenth Hunger Games, where President Snow, is anything But:
The once mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, well it had been hard times during the war and every year since the Snow family fortune was lost along with District 13. However, Coriolanus Snow has been given a chance which could help secure not only his but his house's future. He and his classmates will be the mentors to those who are chosen during the reaping. The mentor whose tribute wins will have their future set out for them and money to support it. Snow does not get the most favorable pick, a female from District 12, but he is determine to win at any cost even if it means breaking some rules, especially once he gets to know his tribute outside the arena and begins to get feelings for her. Can he help her enough so she can win so that they both can get their happily ever after.
I really enjoyed this book but due to the fact that it is a Hunger Games novel, I believe that people will either love or hate this book because it is very un-Hunger Games. Sure the Hunger Games exist in this time, but they are not the extravagant event that we see later and the reader does not have first hand account of what is going on in the arena. This book is much more of a political based one, in which Snow is trying to preserve himself and his family not only his family but the Snow legacy as well. Snow is trying to portrays that everything is fine in his life but the reality is that they are extremely poor and it is up to Snow to bring the family fortune back, which is a lot of weight on a teenagers shoulders. Therefore, Snow is forced to manipulate those around him to make sure they perceive him in a certain way, find out information he can use to his advantage and yet still be liked by his peers and teachers as these will be his cohort for the rest of his life.
I enjoyed that this book was solely told from Snow's point of view. You can see why he became that man he is in the other books, as well as, his growth in character and how some personality traits never really change from when one is younger. You also discover additional reasons as to why he truly did not like Katniss even from her name. I am sure that Snow saw a lot of Lucy Grey in Katniss. The only point in the book that I wish there was a change in point of view was the end, I wish there would have been something from Lucy Grey's point of view maybe in an Epilogue or something like that, I just needed something from her in the end. I don't know exactly what but something.
Speaking of Lucy Grey, she is a very interesting character but we only get to see her from Snow's point of view, so things are just a bit clouded, jaded and maybe a bit idolized at times. I think Lucy Grey knew what she was doing on several occasions throughout the book and is just as manipulative as Snow. She knows how to work her image and crowd to get those around her to like her and help her, so I was questioning her motivation throughout the whole book, besides her need to try and survive the arena.
As stated above I liked that this showed a very different hunger Games and that it was not always the event and it was not something that people from certain districts strive for. It is really Snow and his classmates who first start to shape the Hunger Games into an interesting event that everyone in the Capital wants to be part of and the realization that no one in the districts really watches it. It is interesting some of the ideas that everyone comes up with and the ways to incorporate them into the area.
I enjoyed this prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy. I am okay that it was a bit slower pace at times as this was more of a characterization of Snow in a novel and that there was next to zero first person action that Snow partakes in. I think if you are interested in Snow as a character you will enjoy this book, however, if you are looking for another "Hunger Games" book you may want to pass on this one.