An Excerpt from A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – via EW

Last summer, Scholastic announced that the Hunger Games world was getting a prequel. Which excited us book nerds who were, strangely, eager to return to Panem. Slowly, very, very slowly, we got more information. TITLE: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. PUB DATE: May 19th, 2020. And now, courtesy of EW and Scholastic Inc., we have a preview.

The grand staircase up to the Academy could hold the entire student body, so it easily accommodated the stream of officials, professors, and students headed for the reaping day festivities. Coriolanus climbed it slowly, attempting a casual dignity in case he caught anyone’s eye. People knew him—or at least they had known his parents and grandparents—and there was a certain standard expected of a Snow. This year, beginning this very day, he was hoping to achieve personal recognition as well. Mentoring in the Hunger Games was his final project before graduating from the Academy in midsummer. If he gave an impressive performance as a mentor, with his outstanding academic record, Coriolanus should be awarded a monetary prize substantial enough to cover his tuition at the University.

There would be twenty-four tributes, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve defeated districts, drawn by lottery to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. It was all laid out in the Treaty of Treason that had ended the Dark Days of the districts’ rebellion, one of the many punishments borne by the rebels. As in the past, the tributes would be dumped into the Capitol Arena, a now-dilapidated amphitheater that had been used for sports and entertainment events before the war, along with some weapons to murder one another. Viewing was encouraged in the Capitol, but a lot of people avoided it. How to make it more engaging was the challenge.

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

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