The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

This is the story of Coriolanus Snow known to readers of The Hunger Games trilogy as the cold ruthless leader of Panem. Set on the occasion of the 10th Hunger Games we are introduced to Coriolanus at the age of 17. Desperate to improve his impoverished circumstances he is dismayed to find, as a mentor, that he is assigned the weakest tribute, Lucy Jane Gray. We meet his friend, Sejanus and become acquainted with the young Snow’s family background. Full of the trademark Collins bloodthirsty action this is not only an action thriller/dystopian novel but also a careful psychological study of the downward trajectory of a psychopath. 

I am not a fan of sadistic action thrillers but Collins is a great writer and there is plenty of depth in this novel to hook a teenager (or an adult of a nervous disposition!). Despite the fact that anyone who has read the three Hunger Games novels or has watched the films will know the kind of person Coriolanus becomes, the writer keeps us riveted with the twists and turns in this successful prequel.

Rumour has it that a film of the same name will be coming out soon.

Submitted by Heather