I like to think of myself as a reader who also reviews books. Therefore, this book existing in any way, makes me happy. It’s not that I love Panem or their ideas. I do like the feeling of sinking deep into a world that is already familiar. I have purposefully not read any reviews of this title, so I have no idea of I’m going against the grain or not.
I read a lot of comments before the release, which complained that this title centers on the early life of eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow. Instead of say, a good guy. No person alive or fictional lives in a vacuum. If you want to understand The Panem of The Hunger Games Era, then you’ll need to see inside it’s past. I won’t post any real spoilers- but I will provide general non-spoiler plot points below.
At this point in his life, he is living in the Capital, pretending to be something he is not. He is already a man filled with ambition and is prideful of his family heritage. His family, though, has fallen on hard times and he doesn’t have enough to eat, worries about paying their taxes, and thinks that if he can just make it into the University, he will be on the path to success and put The Snow Family back in good standing. At the start of the book, the reader isn’t supposed to “like” him, but you can already see why, as an adult, he is the way he is.
By the end of the story, you won’t like him as his circumstances and choices prove that he is well on his way to transforming into President Snow that we loathe. You’ll also get answers to many of the pesky mysteries that were never entirely explained before.
The War was ten years ago, and Snow and his classmates were about eight years old at the end of it. They and the tributes were children during the War, and none of them remember anything other than the life they lead now and the trauma of war times. The senior student class of District One becomes the first set of mentors, and the story takes us through the games that year. The game making industry is in its infancy, along with all the bioengineered animals that we know already.
We also get a view into the districts- especially district twelve.
The minute I finished this book, I wanted to reread the trilogy. If you haven’t read The first three books, I wouldn’t until you start here. I think the author/publisher was correct in naming this book zero. I’m so intrigued that I’d even read a Book -1 that centered on the War and how it all began.