We’d known that Suzanne Collins’ surprise announcement of a new Hunger Games novel was going to be a precursor to her beloved YA dystopian trilogy. Now, it’s got a shiny new cover and an intriguing new name.
Revealed on Good Morning America on Friday, what was previously simply Untitled Panem Novel is now The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Set 64 years before the events of Katniss’ revolution in the original series, Ballad will revolve specifically around the events of the 10th Hunger Games – Panem’s battle royale event where kids of its myriad districts are randomly selected to take part in a murderous fight for survival – and the slow recovery the dystopian nation state took after a deadly war nearly destroyed it.
The book’s cover, featuring the series’ traditional Mockingbird looking upwards to the sky, is meant to be representative of Collins’ approach to Ballad’s message, which, according to statements in a provided press release by Scholastic President Ellie Berger, “raises important questions about authority, the use of violence, and the truth of human nature.” It’s a story that we could also be seeing onscreen – Lionsgate, who developed the Jennifer Lawrence-starring trilogy of Hunger Games films, has already hinted the franchise could return with spinoffs inspired by this new prequel.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to be published by Scholastic May 19, 2020.