Fans are about to delve back into the world of Panem with the upcoming release of the Hunger Games prequel. On Friday, Scholastic revealed the title and cover for the highly-anticipated Suzanne Collins novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is set to hit store shelves on May 19, 2020 and is reportedly being adapted into a film by Lionsgate.
“It has been thrilling to see the growing excitement from readers around the globe for this new Hunger Games novel,” Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade, said, according to Vital Thrills. “Suzanne Collins is an expert storyteller and world-builder, and in revisiting the world of Panem, she again raises important questions about authority, the use of violence, and the truth of human nature.”
“This cover does an extraordinary job of capturing the conflict — both inner and outer — that lies at the heart of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” David Levithan, VP, Publisher, and Editorial Director for Scholastic, added. “The mockingjay has returned, but at a new angle..which is very much in line with the story that Suzanne Collins is telling.”
Set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, meaning that the book will be without fan-favorite heroine Katniss Everdeen, The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes will begin on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. According to Collins, the book will the Dark Days, or a period of reconstruction following the war.
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” she said when news of the novel broke this summer. “The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
The novel, according to a report from Variety in June, is already set to grace the big screen. Lionsgate has already reportedly begun work on the prequel movie, though there is no word on when it will hit theaters.
Collins' original trilogy — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay — was developed by Lionsgate into four films, the last of which was released in 2015. The movies grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, while the books sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into over 50 languages.