Listen to the First 11 Minutes of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Audiobook

Who knew President Snow sounded just like Joe from YouEntertainment Weekly has shared the opening 11 minutes of the audiobook for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins’ upcoming Hunger Games prequel, and it’s narrated by Audible staple Santino Fontana.

“You think you know someone but there are a lot of surprises,” the actor told EW. “You’re going to understand a lot more of why he is the way he is.”

The first reveals comes almost immediately, as an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow prepares a meal for himself out of cabbages on the morning of the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games, 64 years before the events of the Hunger Games trilogy. Although his family lives in a penthouse in the “Capitol’s most opulent apartment building,” they’re actually very poor, leaving Snow with “nothing to live on but his wits.” This means he doesn’t have the right clothes for the reaping ceremony’s fashionably solemn dress code. The rest of the excerpt follows the future dictator as he readies himself for the ceremony, listening to his grandmother sing the Capitol’s anthem and sharing his thoughts on Panem’s burgeoning dystopia, and embarks on a last-minute quest to find a suitable outfit.

Back in January, Entertainment Weekly published another excerpt from later in the book’s first few chapters. Picking up when Snow arrives at the Academy, it follows the events that lead to him being assigned an underdog tribute during his first time as a Hunger Games mentor.

Here’s the book’s synopsis, according to EW:

Centered on the original trilogy’s antagonist, the story follows an 18-year-old Snow as he prepares for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games. He’s up against it, though: His family has fallen on hard times, and he’s forced to guide the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Suddenly, their fates are intertwined.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be published on May 19. The book already has a film adaptation in the works, to be directed by Catching Fire and Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 director Francis Lawrence. There’s no word yet on a cast or a planned release date.

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