The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games prequel, will explore President Coriolanus Snow's origins. In an exclusive, EW reported on Tuesday that before he became Panem's dictator, Snow was once a charming hero. EW also shared commissioned character concept art of the young Snow with a mop of white-blonde hair and piercing blue eyes and holding a white rose, his sinister signature in the original trilogy.
The reveal divided Twitter-- some are excited to learn the villain's beginnings, and others still haven't gotten over the beloved characters who perished at the hand of Snow. Scholastic confirmed the news on Wednesday.
The novel, set to take readers back to Panem, was nameless until Good Morning America shared the cover in a tweet Oct. 4. It showed a golden mockingjay and snake on twisting branches set against a black and green background.
The new novel will take place 64 years before the events of the Hunger Games trilogy on the morning of the 10th Hunger Games Reaping. An excerpt from chapter one is available on the book's website.
Fans can preorder the book now, and it'll be on shelves May 19.
"With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival," Collins said in a statement over the summer. "The reconstruction period 10 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."
After the Good Morning America tweet, Scholastic tweeted a photo of the new cover on a billboard at New York City Comic Con, no doubt delighting its participants.
Originally published Oct 4.
Update, Jan. 22: Adds more information.