By David Canfield and David Canfield
May 12, 2020 at 11:01 AM EDT
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Credit: Scholastic

Hear Coriolanus Snow as you've never heard him before.

EW can exclusively debut a first excerpt of the official audiobook of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins' blockbuster Hunger Games prequel. 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.

EW debuted the first excerpt of the novel earlier this year, and pre-orders have been steadily huge of late. (Despite still being a week out of publication, as of this writing it's in Amazon's top 10 book best-sellers.) Film rights are already locked, too, which means you can start your dreamcasting.

Credit: Walter McBride/Getty Images

As for who's cast in this particular version: Santino Fontana, Tony-winning Broadway star (Tootsie) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend alum, records the audiobook. He gets into Snow's skin. “You think you know someone but there are a lot of surprises,” he teases to EW. “You're going to understand a lot more of why he is the way he is.”

So we won't delay any longer. Here you can listen to these 11-plus minutes of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' first chapter, a tantalizing taste of what's to come. The book is available in hardcover and audiobook forms on May 19 and is available for pre-order. Get listening below.

Reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum

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