That’s how it feels to me.
I read the plot synopsis, and while exploring the pre-Hunger Games world does sound interesting, Collins instead decided to attempt to shoehorn in some retroactive continuity that makes the Snow/Katniss conflict a lot less natural.
[spoiler] Haven’t read the book myself, but I heard it’s about a younger Snow mentoring a female tribute from District 12. The parallels are obvious, and I can’t help but feel this cheapens the conflict between Snow and Katniss in the original books. Instead of one man’s tyranny leading him into conflict with an unlikely hero, it now feels like Snow was “always destined” to be in conflict with Katniss because he once mentored a girl of her exact circumstance. One of the hooks of the original book was that we were following an unlikely underdog, a girl from a poor town who was in her circumstance completely on accident. Her remarkably un-special nature is what made her transformation into the Mockingjay so compelling; anyone could have been the hero.
But now, with this book, we’re following another girl from District 12 and seeing her interactions with Snow. Again, I haven’t read it, it might be good, but it still feels unnecessary and a bit cheap for the sake of trying to somehow tie Snow’s history into Katniss. [/spoiler]