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After reading many fantasy novels, I came up this one, wishing to gift it to my grandson. But, he didn't like it much because he found it less interesting than Harry potter novels and diaries of the wimpy kid. I have to read it aloud to him to see whether he really is not for it. I personally feel Hunger games series by Suzanne Collins is a very-well written captivating novel. Yet to read this one fully.
Gregor the Overlander est un bon bouquin de Suzanne Collins pour les jeunes ados ayant un (trés ?) bon niveau d'anglais. La syntaxe n' est pas trop compliquée mais le vocabulaire est riche. Pour ce qui est de l' histoire, elle devrait intéresser les jeunes et est beaucoup moins gore que Hunger Games. Je ne pense pas qu' il ait été traduit en français.
Gregor the Overlander is an odd book. It's got some of the same style that made me like the Hunger Games, but it's also got a lot of elements that feel like I'm reading a little kid's book. I get that this book is aimed at children, but some of those moments feel excessive. The other thing that makes it a little odd is the unfiltered violence of a lot that goes on in the book. There's bodies everywhere later in the book and Collins pulls no more punches in describing the violence here than she did in the Hunger Games, which makes the "little kid book" feeling just sort of skeevy in conjunction.
The book is creative and fun, and if you've got a kid who can deal with extremely violent stories (with a point) then they will probably enjoy this story. Personally, I think Collins might have done better to aim for older kids or younger kids more directly, and not have the "This is what a bat is" explanations if the audience is supposed to be older children, nor the graphicly depicted war scenes if the audience is younger children.
But not quite enough to continue reading this series. Now, if I had a teen or pre-teen that enjoyed Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, I would insist on them reading this series. I purchased this book because I haven't been able to find a book or series that made me quite as pumped about reading as did The Hunger Games series. So, when I learned that Collins had another book series, I purchased the book without even reading the description or a single review, which is highly unlikely for me. While I'm not mad that I read it, I don't think I could bear to read another. I do enjoy a good fantasy novel from time to time, but I think this was just a little too “out there" for me. The giant bugs and spiders creeped me out more than anything else. Other than for the main character, Gregor, I didn't think there was enough character development for my liking. Overall, I'd certainly recommend this to any reader under the age of 14 or so, or to people who enjoy over-the-top fantasies, but if you're looking for something like The Hunger Games like I was, I recommend we all continue on our search.
My 8 yr old liked this book except she found it a bit too "gory" as she put it. She also read the rest of the books in the series because she really wanted to know what was going to happen. She ended up having a lot of nightmares about rats. If your child is sensitive, it might be better not to get started on these books. If not, though, I recommend them!
This is a good story, not great. She doesn't really do a good job conveying the fight scenes and the resolve is a bit meh. Nevertheless I was thoroughly entertained and I hardly put it down. It was a good start for her.
So having read the Hunger Games and enjoyed that series I decided to give this book a shot. The first thing you may notice is that this book is not Hunger Games, in fairness though that is not really a fair comparison to make. A better comparison would be to with the Redwall Series, in my opinion Redwall sets the benchmark for young adult/teen books with talking animals and quests and weird prophecies. So how does Gregor the Overlander compare with Redwall? Well having read the last Redwall Book this summer 'The Sable Quean' I can say that Gregor the Overlander is nowhere close. That does not mean that the book is bad, but if you really liked Redwall because of the battles and clever plot you will probably be disappointed. So first a few non spoiler points: 1. The prophecy part just felt weird, most of it was easily interpreted and not terribly mysterious, and the parts that were mysterious were not really interpreted in any terribly clever way. Going back to Redwall, when there is some sort of prophecy it is generally comes to pass in some interesting and clever way. Here though, it was really specific and ended up being just a plain old roadmap to the entire plot of the story. 2. These was a pronounced lack of battle scenes. Sure there were several scenes where large groups prepared to fight one another, but the only actual battle scene is the one near the front of the book. Everything else ends without any real fight. i.e. the bridge scene, and the final battle. In general the fighting either occurs off camera, or does not occur at all. Redwall on the other hand generally has very strong battle sequences that make the story much more engaging. 3. The ending is really short, and does not really make that much sense. Mostly it feels like it is just there to wind off a few plot points. This may be because the entire book is short, but either way, I felt that the ending was a letdown after wading through the rest of the book. Generally in Redwall the endings are short as well but they feel much more fulfilling.
Look out, spoilers below:
So these last few things contain spoilers: To start with, the Gregor's father plot seems contrived, the rats conveniently kill everyone they find except for Gregors dad. They keep him so that he can build them weapons, but everything he makes breaks and the rats are only now starting to wizen up, that is far fetched to begin with. Furthermore when they find him he is half dead and mildly catatonic. You would think that if the rats really did want weapons, they might keep him healthy and in shape to actually build them weapons. As a side note Gregor's dad getting better is described in book as a 'miracle' and honestly it makes about as much sense as one. One line his dad is just sitting not saying anything there and then two lines later, without any explanation he is like, "Hi Gregor, I missed you, we should probably go before the rats eat us." Also the Henry being a traitor plot was really just strange. As several other characters so kindly point out, his motivations make absolutely no sense. There is no reason why he would ever trust the rats, especially given that they killed his parents. Instead his grand idea is to wipe out too generally friendly species and create a more powerful rat empire that would have no one to fight but Regalia. That is not evil, it is just dumb.
Anyway, that came out a bit harsher than I intended. In fairness the book did draw me in after a while, but while the idea was interesting I felt the execution was done poorly. Some of that may be because it more intended for kids than young adults, but in the end it just felt dumbed down.
Also, I will just add that the book is remarkably similar to the plot of movie "Arthur and the Invisibles" and I think that movie is much more lively, vivid, and intriguing. Luxa in the book is essentially the same character as Princess Seleneia in the movie, and Arthur and Gregor share many similarities as well. If you want the movie version of this story go watch that.