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Highly addictive book - I couldn't put it down until I finished it in a day! Gregor the Overlander is an amazing book by Suzanne Collins that starts in NYC and ends up in the Underworld of giant cockroaches or crawlers, spiders or spinners, rats or gnawers and humans... They were already in a state of flux in the Underworld until Gregor and his 2 year old sister - Boots, accidentally stumbled into it... From thereon, events precipitate quickly, from one adventure to the next - some of the wonderful takeaways through it all were: - Boots' acceptance of all creatures as equals. She turns out to be way more thoughtful than most of the grown ups - Gregor's undying faith in being able to bring his Dad back to the overland is heart warming as it gives him the strength to become the unwitting warrior of the story - Tick and Temp's courage in the face of mortal danger; they didn't run away and abandon Boots like most of the humans thought they would but instead Tick charged the rats and sacrificed herself for protecting Boots, their princess of kindness I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series as the book alludes to Gregor being back again in the Underland, as part of another prophecy.
I'd heard about this series many times and it had been bobbing away in my to-read list for a while. I finally decided to take the plunge and read the first book, Gregor the Overlander. That was a few months ago and I've finally found the time to post a review.
This story is a journey of an unwitting, and mainly unwilling hero, Gregor. He's a quiet boy who finds himself in the middle of a huge challenge in a dark and troubled world.
Gregor somehow manages to tumble down a mysterious hole (the laundry grate) and finds himself in a strange and mysterious place known as Underland, which happens to be below his home city. And, to make matters a little more tricky, his 2 year-old sister, Boots, is with him. Underland is a place that's full of giant rats, hefty spiders, sizable cockroaches and humans known as Underlanders. It's not your ideal place to spend time, but it's one where Gregor finds a link to the mysterious and unsolved disappearance of his father a couple of years before.
Upon arrival, he is met by Underlings who insist that Gregor is the promised one. The one who is destined to save them from a life of misery should the fragile peace be broken. Gregor isn't so keen on his newfound importance and is torn throughout the tale. He wants nothing more than to find his father, but he’s also in denial of his new warrior status, as foretold in the Underland prophecy. Ultimately he just wants to go home, so he soon realises that perhaps all three things (dad, home, help) can be achieved and he reluctantly agrees to help his hosts. There's plenty of twists and surprises for him along how way, which provided plenty of tension and excitement to keep my interest until the end.
If there was one thing that I wasn't keen on, it was Boots, Gregor’s two year old sibling. I wasn't sure what value the character added to the story, or even why she was included. I felt that she just vaguely lingered in the background and popped up every so often when there was a lull in the story. It may have been a little more interesting if the author had explored the impact that traveling with such a youngster would have on Gregor in more detail. I've read other reviews where Boots was a favorite character, so I guess it's really just a personal observation, rather than a fault or flaw in the plot. But that aside, I did enjoy the book. I'll be sure to read the subsequent books in the series, so I can follow Gregor’s journey to the end.
In a nutshell ... Gregor the Overlander was an entertaining read, which has hooked me for the rest of the series. It's a great debut novel from an author who has gone on to become hugely successful.
Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.
I am a big fan of The Hunger Games so when I saw that this first book in Suzanne Collins's first series was only a few dollars for kindle I immediately downloaded it. This book is for more of a Middle Grade reader, but there still are some mature topics. Main characters die, but the deaths are addressed in an age appropriate manner.
Collins based this series on the idea of an Alice in Wonderland that modern children growing up in the city could relate to. There aren't many rabbit holes in New York City. The Underland is such an interesting world of giant creatures that is directly under New York City. There are giant bats, rats, roaches, spiders, and more. And there are also humans that haven't interacted with those of us that live above land in quite some time.
Gregor and his enthusiastic toddler sister, Boots, go on an adventure in which they find themselves in the Underland with an unusual prophecy unfolding. All the divisions of creatures must work together before a War completely destroys the Underland.
I really enjoyed this book. It is written for a young reader, but I still enjoyed the storytelling. It is written from Gregor's perspective so all the events are seen from the eyes of an 11-year old boy.
I recommend all Suzanne Collins fans to read this book. I am going to read the sequels for sure. I give this book a 4/5. You will enjoy this book if you're 10 or 100.
I've read all 5 books - wonderful, but one thing was bugging me. I couldn't place it til the last book.
No missile weapons. No Bows and arrows. No slings, No spears.
Characters, story, twists and turns were great, but any work of fantasy or sci fi needs one thing : Suspension of disbelief. And the above was the one aspect that would not let me fully engage with the story.
In all the fights, it was stressed how fast and tough the rats were, how ferocious an enemy, and how the Humans relied on bats and their main allies and mounts, and almost always fought in the air. Basically, air cavalry. But they always fought with swords or with talons, a few times dropping stones or lighting oil.
But their founder, Sandwich, came from England in the early 1600s, and made friends with a Native American tribe before going Underland. They had to be acquainted with guns, spears, slings, bows, crossbows, long bows, arrows. They are some of the oldest weapons in the human arsenal.
Yet throwing weapons were entirely absent from the armory, as were spears. Sure, wood was very rare, but short spears or darts could be made from a host of materials, like bone, or even horn or stone, and thrown with a bone throwing stick. If not spears, then sharp stones and slings. Bows and arrows are a problem because wood was so scarce, but horn is even a possible substitute there.
In any case, it just surprised me that none of the underlanders had developed a way to attack the rats and other creatures from a distance. They used poison, flood, disease etc. but otherwise had to get in close with sword and claw. So surely they might have thought of something that could kill rats from a distance, leaving their warriors and bats safe. A quibble, but an important one that would have saved a number of characters in the story from injury or death.
So, a great series, with one important flaw - more noticeable when one realizes her main character in hunger games used a bow as her main weapon.
This my first Suzanne Collins book. I found very entertaining. The web she wove in this book started with 2 main characters and blossomed into an entire community. I will definitely book 2 in this series to keep up with the travels of Gregor and the Overlanders. Fiction and fantasy at its best .
After having read and enjoyed "The Hunger Games" books, I was excited to discover "The Underland Chronicles". Hopeful, but not confident, I bought the first book in the series instead of the whole set. I should have gambled and gotten the whole set. As soon as I finished this book, I ordered the collection, and thanks to Kindle's immediate delivery, am halfway thru book three. Gregor "The Overlander" is a very well rounded character and his thoughts, decisions and dialog are well meshed into a very believable person. There is a huge supporting cast as well, all very well drawn with Ms. Collins pen. I feel like I would recognise these "people" if I met then in real life. I can say I am not at all disappointed by this book, and I believe anyone who enjoyed "The Hunger Games" will like "The Underland Chronicles" also.