Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

The Underland Chronicles

The Underland Chronicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been about a month since my last post.  Yikes.  After starting this new job, I’m feeling like I’ll never finish a whole book ever again!  So far I have read one book.  One.  Those of you who know me, know that this is highly abnormal!  The book I just finished is the second book in the Gregor the Overlander series, which happen to be the books that Suzanne Collins published pre-Hunger Games.  I’ll roll it back to the first book and go forward from there…

In the first book, Gregor the Overlander, Gregor is introduced.  His family has fallen on some hard times; his dad is missing, his live-in grandmother has dementia, his mom works all the time, and he is charged with keeping the family together, including watching over his two younger sisters.  Boots is the baby of the family and one morning, she disappears through a grate in the laundry room.  Gregor has no choice but to follow her down the hole in the wall, and much like Alice in Wonderland, he ends up in a very strange place.   In the Underland, giant talking cockroaches (crawlers), rats (gnawers), spiders (spinners), and bats live alongside people who have been waiting for the arrival of an Overlander to fulfill a prophecy.  They believe Gregor is just the guy to help them lead their quest.  Regalia is ruled by a young queen, Luxa, who is Gregor’s same age.  She has a cousin named Henry, a grandfather named Vikus, and a grandmother named Solovet.  They form a fellowship of sorts and set out on their quest.  Battles and betrayals ensue, but their journey has a semi-happy ending.  Gregor and Boots finally make their way back home at the end of the first book.

In book two, The Prophecy of the Bane, things have only improved slightly at Gregor’s house.  One day while he and Boots are out sledding in Central Park, Boots suddenly goes missing.  Gregor follows some clues and lo and behold finds himself back in the Underland again.  It turns out there is another prophecy that they need his help with, and this time it seems he must fight and kill a terrible rat enemy called The Bane.  This prophecy is written in a way that sounds like it will be Boots’ life on the line this time.  Of course, this leaves Gregor absolutely no choice, but as he begins his weapons training, it is revealed that Gregor might just be his own secret weapon.  This book has just enough mystery and unfinished threads that I know I will have to read book three next!

This is an exciting series for both boys and girls, even though this seems like a boy story.  The Underland books fall into the same category as the Alice or Narnia books, where the main character discovers a portal to another world, gets wrapped up in their business somehow, and has to solve a problem to get out.  In the first book, Gregor is a reluctant hero, but in book two, he steps up and takes charge right away.  Read these books and see if you don’t start talking like an Underlander, too.  Fly you high, readers, fly you high!