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Really Ravishing Review (Gregor the Overlander)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, July 14, 2010 ,
Review of Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins.

Quickie: An easy, cute book. If I was an eleven year old boy, I would adore it.

Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1) Full: As it is, I'm not an eleven year old boy. I still enjoyed it, and plan to continue the series. Collins has a fantastic imagination and can create entirely new, entirely believable worlds.

Gregor and his two year old little sister, Boots, fall down a hole in the laundry room of their apartment building, landing in a strange place called the Underland. They meet all kinds of characters you'd expect to find in a world that is solely underground - cockroaches, bats, rats, spiders, and even humans. Gregor is amazed by this strange land, but ultimately he wants to get his sister and himself back home so his mom isn't worrying. He's afraid of what their disappearance will do to their mother- he hasn't forgotten how hard she took it when their dad disappeared two years ago.

The humans of the Underland are an odd bunch, and they whisper about Gregor, saying things like, "warrior" and "prophecy". They decide to show him "The Prophecy of the Gray", which foretells of a warrior who will save them from a great war with the rats. Gregor doesn't believe himself to be this warrior, but upon discovering that the rats have his father (who as it turns out, fell down the very same hole in the laundry room) he decides to play the part so he can rescue his father and make his family whole again.

What did I like about this book? A lot. I think my sons will enjoy this book when they're at the mid-grade reading level. The characters were interesting and totally "eleven year old boy" ish. Rats, cockroaches, spiders and bats? Yeah. The bats are what the humans use for transportation. (They're quite large) The cockroaches are large as well, and I especially liked the two you get to know well, Temp and Tick. For cockroaches, they were incredibly sweet.

I liked Gregor, because he was a family-oriented kid. He was determined to take care of his little sister and worried over her constantly. It was nice to see that, instead of the "my stupid little sister" attitude that you frequently see in kids his age.

Boots was probably my favorite character. Collins nailed the two year old language and attitude perfectly. It had me grinning. She wanted cookies, she had no fear, and she was just awesome.

Gregor the Overlander wasn't the best mid-grade novel I've ever read. But it certainly wasn't the worst, and it was quite good for a debut novel. I'm so glad she continued writing about Gregor and then moved on to YA. If she hadn't, the world would never have seen the awesomeness that is The Hunger Games.

4 out of 5 stars.


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