Friday, February 21

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Scholastic and is used solely as an aide to the review.

When Gregor's little sister falls into a hole in their laundry room, he follows her to the Underland, a world deep beneath the city of New York, where giant roaches dwell and a lost race of humans war against vicious rats.

All Gregor wants is to get his sister safely home, but he soon finds himself roped into the Underlanders' politics...and even their history. If he is ever to hope to reach the surface again he must journey alongside the Underlanders to fulfill a prophecy, and maybe discover the truth about his father who vanished years ago.

'Gregor the Overlander' is a fast-paced novel with no lull in tension. The dynamics of the different creatures in the Underland was very interesting to read about, as well as their customs. It was peculiar to read about a nation that would hang their hopes on a stranger and a prophecy. My very favourite thing about the Underlanders was their speech and the way they would phrase things. It was only plausible that a people so far removed in both time and territory to have their own unique vernacular.

Gregor was a strong protagonist, particularly considering that he had his two year old sister Boots to take care of. It definitely made him cautious, but he was also a lot more patient and empathetic than others might have been in his situation. Even after he lost his temper, it wasn't long before he was level-headed in his thinking.

The other characters in the novel were refreshing to read about. Luxa, queen of the Underland, and her cousin Henry could be aggravating and rude at times, but their bond with the bats was an intriguing dynamic. The two species of mammal co-existed in such a way that their trust and their livelihoods were profusely intertwined. Each character had their own striking strengths. Vikus was diplomatic, the cockroaches were devoted, and even little Boots' charms and conniptions were strengths in turn.

The only part of the book that tripped me was tat the names of the protagonist and antagonist were nearly identical, consisting of the exact same letters. I had to backtrack several times because I misread "Gorger" as "Gregor."

'Gregor the Overlander' is a clever and compelling story that I would recommend to anyone who likes a fast-paced adventure. I did not expect to be so thoroughly invested in a world brimming with giant rodents and insects. I will definitely be interested in reading the sequel, 'Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane.'

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