Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Book Review - Gregor & The Rats of Underland

Title: Gregor & The Rats of Underland (Also released as Gregor the Overlander)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Release Date: 2 Jan 2006 (this version)
ISBN-13: 978-1904442424

When eleven year-old Gregor follows his little sister down a laundry chute, he hurtles into a dark, dirty Underland, deep beneath the New York City. There, humans live uneasily alongside giant spiders, vast cockroaches, huge bats and some appalling rats, but their fragile peace is about to fall apart. Gregor wants no part in the conflict between these shadowy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy reveals a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realises it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. 

My Review
As you all probably know I am a HUGE Hunger Games fan, so obviously I looked up Suzanne Collins and I found out she had done a series before HG. The Underland Chronicles, I looked them up on the library system and found copies available and so requested them. Curious as to what these may be like.
On first look, they look quite intriguing, synopsis sounds slightly silly but could be fun. The pages are well spaced and the font fairly big, at only 258 pages, I knew it wouldn't take me long to read.
I started it, expecting to dip in and out, but I was actually hooked in. Gregor is 11 years old, he lives with his mum, gran, 7 year old sister Lizzie and baby sister Boots (2years old). His dad went missing 2 years and so many months ago, just vanished one day and Gregor has had to take on a lot of responsibility.
whilst doing the laundry in the dingy laundry room of his apartment block his baby sister crawls away and falls crawls into an open vent, when Gregor goes to get her out, they are both sucked down the vent and end up in a strange world 'Underland' which is filled with giant bugs - cockroaches, bats, spiders, and rats. The roaches are very friendly,  the spiders depend on their mood, but the rats - they are bad! There are also people down there - the Underlanders themselves - pale skinned, purple eyed, and companions with the bats. They 'bond' with each other. The bats become friends and defenders to them. The Underlanders can fly on their backs and sense each others needs almost.
Boots and Gregor are thrown in the deep end. With terms of a prophecy seeming to describe Gregor himself, he must go on a quest to stop a war with the rats. But not everyone will return safely.
Boots is so cute in this, at only two she is your typical cheeky baby, with funny ways of saying things and adorable habits, mixed with the odd tantrum. 
Gregor's love for his little sister is evident and I loved how he looked after her. He is also your unlikely hero- considering himself just a normal kid, but when put on the line he steps up and is willing to help, giving all he has to help.
Luxa the soon to be Queen is feisty, fun and sarcastic. The sort of character I like. Willing to sacrifice everything to do the right thing.  
This book is soo different from the Hunger Games, but I can still feel Collin's writing style peeking through - as in you can tell they are written by the same person. Obviously these books are aimed at a much younger audience.
Action packed adventure that literally had me up until 1 in the morning so I could finish it!
Full of twists, turns, mysteries, adventure and fun.

My Rating

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