Title: Gregor the Overlander
Author: Suzanne Collins
No. of Pages: 311
First Published: 2003
Synopsis (Courtesy of Amazon): “When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.”
Comments and Critique: I discovered this book after reading Stephanie’s review of it. Having loved both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I knew I wanted to read some more of Ms. Collins’ work. The fact that I could then pass it along to my son to assuage his passion for reading was a definite bonus. I was not disappointed. In fact, I can see where Ms. Collins has had so much success with The Hunger Games. While her writing ability is not polished, her ability to weave a story and create an entire world is spectacular.
There were a few issues I found with the book. Gregor is not completely fleshed out as a main character. While he is sympathetic, I never felt true concern with his plight. At no point in time was I fearful for him and knew without a doubt that the ending would be a happy one. As with other Collins’ works, the happy ending is not without its price, which also did not come as much of a surprise.
Spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats – oh my! Ms. Collins does a great job of bringing them to life, instilling a personality into each of them that I never would have considered possible. I never would have considered cockroaches as particularly endearing, or bats for that matter, but Ms. Collins found a way to do so. This is a testament to her writing ability.
In general, this was another excellent, fast-paced read. I devoured the book in just a few hours and have been pressing my son to pick it up since then. There is an amazing message about family and what it means to be a phenomenal brother and son that is valuable for any child to learn. I would definitely recommend this to other kids, even though I would hesitate to recommend it to other adults. Actually, it would be a great book to read together to discuss the implications of Gregor’s actions and truly drive home the message about family. Thank you, Stephanie, for recommending this book!