In the irresistible first novel by the author of The Hunger Games, a boy embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny — and find his father. New cover art coming July 1st! In the first novel of the New York Times bestselling series by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, young Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building and hurtles into the dark Underland. This strange 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. Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins has much more to it than first meets the eye. The five book series may seem like just a story about a boy helping an underground world and taking care of his family, but it’s more. It’s also about Gregor maturing and learning to trust and becoming a true hero by making peace. I wasn’t thrilled about this book at first. Giant bats? Giant rats? Giant roaches? The whole setting felt grubby to me. It was set in caverns and tunnels under NYC where there was no sunlight. I quickly warmed up to the idea of an underground in danger. I grew to love these characters and plot. Gregor (age 11, but he acts much older most of the time) is fairly typical, finds himself among fantastical creatures and a prophecy all by accident. He refuses to think he can do anything extraordinary, and yet he has darkness in his past he tries to ignore. He’s brave and fairly clever, though rather unappreciative at first. The super neat thing about him is his care for his little sister. Boots (age 2) is very cool. She steals the hearts of readers, despite her tantrums and messy diapers. Without her, nothing Gregor or the underlanders try to do in this book would be possible. Boots gains them allies, causes distractions, helps people work together, etc. The dialogue is good. The plot/pacing is good. The concept (a world under ours) works well. You might ask, why does this deserve to be a noblebright book? It’s set underground, a dark and grim setting indeed! Yes, but the characters are genuinely kind and learn from each other. They place strong emphasis on family and helping each other. The adults don’t shy from correcting Gregor when he’s impolite. The hardest thing he’s ever asked to do is in book 3, and Gregor has to apologize to a rat (the enemy!) and admit he was wrong. Through all this, we can see that Gregor’s heart is golden, and he learns to care about every creature in the underground.
This guest post was written by Denae Christine. She is a Bible-believing Christian who lives in Colorado and teaches math at an alternative high school. She has a brown belt in karate and listens to audiobooks at double speed. She spends her energy volunteering with her local church’s children’s ministry. Denae has written the Royal Deception trilogy, which is an epic fantasy retelling of the Lion King featuring a world with blade shifters and animal shifters. She also published a companion novella that follows the adventures of the trilogy main character, who is a prince who can shift his arms into swords. Denae is an avid reader and reviewer. Find her on Goodreads here.