Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Underland Chronicles (series)

I just finished reading this amazing series of five books about the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. Here's the Scholastic summary of the series:

When 11-year-old Gregor follows his little sister Boots through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, he discovers a vast, dark Underland beneath the city. It’s a gloomy yet strangely beautiful place where humans have learned to live without the sun, and giant cockroaches, bats, and rats have learned to speak. The humans are influenced by the prophecies of their ancestral leader, Bartholomew of Sandwich, whose words foretell the coming of a Warrior from above who will save the Underland from a variety of perilous situations. Is Gregor that Warrior? And does he care enough about the Underland to risk his life for it?

The five books are:

I have to admit that we bought two of these books about a year ago, and they've been sitting on our bookshelf. I bought them for my son, but he's been reading other things, so we hadn't gotten around to them. I finally decided that I really wanted to read them, because I love the author, Suzanne Collins, who also wrote the Hunger Games trilogy. Well, once I started reading these books I was totally hooked and had to buy the rest of the books in the series right away.

I absolutely love the main character, Gregor. He is the oldest of three children, and truly has such a tremendous heart for his family and naturally gravitates toward peace. He has such care and concern for his family, and is a wonderful big brother. He has to grapple with many circumstances beyond his years, but with his youth he brings an innocence to each situation. You can see through the pages how he's wrestling to make sense of seemingly senseless things. His genuine heart stands out. I've had my 11-year-old son (who is the oldest of three kids) start reading the series as well. I believe the book has many great character lessons in it.

I will also say that these books are also full of action, violence, war, and death. But with this comes the overall message of peace that Ms. Collins is trying to get across. Through Gregor and the other characters in the books we are able to see their views on war, discrimination, violence, forgiveness, revenge, loyalty, and so on. And I love the ultimate message of trying to solve problems through more peaceful means, and not through violence. I think these are great topics to discuss with my kids. I'm looking forward to my son getting along in the books so we can discuss these themes and his opinions as well. The books even address the idea of prophesies, or the

The books were action-packed and I had a hard time putting them down. The characters moved me. I cried when they cried, smiled when they smiled, and mourned when they mourned. Even as I finished the last book last night (early this morning), I had a hard time getting them out of my mind. I woke thinking about them and wanting to read more. I highly recommend these books for adults and children 10 and up. To be safe, it is always good for parents to read first. I loved the books, and feel grateful to have read them.

Fly you high, Gregor the Overlander!

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