Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Reads: The Underland Chronicles (series) by Suzanne Collins

Yes - that would be the same Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games trilogy.   She didn't just appear and instantly have a hit.  But this series is brilliant YA fiction on its own.  While geared at a younger audience than Hunger Games, Collins has managed to have a much less brutal adventure that can be enjoyed by both young and old.

The premise:  It all starts with Gregor doing laundry with his toddler sister in their New York apartment building.  At 11, Gregor has been forced to grow up too quickly after his dad vanished when he was 9 and his mother was left caring for not only her three children, but also an elderly grandmother who is unable to care for herself.   The family is struggling both financially and for answers.  Then, something quite mysterious happens and Gregor and his tiny sister are sucked into a hole behind one of the machines and, the next thing they know, they are being greeted by giant cockroaches in the Underland.

After being carried to their beautiful human city of Regalia, Gregor learns that there was a prophecy, written hundreds of years earlier, foretelling of his arrival and the important role he will play.


In each of the books, Gregor is cited as "The Warrior" and deemed necessary to save the Underland as each prophecy states he will. His toddler sister, Boots, somehow falls into the adventures with him - lending an interesting twist to an adventure story as this pre-teen hero also needs to deal with the needs of a two year old.  When the giant cockroaches in the Underland decide that Boots is a princess - she starts to fulfill the prophecies further and becomes central to the plotline.


The series is comprised of 5 books, each teeming with adventure and with each passing page, we get to further explore this rich world right beneath our very own.   Collins has built an incredible landscape for her characters and has filled it with interesting inhabitants.  I devoured all of the books in about a week...mainly because I couldn't put them down.  These are a REALLY good read and I do recommend them.  

Fine literature, they are not, but for a great adventure story that will keep you turning pages and picking up the next book - this is it.

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