Here are my thoughts on the second book int he Gregor the Overlander series.
Star rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
It took me a while to finish this book, but I have now and I’ve started the third one.
Probably not the best thing to say in an introduction, but this post might be a little boring, because I have almost the same comments about Book 2 than Book 1.
But before you go, let me elaborate. I rated this book 4 and a half stars — I did not, by any means, think it was bad. It was similar to the first book, but that is what was cool about it.
I’ll explain what I mean by that, but first, here is a teaser. You may not want to read it if you plan to read this book and haven’t finished the first book yet.
If under fell, if over leaped,
If life was death, if death life reaped,
Something rises from the gloom
to make the Underland a tomb.
That is the first verse of the Prophecy of Bane, which follows the Prophecy of Gray (which is the plot of the first book). Back at home, Gregor no longer wants anything to do with the Underland, but they force him to come down by kidnapping his toddler sister, “Boots.” They tell him about the Prophecy of Bane, and believe that the baby that the prophecy mentions will die is Boots. Gregor finds himself going on another perilous quest to fulfill the second prophecy.
The second book was similar to Gregor the Overlander because there is another prophecy, another quest, and more danger. But that was kind of what made it nice, its simplicity. There is a writing tip that I have heard: ask yourself three questions. One, who is the character? Two, what do they want more than anything? And three, how can I, as the author, stop them from getting it? I thought these stories were told following that, which makes for an action-packed and exciting plot.
Another aspect they had in common was that it took me a bit to get into them. Both books were okay for the first third, but then the action began and I couldn’t put them down.
I’ll try to focus on the different comments I have, though. First of all, I thought it was funnier than the first one, especially because of the fireflies. The fireflies, named Photos Glow-Glow and Zap, are extremely whiny and childish, which makes for a bad relationship between them and the others, especially Twitchtip. It was also more intense than Gregor the Overlander, so overall it entertained me more. I also, for some reason, love how the prophecy begins with almost the same lines that the last prophecy ends with.
When you think of a quest, you don’t usually think of spending days in seemingly-endless water. That’s not much of a quest, after all. However, the team’s days in the Waterway are packed with action because of Suzanne Collins’ amazing writing skills. In the grand scheme of plots, Book 1 and Book 2 of the Underland Chronicles were pretty similar, and had it been written not as well, the second book would have lost me and most others for sure. But here I am, rating it nearly 5 stars and halfway through the third book (review coming soon!).
About 4 paragraphs ahead that contain spoilers for Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane. Click here if you want to read on.
When Luxa, Aurora, Temp, and poor Boots seemed to die, I was sure that they would end up being alive. There was no way they’d be dead. I expected them to rise from the water at that moment, choking and coughing. But as the story progressed and left them behind, I remembered how at the end of Mockingjay, only four of the many main characters remained. So maybe Suzanne Collins would kill off an innocent two-year-old who calls her brother “Ge-go.” Of course, if you’ve read the book, you know that Boots actually is alive — revealed near the end of the book. However, Aurora, Luxa, and Temp are still nowhere to be found. In my opinion, that is the perfect ending, because you (and Gregor) breathe a sigh of relief, but still wonder in suspense. Though I occasionally write like this on accident, I like reading books with struggle, but not books where there’s no good news at all.
Another thing I liked, that I sometimes forget to do when I write, is how Ares and Gregor didn’t get along at the beginning…
It was at that moment that Gregor decided he was bonded to a big jerk. And he felt pretty sure that Ares had come to the same conclusion.
That’s from page 34. By the end of the book, the constant hardships have brought them close. My point is, in a lot of my stories, I leave no room for character development. The Prophecy of Bane had a lot of it, and that made it feel like a real story (aside from all the, you know, giant talking rats).
Since I’ll just say everything spoiler-related here, I also thought the Bane being a baby was a great unexpected plot twist that completely turned the story upside-down and made Gregor and the reader rethink everything.
Finally, it kind of threw me off how soon and quickly everything happened after the serpent attack. Although Suzanne Collins probably did the right thing in moving the story along, I felt like I wanted one more thing to happen… for Gregor to barely, just a little, begin to move past Boots for the sake of the quest, only to hear the Bane’s “Ma-maa?” and have it all come hurtling back to him.
I rated Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane four and a half stars because I had almost all good things to say about it and just a small complaint or two. I liked it the same as Gregor the Overlander. If you liked the first book, you should read this one. As I write this paragraph, I have just finished the third book and I’ll be sharing my thoughts soon!