Friday, July 15, 2011

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane - Suzanne Collins

**Warning: Do not read this review if you have not read the first book and plan to, it contains spoilers.**

Summary: Gregor learns of his role in another Underland prophecy, yet he swears he will never return to that place. But his vow crumbles when his little sister, Boots, is snatched. Gregor knows it is a ploy to lure him to the subterranean world, but he gives in and heads back underground, where he is reunited with his bat, Ares, the princess Luxa, and new allies. Together, they descend into the deadly Waterway in search of an ominous rat known as Bane. But Gregor must face the possibility of his greatest loss yet, and make life and death choices that will determine the future of the Underland.
Summary from Google Books and cover photo from

Heather's Review: Gregor escapes the Underland only to have to return a few months later. This time his baby sister is kidnapped in order to lure Gregor back. The rats threaten to take over the Underland. and when they do Regalia and all those Gregor cares for will vanish. The only way to stop this outcome is to defeat the Bane.

I was very disappointed with this second installment of the Gregor series. Collins began the book by letting her characters off too easy. Gregor had disappeared for weeks with his baby sister in the first book leaving his mother frantic and the entire city searching for him. When Gregor returns safely with his baby sister, he brings with him his father, who has been missing for a couple years. This is how the last book ends. To begin this second book, Collins simply allows Gregor to spin a weak, unbelievable lie that all who were looking for him believe. Talk about some serious eye-rolling.

My other big issue with this book is the gruesome nature of it compared to the last. This time around Gregor is sent on a mission to kill the bane. It just feels a bit too dark and mature for the 8-12 age group the first book fit into. This novel is full of graphic descriptions of blood and guts, completely nightmare inducing.

Although I had some issues with book 2, my son still enjoyed it. There were several times he was laughing out loud due to the antics of Gregor or Ares, his bat. And though the violence left me a bit squeamish he seemed to take it fairly well, although I did wake a few morning with him in my bed. So perhaps I am being too harsh. It just wasn't what I expected. If I were reading this series by myself, this one would have been the end for me but since my son has fallen for quirky Gregor we have continued on.

Her Rating: 3 Stars

To sum it up: A darker, less appealing installation in the Gregor series.

Kari's Review:  By this point in reading her books, Suzanne Collins is one of my favorite authors. She has a way of drawing you in quickly and holding you suspended in time until you finish her book. I love that about her. Her characters are so relatable and endearing. This book introduces and develops more characters in the Underland giving the underworld a greater depth and atmosphere.

That said, this book is far darker than the others. While Gregor retains his conscience and tender heart, he has to witness more violence and face morale dilemmas most kids his age wouldn't dream of. While this makes for a great plot line, it does make a parent question the level of violence the book presents. As a teacher of middle school students I wouldn't bat an eye, but for an elementary aged student I'd be more selective.

In true Collins' style, the ending is not what you expect and the book reads much faster than the length of pages. I thoroughly enjoy Collins' writing and this book didn't disappoint.

Her Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: Despite being a children's book there is a lot of violence and death, more so than the first book and more graphic.

Sum it up: The second installment of Gregor's Underland adventure.

Average Rating: 3.5 Stars

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