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Showing 1-10 of 664 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,005 reviews
on April 10, 2012
First, let me say that I am nearly 25, and graduated college with a degree in English. Read the Hunger Games trilogy, and like many others, was left wanting more after the final book. Realized this was Collins' only other book series, so ignored the fact that it was more "for kids" than the HG series, and bought the first book for my kindle. I have honestly read all 5 in less than 2 weeks, finding myself once again drawn into a world of Collins' making, containing her noteworthy descriptions and numerous-yet-individual characters.

Also, as she did in the HG series, I found Collins planting an underlying message in the Underland Chronicles-- this time, she questions whether war is always a "right vs wrong" situation-- and I thought this to be a positive contemplation for kids and adults alike. If you can look beyond the fact that the main character is 12 (much like you could look beyond Katniss' age in the HG books) then this is worth the couple of bucks to read!

You will not be disappointed :)
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on August 17, 2017
How do I put this in words?

I read this book back in the 6th grade on a suggestion from my school librarian. (Remember this was before Hunger Games) I was a slow reader at the time and struggled socially with other kids. When I started reading I couldn't put it down, I then got the second book, and couldn't put it down. But at the time, the series wasn't close to being finished and only two books were out at the time.

Fast forward 15 years later (I'm 25), the series always stuck with me. It actually bothered me for 15 years and I got tired of wondering what happened to the series. I couldn't remember the name and I searched for it for about 5 minutes and found the series again. I only bought the first book as I have not read a book since High School.

Needless to say, I read the book IN A DAY. It was all I could have ever hoped for and it was a lot better than I actually remember it. I will be buying the entirety of the set on my next paycheck without a doubt. I highly recommend this for everyone. Not just for kids (I would say at least 9 and up as it recommends due to the violence. Which is great for adults though.) but adults as well. This was easily one of the best story telling books of fantasy I have read in quite a long time. And I have read all of the Warcraft books, LOTR and Harry Potter. (Who hasn't read Harry Potter though?)
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on April 15, 2014
I am waffling between four and five stars for this brilliantly written, plotted and executed middle grade novel. This is the story of Gregor and his wonderfully adorable little sister Boots. They fall down a laundry chute into the terrifying, dark, and fabulous Underland where they encounter giant roaches, man-eating rats, and bats bonded to humans.

This story is definitely dark but oddly endearing. Boots provides much needed comic relief and the entire book is high octane adventure almost from the very beginning. I would have to say that I didn't love this as much as the author's other wonderful book "The Hunger Games" but I think it might be that this one was obviously written and intended for a younger audience. Gregor the Overlander wasn't quite as deep and involved as Hunger Games and therefore, maybe not quite as attractive to adults.

Kudos none the less on this great book and I fully plan on reading more in the series!
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on May 14, 2017
This my first Suzanne Collins book. I found very entertaining. The web she wove in this book started with 2 main characters and blossomed into an entire community. I will definitely book 2 in this series to keep up with the travels of Gregor and the Overlanders. Fiction and fantasy at its best .
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on May 10, 2014
I'd heard about this series many times and it had been bobbing away in my to-read list for a while. I finally decided to take the plunge and read the first book, Gregor the Overlander. That was a few months ago and I've finally found the time to post a review.

This story is a journey of an unwitting, and mainly unwilling hero, Gregor. He's a quiet boy who finds himself in the middle of a huge challenge in a dark and troubled world.

Gregor somehow manages to tumble down a mysterious hole (the laundry grate) and finds himself in a strange and mysterious place known as Underland, which happens to be below his home city. And, to make matters a little more tricky, his 2 year-old sister, Boots, is with him. Underland is a place that's full of giant rats, hefty spiders, sizable cockroaches and humans known as Underlanders. It's not your ideal place to spend time, but it's one where Gregor finds a link to the mysterious and unsolved disappearance of his father a couple of years before.

Upon arrival, he is met by Underlings who insist that Gregor is the promised one. The one who is destined to save them from a life of misery should the fragile peace be broken. Gregor isn't so keen on his newfound importance and is torn throughout the tale. He wants nothing more than to find his father, but he’s also in denial of his new warrior status, as foretold in the Underland prophecy. Ultimately he just wants to go home, so he soon realises that perhaps all three things (dad, home, help) can be achieved and he reluctantly agrees to help his hosts. There's plenty of twists and surprises for him along how way, which provided plenty of tension and excitement to keep my interest until the end.

If there was one thing that I wasn't keen on, it was Boots, Gregor’s two year old sibling. I wasn't sure what value the character added to the story, or even why she was included. I felt that she just vaguely lingered in the background and popped up every so often when there was a lull in the story. It may have been a little more interesting if the author had explored the impact that traveling with such a youngster would have on Gregor in more detail. I've read other reviews where Boots was a favorite character, so I guess it's really just a personal observation, rather than a fault or flaw in the plot. But that aside, I did enjoy the book. I'll be sure to read the subsequent books in the series, so I can follow Gregor’s journey to the end.

In a nutshell ... Gregor the Overlander was an entertaining read, which has hooked me for the rest of the series. It's a great debut novel from an author who has gone on to become hugely successful.

Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.
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on October 5, 2015
Eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister Boots fall into the Underland, a world under the world. They are greeted by giant cockroaches (crawlers) who believe Boots to be a princess. Also living in the Underland are humans, giant bats (flyers), giant spiders (spinners), and giant rats (gnawers). The rats invade the humans’ land and it’s up to Gregor (deemed the Warrior in the Prophecy of Gray) to stop the war.

I read Gregor The Overlander to my 7 and 9 year old sons. Before I finished reading it, the 7-year-old asked if our next book to read could be the next one in this series. I consider that a win. The story is interesting and moves along at a good pace. I highly recommend it for children and adults alike.
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on May 21, 2013
Flashplot: This five-book fantasy series follows the formula of many middle grade/YA quest fantasies: Young boy living less than desirable life in our world suddenly finds himself in a fantasy world where he's prophesied to save the day. He makes allies and enemies, looses mentors, and falls in love.

As a reader: Despite following the formula of such series, Gregor the Overlander is a creative and entertaining set of books for young readers. I found it took a while to connect with the main protagonist, Gregor. He seemed flat and a bit void of the emotional responses readers would expect from a character undergoing the trials he was facing. But as the first book reaches its climax, Gregor begins to sound like the eleven-year-old boy he is. The plots of these books also improve as the series progresses. I enjoyed the first two books of the series from the viewpoint of a teacher, but felt, unlike Collins' newer series, they lacked the more adult themes that gave the Hunger Games a wider appeal. In the final books of the Overlander series, though, Collins definitely addresses the universal themes of oppression, racism, and leadership--all through characters made up of rats, bats, fireflies, and the occasional human. This is a series both parents and children will enjoy!

As a writer: While it took me a awhile to see Gregor as a rounded character, it took me surprisingly little time to picture the world into which he fell. Collins' is a master world builder. Within the first chapters readers will find themselves not only able to picture the giant cockroaches that make up one set of characters, but will also fall in love with them for their backwards speech patterns and loving nature. I also admired Collins' ability to develop the character of Boots. It is extremely hard to make a toddler both realistic and interesting to an older audience. Boots could have become an annoying or flat character hindering middle grade readers enjoyment of the story, but in Collins' hands she becomes a lovable and rather round little tyke.

Bottom line: At the middle school where I teach, I ran the summer reading group for book one in this series. Of the nearly forty students who read it, three-quarters chose to read the rest of the series--over their summer vacations, without their parents forcing them. I think that says more than anything I could put in a review!
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on March 12, 2012
For the first time in a very long time, I can highly recommend a children's book for being 1) well-written, good literature; 2) interesting and fun, and 3) wholly appropriate.

The main character is 11, and I would recommend it to that age or higher. There's nary a curse word or even a kiss. The themes are very family-friendly; he helps support his family financially, cares about his family, takes good of his family members -- even a sick grandmother and a toddler.

The toddler stays with Gregor throughout the book, and their relationship is beautiful. He's patient, reassuring, and protective. He would give his own life for her (literally) AND, what is sometimes harder, changes her diapers without ever complaining.

The writing style is excellent and the story is enthralling. For this first book, the story level is somewhat childish, but I still really enjoyed it. As the series progresses, it becomes very deep and heavy (violence and gore -- not gratuitous, but still serious -- and grave issues of war, ethics, loyalty, destiny, fate, life's purpose, etc.).

It's been a long time since I read a modern book (especially a YA novel) that truly makes you think and ponder. Suzanne uses this deftly woven story to challenge its readers to question some of their fundamental beliefs about society, loyalty, humanity, ethics, and other issues of war. But also it's a super cool story.
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on February 9, 2015
Who knew a children's novel would be so much fun for a 27 year old to read! Gregor the Overlander is an awesome, fun/funny and well written book for kids of all ages! I can see parents reading this to their kids for bed time (unless bats and rats creep them out). I'm about halfway done and decided to buy the 2nd book so I could have it on hand once I'm done with this!
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on July 23, 2011
An even better and more creative series by Suzanne Collins, author of the popular Hunger Games trilogy, about an 11 year-old boy named Gregor who falls from the laundry room of his New York apartment building into a secret underground world with his 2 year-old sister. This strange place is populated by humans and talking bats, roaches, spiders, and rats, who have created some good and bad, but always interesting, relationships. And of course no good fantasy series is complete without a mysterious prophecy that has already sucked in its willing and unwilling participants into a quest.

If you liked the Hunger Games and are looking for more, or if you liked other fantasy series like Percy Jackson, Nicholas Flamel, and Chronicles of Narnia, then I highly recommend the Underland Chronicles. Hell, I recommend it to any reader. I must admit that I like the Underland Chronicles better than the Hunger Games, and my second rereading of both books confirmed this. My friend calls this blasphemy, but I just call it the truth! While Collins fell short for me at times in the creation of a somewhat annoying and distant Katniss in the Hunger Games, she's done a much better job in my opinion with Gregor, a temperamental but good-hearted and courageous young boy. In fact, I enjoyed all of the characters here including the cheerful and pooping Boots, the haughty but tragic Luxa, and the sarcastic and surly Ripred. And if she can make me feel emotional about bats and roaches (ugh, shudder), then you know she's done a good job.

I also think this is better than a lot of the other recent series, many of which can seem too forced and contrived in their efforts to sound modern and have characters that disappoint (*ahem* Percy Jackson *cough*). The Gregor series is in its own strange and timeless world, with real emotions and real heart. This book is very well paced and flies by real quickly. I read it in one day! I definitely think this can be enjoyed by adults as well as kids. While at first I thought this book was geared more for younger kids, I think it has some more mature themes and emotions than you'd expect. There are a few deaths throughout the book, although most are animals and insects (doesn't make it any less sad or disturbing though!), and discussions about death and war.

Now I know that some of you may may be anti-talking animals (or anti-roach like me) or hear some of the elements of this story and think it's weird, dorky, or similar to other series, but seriously you MUST read this. Read at least the first one and see what you think about it. Soon you won't even realize that the characters you're reading about are really giant talking roaches and bats. Soon you'll be thoroughly engrossed in this strange new world. And soon your heart will jump every time you hear these endearing characters salute each other during the best and and worst times ("Fly you high!").
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