- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
- Series: Underland Chronicles (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0439435366
- ISBN-13: 978-0439435369
- Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1,005 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles) Hardcover – September 1, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-In this accessible, almost-cinematic fantasy, Gregor and his two-year-old sister fall into an amazing underground world. Taken in by people who have lived beneath the earth for centuries, the 11-year-old learns about the giant-sized talking creatures that also reside there, including bats, cockroaches, and vicious rats. Gregor just wants to get home, but a prophecy hints that he may be the "overlander" destined to save the humans from the warlike rodents. He is reluctant until he learns that his father, who disappeared from their New York City home a few years before, is a prisoner of the rats. Gregor is not an eager hero, but with common sense, quick thinking, and determination he grows into the role. His sister, who provides some comic relief, also plays a key part because of her ability to befriend creatures, especially the giant cockroaches. Plot threads unwind smoothly, and the pace of the book is just right. Exciting scenes and cliff-hanger chapters are balanced by decisions and interactions that drive the action. Gregor is not the most compelling figure at first, but as the story progresses he becomes more interesting, maturing through the challenges he faces. Supporting characters are generally engaging, particularly the enigmatic warrior rat that claims to support the protagonist's mission. This is an engrossing adventure for fantasy fans and for those new to the genre.
Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. What if Alice fell down an air vent in a New York City apartment building instead of down a rabbit hole? Collins considers a similar possibility in her exceptional debut novel, a well-written, fast-moving, action-packed fantasy. Eleven-year-old Gregor expects a long, boring summer of baby-sitting his two-year-old sister, Boots, and his senile grandmother. Distracted with thoughts about his father, who disappeared three years ago, Gregor belatedly notices that Boots has crawled into an air vent in the laundry room. He dives in after her, and the two are sucked downward into the Underland, a fantastic subterranean world of translucent-skinned, violet-eyed humans, and giant talking cockroaches, bats, spiders, and rats. Eventually, the terrified Gregor is transformed into a warrior hero who leads a successful battle against an army of invading rats and discovers his father, who has long been held prisoner by the enemy. Collins creates a fascinating, vivid, highly original world and a superb story to go along with it, and Gregor is endearing as a caring, responsible big brother who rises triumphantly to every challenge. This is sure to be a solid hit with young fantasy fans. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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 :)
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?)
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!
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.