There has been a lot of hoopla at my library surrounding The Hunger Games. We picked it as the first book for our book club this summer and we ordered way too many copies. We have been lending out the extras to as many people as we can and have started something of a movement. After I managed to snatch up a copy of Catching Fire at ALA, everybody at the library was ecstatic. It is currently on its 8th reader and will move on to one more person in town before making its way off to my mom, dad and sister.
Since the book is so popular, we just recently purchased Suzanne Collins’ first venture into series fiction, the Gregor the Overlander books. I have had people telling me for a while now that I need to read them, and they were very popular at my old library, but I had a strong aversion to reading them.
I refuse to read most books about animals, because, let’s face it, the animals in children’s books usually end up being abused, abandoned, hurt, and most often killed. I DO NOT like to read about things like that. So I have not read Sounder, The Yearling, Where the Red Fern Grows, or any of those other classics. Well, I knew from hearing Suzanne Collins speak, that the Gregor books were all about war, but she couldn’t kill off people to illustrate her point, so she substituted animals. Ummmmm, yeah……..everything about that statement made me not want to read those books.
But, I was having Suzanne Collins withdrawal, and I got curious. I decided to read the books super fast so as not to become attached to any of the characters and just read them to know what happens. Of course, the books were really good and so it was impossible to read without getting attached to the characters.
Quick synopsis of what the books are about: Gregor is a regular New York kid whose Dad disappeared a few years ago. He lives with his Mom, Grandma, and two sisters in a tiny apartment. One day his little sister Boots is sucked into a vent in the laundry room and he follows her into the Underland. The Underland is filled with giant Cockroaches, Bats, Spiders, and Rats. There are also humans, who are constantly fighting against the rats for survival. Gregor is sucked into this world and finds himself chosen as “The Warrior” who will help the humans.
Let me just say that I LOVED THESE BOOKS!!!!!!!! I never thought I would fall in love with a giant cochroach (or crawler as the Underlanders call them) but if anyone can make that happen, it is Suzanne Collins. (I love you Temp!!!!) The characters in the books are so well drawn and she really does great things with the interactions between the different species. You can also see the promise of things to come in The Hunger Games. One of my favorite characters was Ripred the rat, and he is like the precurser to Haymitch. Also, Gregor could be compared to Katniss. His emotions run high, he makes mistakes, sometimes he makes you mad, but he is willing to do anything for his family.
My Sweet Temp
Now, I will warn you, I did love these books, but there were times when they were hard for me to read. Hundreds Thousands of animals die in these books. Now you might think that it wouldn’t matter to you if rats and roaches were dying all over the place, but trust me, you totally will. I cried my eyes out at least once in every single book. When I started reading the first one, the prophecy at the beginning said there would be a quest and 4 of the questers would die. Okay, I thought, I can handle four characters dying over the series. Oh wait, nope, that’s four characters in the FIRST BOOK!!!! So just a little heads up about that.
Somewhere I had heard that fans were really mad about the end of the series. I think I know what they are upset about, but I was completely satisfied with the way it ended. I don’t want her to write any more about those characters because I like the way it ended and it gave me great hope that she can finish off The Hunger Games trilogy in a great way.
So, if you need something to read, definitely pick up this series. There are five books, and each one is better than the one before it. I loved the 5th one the most. They read really quick so don’t be intimidated by them. So if you are waiting anxiously for Catching Fire, pick these up to keep you busy until September 1st.