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Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1)
Gregor the Overlander - Underland Chronicles, Bk 1
Author: Suzanne Collins
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780439678131
ISBN-10: 0439678137
Publication Date: 8/1/2004
Pages: 320
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 101

4 stars, based on 101 ratings
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

ColdSnap avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I really loved this book. It was, as a young adult book should be, a super fast read that was totally engaging. The Underland was described in enough detail for the imagination to get really cranking, and it posed enough questions about the life there to leave room for plenty of sequels.

The characters were multi-dimensional as well as believable, and the main character was interesting. I liked his relationship to his younger sister, Boots, and the sense of responsiblity that he has for his family since his father disappeared.

The quest for the father reminded me a bit of a similar quest made by another brother & sister duo in A Wrinkle in Time. Another comparison could be made in the method of arriving in the Underland to the immortal classic Alice in Wonderland, although this book clearly stands on its own two feet.

With questions of honor, loss, and independence addressed in this book it is a page turner that could easily pique the interest of the pickiest reader. (Including the hard to catch younger boy readers!)
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 5322 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

After surviving a bizarre fall through a gateway to the Underland--conveniently located in the laundry room of their NYC apartment building--eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister Boots discover a world filled with giant talking cockroaches, rats, spiders, and bats. The humans of this formidable world take them in as "guests," but, as Gregor astutely observes, "Guests could leave it they wanted to" (p. 54). Not knowing whom to trust, Gregor flees the palace with Boots, inadvertently igniting the prophesied war between the humans and rats.

Highlighting Gregor's role as the consistently responsible older brother, Collins creates a heroic character for young adult readers even before revealing that Gregor is about to fulfill his destiny as "an Overland Warrior, a Son of the Sun" (p. 109). Yes, there is violence, but not simply for the sake of being violent; Collins's use of violence is appropriate to her story.

Gregor is a great introduction for readers who are new to the fantasy genre. The main characters are human, and are well-grounded in reality--New York City, doing laundry, babysitting, summer camp. Still, there is enough of the fantastic--giant talking animals, gateways into another world, prophecies--to stimulate the imagination and introduce newcomers to fantasy without being overwhelming.

Massachusetts Children's Book Award Honor Book, 2006

Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 2006

NAIBA Book of the Year Award, 2004
ophelia99 avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I liked the book Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins that I got the first couple books in her Underland Chronicles. This is the first book in that series and this series is definitely focused to a younger age of child than the Hunger Games was.

In this book Gregor is forced to skip summer camp to watch his 2 year old sister. Gregor's dad went missing and his grandma is kind of neither here nor there and it is really hot and they don't have air-conditioning...so basically it looks like his summer it going to suck. Or so he thinks. Then it gets even worse when him and his sister (Boots) are sucked down an air vent into the Underland. The Underland is full of giants bugs, spiders, and rats as well as a race of humans that are trying to survive down there. They think Gregor is the warrior of their prophecy.

This is a solid kid's fantasy book. I didn't think it was super original or exciting; a lot of the ideas and the book can be found in other stories. It was well written though and I think a younger kid would enjoy it. A quick, easy read.

By the end of the story, I found that I was enjoying the story. This is definitely a lower level of reading though than Collins second series. The story was a bit tedious at times too. Overall I liked the book but I wasn't ecstatic about it. I will read the second book and see what I think about that one...then I will decide it I want to read the rest of the series. Definitely not as well-written and creative as The Hunger Games though.
skywriter319 avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 784 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Eleven-year-old Gregor thought he was going to spend his whole summer sweltering in his NYC apartment babysitting his two-year-old sister Boots and his deranged grandmother. But when he and Boots fall through a chute in his laundry room, they end up in the Underland, a scary world filled with huge, creepy critters, he doesn't realize that life as he knows it is going to completely change.

For the royal human family in the Underland thinks he is the long-awaited "Overland" warrior from a vague prophecy. The prophecy insists that Gregor--along with an odd assortment of allies that includes members of the royal family, spiders, cockroaches, bats, and even the dread rats--embark on a quest that may determine the survival of them all.

Even though he doesn't think he is the warrior, Gregor has a personal motive for going along with the prophecy: it's one way he can possibly discover what happened to his father, who disappeared years ago. That, and the thought of keeping Boots safe and getting back home to New York City, keeps Gregor along the path of mortal danger, and causes him to make decisions he never knew he was ready to make.

GREGOR THE OVERLANDER marks the beginning of a remarkably well-written fantasy adventure series for nine- to twelve-year-olds. It's been a while since I've read anything in this genre, so maybe I can't justifiably say that I thought characterization slightly lacking and the ending all too suden. Because I found tears pricking at my eyes at many touching moments in the book. Gregor is an admirable protagonist who grows throughout his adventure, and all of the supporting characters are interesting and unique in their own respects. Middle-school boys and girls alike will want to pick this book up, and for the rest of us who are anxiously awaiting the release of Collins' Catching Fire (the sequel to The Hunger Games), this is a great series that will engross us in the meantime.
reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is absolutely fantastic. One of my favorites. I have read the entire series three times! I love this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book.
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reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on
At first glance, there is little to set Collins' *Gregor the Overlander* from other youth books. The plot is straightforward and hardly original, the setting is not particularly unique either, and the writing, though tolerable, is not the stuff of classics. What sets this book apart from others, though, is its supreme treatment of its story, setting and especially its characters.

The Underland manages to be a fascinating place. Though the presence of talking animals and a 500-year old human civilization is more than a bit unbelievable (as is the neat fact that they all speak understandable non-Shakespearean English), it never ventures beyond the bounds of young adult fantasy. And apart from the language caveat noted above, there are a number of nice differences between the Underland culture and Gregor's.

The story keeps you interested, and there is no unrealistically tidy ending. Gregor's reunion with his long-lost dad is not everything he dreamed it would be. The treachery of another has real, painful consequences to those on the receiving end of it. And just because Ripred the rat is an ally and has 'awes0me fighting skillz' does not mean he is immediately a trusted friend.

Though, the main characters are well-developed and noticeably *grow* throughout the story. I don't consider it a flaw that the rat-villains remain mostly vague, scary and somewhat cartoonish; the bulk of the story and character development is focused on the 'questors', as it should be. The heroic characters have flaws, and the more villainous characters are not irredeemable. We don't need to be told that humans and rats hate each other or that most creatures look down on the cockroaches; it is clearly seen in the actions.

Most importantly, the book is enjoyable. At the end, I wasn't disgusted by the obvious 'plot hook' for a sequel; i was looking forward to another visit to the Underland, particularly with Collins' characters. Better yet, the series improves in more ways than one as it continues. *Gregor the Overlander* is a stand-out beginning to a great young adult series.

Recommended.
reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 15 more book reviews
I hate fantasy and sci-fi, but this book was an exception. It was wonderful and had a wonderful plot. Good for all ages.
skywriter319 avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 784 more book reviews
Eleven-year-old Gregor thought he was going to spend his whole summer sweltering in his NYC apartment babysitting his two-year-old sister Boots and his deranged grandmother. But when he and Boots fall through a chute in his laundry room, they end up in the Underland, a scary world filled with huge, creepy critters, he doesn't realize that life as he knows it is going to completely change.

For the royal human family in the Underland thinks he is the long-awaited "Overland" warrior from a vague prophecy. The prophecy insists that Gregor--along with an odd assortment of allies that includes members of the royal family, spiders, cockroaches, bats, and even the dread rats--embark on a quest that may determine the survival of them all.

Even though he doesn't think he is the warrior, Gregor has a personal motive for going along with the prophecy: it's one way he can possibly discover what happened to his father, who disappeared years ago. That, and the thought of keeping Boots safe and getting back home to New York City, keeps Gregor along the path of mortal danger, and causes him to make decisions he never knew he was ready to make.

GREGOR THE OVERLANDER marks the beginning of a remarkably well-written fantasy adventure series for nine- to twelve-year-olds. It's been a while since I've read anything in this genre, so maybe I can't justifiably say that I thought characterization slightly lacking and the ending all too suden. Because I found tears pricking at my eyes at many touching moments in the book. Gregor is an admirable protagonist who grows throughout his adventure, and all of the supporting characters are interesting and unique in their own respects. Middle-school boys and girls alike will want to pick this book up, and for the rest of us who are anxiously awaiting the release of Collins' Catching Fire (the sequel to The Hunger Games), this is a great series that will engross us in the meantime.
reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 30 more book reviews
I loved this book and couldn't wait to read the rest of the series. I originally got it because I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, even though this one is "for kids". After I finished it my nine-year-old picked it up and read it faster than any novel she has read yet! Now my eleven-year-old is reading it and also loving it. GREAT series for adults and children. More appropriate for the younger kids than The Hunger Games for sure.
reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 21 more book reviews
My son loved it.... He is reading the rest of the series.
Bixie23 avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 15 more book reviews
Excellent book for the 8-12 and maybe even 13-15 set. First in a series, multiple award winner, and on many late elementary school/middle school reading lists
leesie avatar reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 65 more book reviews
What a fun read! This book is an urban twist on Alice's pastoral Wonderland, instead of caterpillars and flowers she has rats, spiders and cockroaches. Collins takes difficult subjects, among them war and racial stereotyping, and makes an edge-of-your-seat action adventure. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
reviewed Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Bk 1) on + 23 more book reviews
The first of 3 books so far--mostly will appeal to YA audiences, but I enjoyed the premise: a world that is accidently discovered to exist underground with giant bugs, rats that talk and strange people that had once lived above ground.

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