Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

It is always strange to love one series by an author and then pick up another without knowing what to expect. I loved The Hunger Games series so when I saw that she had written a previous book series I knew I had to get it. Being from the same author, the two series will naturally draw comparisons. Gregor is a middle grade series, where The Hunger Games was Young Adult, so I didn’t expect them to be the same, but there are so many differences between the two that it was a little jarring at first. Luckily, the story proved good enough to get passed any of these issues.

When Gregor follows his sister Boots into the grate in his laundry room, he falls into an Underground world filled with talking creatures. He soon learns that his father, who disappeared a couple years ago, also landed in this strange land but has been taken hostage by the vicious rats. If this wasn’t enough, Gregor learns that he may just be the warrior that the Underground people have been waiting for.

The greatest strength in this book is the complex layers of the people that Collins introduces. Luxa is a prime example of a character who starts out exceedingly unlikable but as we slowly peel away the layers of her personality we get to know and like her. Gregor is equally likable as he grows into his role as hero and learns some hard lessons from his experiences.

Like with The Hunger Games, Collins does not shy away from the tough moments like betrayal and death. We feel Gregor’s pain as strongly as we ever felt Katniss’s. But where the young adult series is full of sorrow and angst, the Underland Series is balanced with some light humor and comic relief to make for a less intense but no less enjoyable series.

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