In truth, this book is more of a part one of two than it is really a book on its own, which isn’t to say there is anything wrong with it. The book is still great, it simply forces you to continue on to the next way (which I would have read regardless because the series had been so solid anyway).
When Luxa gets news that the Nibblers (them mice) of Undlerland) are in trouble, she and Gregor attempt to sneak off to help them. They do not make it out unnoticed and are forced to take along a number of others. Their journey takes them to a dark, unexpected place where they learn what is behind the mice’s troubles and attempt to save them.
The groundwork that Collins laid out in the first two books really starts to play itself out. The Bane is no longer a cute baby mouse, but a somewhat grown up, out of control creature who means big trouble for the Underland.
This book feels a little more similar to the Hunger Games series than those that preceded it. It is darker and grimmer than anything we have seen thus far and sets us up for the all-out war we knew had to be coming–what fantasy series is complete without it?
We have watched Gregor grow into his role as the Warrior but he still has more to learn. He may be a rager (someone who transforms into a great warrior), but he doesn’t know how to control his abilities. He can’t seem to make the slightest bit of progress with his ecolocation training. But even with these problems, he is stronger than he was when we first met him. And he’s older, which means he’s starting to realize the attractions of the opposite sex, which leads to some unwelcome, awkward moments.
This installment serves to endear us even further to Gregor, Ripred, and some of the other Underworlders, while showing us just how awful and complicated things can get.