Three Good Reasons to Read Suzanne Collins’ Five Underland Chronicles: Gregor the Overlander Meets Harry and Katniss

Since a reader here suggested long ago that I read Suzanne Collins’ first series of books, the five Gregor the Overlander novels, The Underland Chronicles, for a better idea of what she is up to as a writer in Hunger Games, this has been on my to-do list. I finished the fifth book, Gregor and the Code of the Claw, last night and offer these three good reasons for you to purchase the five books today and begin reading them.

(1) The series is never, ever going to be made into movies. It’s books or nothing, folks.

(2)  The Chronicles open up the core meaning of Hunger Games and the evolution of Collins’ artistry.

(3) They are page-turning, heart-engaging, “O, brave New World!” adventure yarns you will love.

In other words, “If you love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, then….” For what are pretty much spoiler-free explanations of the three reasons, jump the jump.

(1) It’s never, ever going to be made into a movie.

I like movies as much as the next guy, if I struggle to take them seriously as art. I am very grateful, of course, for the Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games movie franchises because they bring in millions of readers who pick up the novels after seeing the film version, even if that adaptation is a far, far cry from the original story.

But Gregor the Overlander isn’t coming to theatres near you ever. If Hunger Games is bigger than Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, and all seven, um, eight  Harry Potter films combined, the biggest adaptation you’re going to see of these stories is a BBC radio production. And that’s a stretch. Why am I so confident this is a ‘page only’ story experience?

  • It’s the only book to break the lovable cockroach, rodent, and bat barrier.

It’s as if the vermin of Brian Jacques Redwall books take over the storytelling — Cluny the Bard. Really, if you cringe at the thought of a really big bug and rats and bats are the stuff of your nightmares, this is going to be a wild stretch for you even to read — and just imagine it on the big screen! Rats as large as human beings, bugs like buses that adore, surround, and insist on playing with human kiddies, and bats as your best friends, also all as big as human beings. Willard wouldn’t make it as a coming of age film. Gregor ain’t making it as a film.

  • It takes place in the dark.

Not much to add here. The story setting, besides the story frames in a NYC apartment building, is “miles beneath the city,” where human beings and Land of the Dinosaurs versions of rats, mice, moles, bats, cockroaches, snakes, lizards, and human beings live (the people are normal sized because they only moved into the Underland four centuries ago). It’s pitch black except where the human beings live and most of the stories take place in the other parts of Underland, which is to say, the “dark side.”

I don’t care how adventurous a film-maker is, a movie that is lit mainly by torches and experienced in the end by echolocation is not going to get the money for CGI it needs. Imagine for a moment sitting in a dark theatre for two hours watching a dark screen about vast dark spaces you can only imagine.

  • The Story features a 3 year old Heroine.

‘Boots’ is a winning character and a really important part of the show. There is no way, shy of a fully animated film, you’re going to find an actress that can play the part convincingly. Collins captures the cute spontaneity, naivete, unconditional love, and maddening selfishness of a precocious infant better than any story teller I can remember. This success, however, makes a movie adaptation of the books in which Boots is central that much more unlikely.

  • The figurative darkness is as profound as the literal black-out.

Because you’re a Hunger Games reader, you know that Suzanne Collins isn’t bashful about interjecting a little violence into her stories. Y’know, children thinking of creative ways to kill other children so adults can watch the murders on teevee? That sort of thing. Well, as hard as the dystopian stories will be to bring to the movies without a NR-17 rating or worse, Gregor trumps that. Human beings fighting with much-larger-than-life rats, a feature of each novel, and graphic death handed out by 12 year olds wrapped up in a story that explores in not very subtle allegories the Holocaust, the destruction of Native American civilization, and the Israel-Palestinian divide is not a Hollywood hot property.

It won’t make it as a film, then, which is really unfortunate. Because these books make great reading. No joke.

(2) It opens up the core meaning of Hunger Games and the evolution of Collins’ core artistry.

The Underland Chronicles merit the critical attention we gave Mockingjay but I don’t have the time and the books don’t have the audience to justify that full treatment. Let me just summarize, then, for new readers familiar with Harry Potter and Hunger Games will get in these stories that they’ll recognize and enjoy. First, the Harry Potter echoes:

  • A World Just Around the Corner You’d Never Know Was There

Are the Underland Chronicles just Potter knock-offs? Hardly, but, as they were published by Scholastic in 2003 at the height of Harry Hysteria (to be distinguished from the earlier age of the mania, the witchcraft focused Potter Panic) by a first time novelist, you’d have to be blind not to catch the common ground shared by Gregor and Harry. They’re not twins or mirror reflections but the family resemblance is more than striking.

Each is in his twelfth year. Both have difficult home lives and sleep in very tight spaces. The boys discover a world within the surface world that they accepted as the only reality — and, mirabile dictu, they discover that in this world they have remarkable powers neither had in his mundane life and that they have messianic or world-saving destinies that people are very much aware of in their other world.

  • Hero’s Journey, Narrative Voice, Sacrificial love…

Gregor goes back and forth between the Over and Underlands between adventures. He is drawn back into his other life repeatedly and has a hero journey, complete with an acquired-at-near-loss-of-life lesson won in combat with self and scary foe. The story is told from right over this guy’s shoulder, that’s right, 3rd person limited omniscient. You’ll recognize the perspective, I’m sure.

  • A Prophecy! It’s About Choice! Down with the Metanarrative!

Four of the five stories feature an ancient Prophecy featuring Gregor as “the Warrior” and the struggle in each of these adventures is to figure out what the obscure prophecy really means. This resembles the Harry Potter prophecy in its working out eventually into a celebration of personal choice over fated destiny as per core postmodern beliefs.

Collins works it at a different angle, though, in ultimately, I think, turning it into a picture of the reader’s experience and understanding of the text each of us has entered. just as Gregor has to work out his right relationship with the poetic destiny that is shy on specifics by making the heroic, sacrificial choice (Hey, does this boy have a “saving people thing”? You betcha). Especially in the series finale, the author tips her hand via the smart character, Ripred the Rat, and his confessing what he thinks of the prophecies and how to live with them.

Hint: It’s a metanarrative thing, maybe even an attack on religious belief, though it seems more like “conventional thinking.” Postmodernism 101: Don’t believe what you think, Self-Actualize though Choice, and, always, Speak Truth to Power.

Which brings us to The Hunger Games notes and anticipatory echoes in the Underland Chronicles from the later series:

  • Story Structure

All five books are three parts, nine chapters per part, twenty seven chapters total. It’s the Collins’ three cubed three act signature.

  • Literary Alchemy and Rings

This requires a more careful reading than I gave the books on my first pass, obviously, but the shocking nigredo revelation typically was followed by floods or sea journey, with a climax of fire in the later books. It bears a close look with the alchemical glasses on.

  • The Pearl

Boots’ real name is ‘Margaret,’ which means ‘Pearl’ and she is the love of the book, what keeps the hero on the straight and selfless narrow. The big bad rat, too, is all white and, though called “the Bane,” has the real name of Pearlpelt. Collins didn’t start her pearl fascination with Peeta, Katniss, and company.

The inner light symbolism, too, is concurrent with this imagery. Life to the Underlanders is called “light” and the Queen to be in the boks and Gregor’s love interest is named ‘Luxa.” Not especially subtle, Margaret and Luxa, but the light shining in the darkness and Dantesque story structure deliver the Cave Allegory meaning much like Hunger Games.

  • The Violence, unabridged

The books are bloody and unsparing in their depiction of the cost of battle. Four of the twelve adventurers in the first book die, as predicted in the relevant Prophecy and you get an up close experience of each with suitable grief and shock on the other battlers’ part.

  • War and Peace

Which brings us to the big message of the Gregor Saga: wars are horrible horrible things in which everyone loses profoundly by necessity, no one is fully justified, and the folks calling the shots are crooked, nasty folks.

And yet, wars must be fought because thee is evil in the world that must be confronted and relative and absolute goods that must be protected.

And yet, the consequences of war are inevitably shattered lives and persons who are never quite right afterwards.

Sound familiar? Gregor ends on a more upbeat note than Games does in Mockingjay’s Meadow but the anti-war, “war is hell,” and pro-soldier and pro-Principle anthems, the multi-faceted and anything but simple depictions of life in war time that Collins presents in her first five books is only different in delivery and impact in Panem. It’s the same pitch. Western Union couldn’t deliver the message the way Collins does.

(3) They are page-turning, heart-engaging, “O, brave New World!” adventure yarns you will love.

I cannot recommend these stories highly enough. My biggest question after flying through them was “Why weren’t these books as popular as Hunger Games?” I came up with four answers beyond the four above about why Hollywood didn’t pick the series up:

  • Bad Timing

They came out during Potter Mania, 2003-2008, and we were busy reading other big books from Scholastic.

  • Lousy Covers, no illustrations

Really, their covers are not professional, Warmbloods being an exception, and there aren’t any chapter illustrations. If you want Potter popularity, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in some pictures. Then again, pictures of bats, rats, and cockroaches? Maybe just work on the covers.

  • The Not Quite Credible SubCreation

I loved the Underland but all the supersized creatures know the way out to the Overland — and none of them ever takes it. Given the mayhem and species cleansing there by germ warfare, intentional famine, and systematic attack and extermination, that fails the believability test. We’re just not given sufficient reason to buy into this world way beneath our world never bleeding into our world.

I hope someday Collins will write that story as a sequel, namely, what happens if a group of Ripred rats come to NYC to help their smaller friends there (we learn in Warmbloods there is Over-Underland contact betwixt vermin). Giant bats with human bonded warrior-pilots, cockroaches, and rats fighting in Central Park — that would be a fun spin…

And you could make a movie out of that, if Boots has aged a few years!

  • No Soul Triptych

A big part of Harry and Katniss’ ‘wow’ effect on readers is their being the heart or soul of a three character triptych representing the body-mindspirit aspects of the human person, Ron-Hermione-Harry, Gale-Katniss-Peeta. We don’t get this soul projection-board in the lead figures of the Underland Chronicles and there just isn’t the same depth of engagement, identification really, in these books.

We have a great love story with Gregor and Luxa and you could rate Ripred as the body or the mind, but if we call this body-will-spirit, it has the feel of forcing the pieces. There’s no Jacob-Bella-Edward tension here, no Quarreling Couple per se that leaps out at you. Collins discovery of the power of the Lead Trio and Soul Triptych is the biggest step up in her story telling in Games.

Other than that, it’s as good as Hunger Games in many places — laugh out loud funny, crazy gory, and there are plenty of opportunities to cry cathartically for the good deed done and death endured for the right. I recommend the Chronicles highly, especially to Hunger Games true believers. I was able to buy used hard covers for a penny and postage via fetchbooks.info and it was a delightful ride start to finish. [Actually, I found the finish of Code of the Claw disappointing but spilling why here would really be a spoiler, so I’ll restrain myself.]

Your comments and corrections, please! Please put a Spoiler Alert over your two bits if you want to comment or ask a question about a specific book or the series plot point non-readers won’t know.


Comments

  1. Louise M. Freeman says:

    John,

    I have heard this series is intended for a younger audience than Hunger Games…. is that your impression?

  2. Kathleen says:

    I am not John, but I can answer this. Yes they are for a younger audience. I am always trying to find excellent books to recommend to young readers so I read this series. Some of it is disturbing if the reader doesn’t like bugs, and the family situation is troubling, but it was “meaty” and kept me hooked. The vocabulary and length are also geared to younger readers. I enjoyed these books precisely because I couldn’t figure out where it was going- and I have read so much that a predictable story- unless it is a known “classic” is boring. these were satisfying.

  3. My son is reading them now and really enjoying them. It is a great spring board for conversations. I really recommend them (I read the series through first before giving them to my son). My son was 11 when he started and has turned 12 just like the hero does during the series. It does have violence like is mentioned but it is packaged in a more fantastical setting with such fantasy elements that I think it makes it a little easier on kids to read. It could be a great segue into The Hunger Games series for those kids who are interested to read it but not quite ready.

    Thanks for the write up John and fly you high!

  4. Run like the River, Lynn!

  5. Louise M. Freeman says:

    Thank you! My 11 year old has asked about reading the Hunger Game, having heard his teenage sister and I discussing them, but I’ve been putting him off, thinking 13-14 was a more appropriate age. I just requested the first two from my local library… we’ll see if he likes them.

    He has been enjoying both the Kane Chronicles and 39 clues series, though I haven’t read either myself.

  6. =)
    Louise, my son has read a variety of books and really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series as well as Ender’s Game (which admittedly was above level from a complexity standpoint when he read them the summer before 5th grade, but he loved it.) I hope he rereads that in a couple of years to get a deeper level of meaning. I am not sure how that compares with the books your son likes, but I think there might be some commonality. The point of all that is that my son is really enjoying these books and he is on the second to last book now.

    I think that your son really might like them but you might want to read them too because Collins does not shy away from the tough subjects. There is a section in the back of my son’s copy of the first book encouraging kids to develop their own undiscovered world and then write about it. My son did just that, and anything that encourages boys of this age to write makes me happy. We have also had some really good conversations about some of the themes. I hope your son enjoys them!

  7. Many thanks for the recommendation, John. I read the series over the past week, and am now trying to convince my 10yo daughter (who was devastated by the end of the Potter series) to pick them up. She looked at the Hunger Games trilogy in the bookstore and “it didn’t look interesting”, so she’s not buying my recommendation …

  8. I read these years ago and loved them. I’m very happy to come across this post and have been wondering for a very long time when you would mention them. What I remember most was the theme of overcoming prejudice and the various political twist of the stories. I’ve got them down on my list of books I hope to re-read this year. I grew rather fond of Ripred the Rat, and Luxa.

    -Shane

  9. What’s the address to Suzanne Collin’s publishing house

  10. I love this post. I read the Underland Chronicles years ago, and then I spent the next few years refusing to read the Hunger Games because I believed that NOTHING could EVER be that riveting.
    …well, we all know how that turned out…
    But anyways, I think you’re spot on with this post. You brought up some interesting points that I never considered (“this world way beneath our world never bleeding into our world”). Awesome job.

  11. Im an 18 year old girl . I loved the hunger game sereis . Would I really enjoy this sereis? To the point where it would be hard to put down the book?

  12. Megan, they are written more simply than The Hunger Games as they are aimed at Middle Readers. With that said, I zoomed through them quickly and really enjoyed them right along with my son and I am 38. I would recommend staying with the books past the first one to give them a fair shot (occasionally I have heard that the first doesn’t grab you as quickly as The Hunger Games does). You might be able to put the first one down but as the series goes on you will be reading it and not wanting to put them down. They are very fast reads.

  13. I think the Gregor the Overlander series were great! I read them in 5th grade and they became my favorite series also (we choose a book to pain the name of a book we choose on the wall of my old school in a giant painting. Every group of 5th graders that graduate tell the painter the book. I told her Gregor the Overlander :D). As I got older I desired books and a few days ago a few friends recommended the Hunger Games. Even the people who HATE to read couldn’t put this book down. So I obviously decided to read it! I finished the day I got it( well technically no. I stayed up till 4:30 am to finish it) and I absolutely love it! The next day I got catching fire and is currently in the middle of it! Soooooo exciting! I was so surprised when I read the author thing in the back to find out she wrote Gregor the Overlander! Well both great books and I can’t wait to read the 3rd one! I don’t know how much of a difference there is between 5th-7th grade but yeah I guess Gregor the Overlander is for younger kids. Does anyone know the rating for the Hunger Game movie?!?! I really want to see it! 😀 😀 😀 thanks for listening me ramble (what are you going to do? I have no homework) byeeeeeee 😉

  14. Megan, I think you will love them. My sister urged me to read them and I am so glad I did. I admit I resisted at first, why would I want to read about giant coach roaches and rats? It didn’t sound very interesting to me. The third book was my favorite and They are so easily overlooked as a series for kids. I laughed, I cried, I loved the whole experience and so did most of my family of ages 10-65.

  15. Okaaay… I see two problems with this.
    First, no mention about how Gregor miraculously survives the drop every time and everyone else dies(exept for his dad)
    Second, John gave the Rat farewell. You say “run like the river” to rats.
    May you always fly High, whoever feels like reading this…

  16. First, think of Alice in Wonderland and the drop into the Rabbit Hole, not Newtonian mechanics. You’re on the wrong page of music if you think this is a Physics class.

    Second, I believe Ripred tells Gregor more than once to “run like the river” as his farewell. It’s a rat farewell, certainly, but not just to other rats; given my appearance and character, it’s more than appropriate (if simultaneously a little self-deprecating and flattering) to say Ripred’s line.

  17. So I am now the age of sixteen, yet I remember almost vividly reading this series 🙂 they were just well written books and I highly recommend them to whoever is interested! But now I must move on to other books for school 😛 currently doing a project on The Road, but if there are any other good book series like this let me know!
    PS I’ve already read Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Children of the Lamp, Peter and the Starcatchers plus others, but this will always be one of my favorite series.

  18. Are you looking for series recommendations or just books in general Daniel? Also, are you looking for books that have this deep alchemy or just general good reads. I will have to defer to some of the more sophisticated readers around here for the deeper leveled books.

    My son recently read Unwind by Neal Shusterman and it dives into some pretty unsavory ethical issues without giving opinions or answers. Not sure it has anything to interest The Hogwart’s Proffesor but it was still a good read. He writes a lot of interesting books and my son is about to start his skinjacker trilogy. The first one is called Everwild. I will be reading them too.

  19. K. Thames says:

    Gregor the Overlander is an amazing series and the reason I decided to even pick-up the Hunger Games series for my son. I’ve read almost every book I buy for my kids which means I have also read the entire series of “Harry Potter”, “Twilight”, “39 Clues”, “Gregor the Overlander” and “Hunger Games”. But I no longer watch movies as they never seem to be as satisfying as the books were.

    I also think it’s great and important to note that the hero and his family are African-American. It’s so rare to see this in a series.

    That Gregor and Boots survive the drop is explained in the first book and in subsequent books Gregor has other entrances into the world and does not always have to enter via falling.

    But I do agree that even with these explanations John says it best: “First, think of Alice in Wonderland and the drop into the Rabbit Hole, not Newtonian mechanics. You’re on the wrong page of music if you think this is a Physics class.” it is best to approach this series for it’s magical qualities not it’s dependence on our reality for validation.

  20. My brother and I read these about five years ago and both loved them, we also read the Hunger Games as soon as they came out. I personally preferred The Underland Chronicles. I think both have a very unique plot, but for some reason I like the Underland Chronicles. I also love how Collins’ isn’t afraid to kill off main characters. I think that really adds to the story. That being said this is the only series of books I have read multiple times and there are very few single books that I have read over.

    I would more than reccomend it. When I tried to invite my friends to read they said it sounded childish, however, there may be some juvenile elements, but the overall meaning of the story is profound and something adults would enjoy!

  21. kristihall says:

    I Love Hunger Games and Under World Chorincles.

  22. M.J.Vasquez says:

    I just finished the underland series and I loved them. I finished books 3, 4, and 5 in one weekend. When I finished this wonderful series I had to give myself time to just lie down and cry. I think the most devasting part was relizing all the adventures Gregor went through were truly over. Like Emilie I think it is good Ms. collins isn’t afraid to kill off maine characters, but… apart of me still wishes that she didn’t kill off certain characters because over time I grew rather fond of them. Also I must admit she writes the death parts so intriging that the only parts I allow myself to stop is when I feel the tears start to roll down my cheeks. Another thing I would like to say is I love how Ms. collins writes the phrophecies especially in the 3rd book ,I believe when it says,” the good and bad entwine to make a single vine.” I think this is a good way to explain the human race. I think this because everyone has some good and some bad it just depends on which side you choose to use the most. Iwas a fan of the hunger games in the 5th grade and now in the 6th grade I am a Gregor the overlander fan. Don’t get me wrong I love the hunger games its just I can connect more to gregor because he is who I want to be. (Except I’m a girl.) Now when I look back at this I may think that what I am saying now is silly but Ms.Collins has a tendecy to make the hero who I want to be. I just hope someday I can tell her this in person. -M.J. Vasquez

  23. I also admire Collins for being able to kill off main characters. (It really makes me mad, sad, and want to never read again, but it’s admirable.) I LOVE the Hunger Games and the Gregor Chronicles. I’ve read each book about five times (or more). I really find that the end of Code of Claw is disappointing. I end up rewriting the end. I really hope (with all of my heart) that Collins will add another book to this series. It’s just, so, sad and disappointing, and not living up to my expectations. But other than that, I love the books and will continue to reread them. I urge everyone who has not read them to march to the nearest library and start reading!!!

  24. photos glow-glow says:

    I totally agree with Rachel.

    I was flipping through the last pages of the code of the claw like crazy, just to be left kind of disappointed. It’s so hard to put these books down! I really hope Suzanne will give us just one more book in the chronicles to wrap it up some. I’m 25, I see how they are aimed towards kids, but I had no problem enjoying them front to back. I read them to follow up the hunger games although I found myself enjoying them more I believe.

    Ripped and Ares are my homeBoys!
    -Fo Fo

  25. How long are the books as in approximately how many pages?

  26. I was 11 when I started and now I’m 12 just like Gregor. Anyway, I LOVED this series and it was amazing, just the whole story and adventure was great.

  27. Gluxa 4 ever says:

    I think Suzanne Collins should DEFINETELY write another Gregor book and I don’t care how she ended it, she just can’t end a great series like that. She left so many gaps open and I was really disappointed.

  28. I agree, GLUXA FTW!!!

  29. Taylor,
    The books are about 300-400 something pages

  30. I read these books basically as they came out, when I was ten or eleven. I’m now eighteen years-old and still absolutely adore the series. For all the parents who are reading these, I’d highly reccomend them to you for your children, and even just for you. The text is a little bit larger and the words are a little bit smaller, so all of the heavy context of the book is easier for young minds to grasp. The protagonist is easily relatable to any eleven year-old boy, and each of the othe characters are endearing in their own way. The series definitely was the first real spark in my interest in reading. Anyway, that’s my two bits. Fly you high, readers.

  31. I don’t recommend you reading this review if you haven’t finished the Gregor series.
    I started reading these books when I was twelve, and I could not put them down! I thank my sixth grade reading teacher and now seventh grade english teacher for introducing these to me (love you, Mrs. Geske!).
    @ Gluxa 4 ever: I’m not trying to start any internet fights, but I rather disagree about Ms. Collins writing another book. The war is over; what exactly would she write about? Moving to Virginia? She only writes from Gregor’s point of view, so she couldn’t exactly write about cleaning up after the war or fighting the cutters or anything else going on in the Underland. Besides, I thought she ended the book absolutely perfectly. I was a bit dissapointed, too; at first, I wondered what would happen in the end; then I realized that was the end.
    About making a movie…it would be interesting to watch, but Ms. Collins just wrote it so perfectly that what if the movie-making people messed it up? I know I would watch it, but I think I would be dissapointed in the end.

  32. Jumping Scary Monkey says:

    I actually agree with you, now. I just finished this book about 1 day ago, and I was really sad that it ended because it was my favorite book in the world. But to tell you the truth, a book is a book, you’re sopposed to enjoy it. Plus, collind probably would start to run out of ideas and what would happen then? It’d slowly start to get boreing. So then, I thought a movie would be nice, but hearing all this makes part of me not want to see it because of all the gore. Plus, I probably wouldn’t be aloud to watch it until I’m much older because I’m not even a teen. Thanks for posting this, it’s really knocked some sense into me. 🙂 btw, try reading the warriors series, it really rocks.

  33. Connie Johnson says:

    I read the five Overlander books in five days – mostly because I HAD to know what would happen. Although these books are written for middle grade readers, I’m a 66 year old retired English teacher and I loved them. I would really like another (or more) book in this series. Yes, I know the war is over, but what about the ants? The romance between Gregor & Luxa? Lizzie – her anxiety, her puzzle/code skills, her relationship with Ripred? Boots & Temp?
    A gigantic thank you to Suzanne Collins for gifting us with both this series and with the wonderful Hunger Games trilogy.

  34. Michaella says:

    *minor spoiler*
    I recently finished reading the under-land chronicles,I thought they were great!!! I tried to read them when I was about 11 but the fist one, as others have said, didn’t keep my attention very well. I ended up putting it down about half way through. But now as a 15 year old I overheard my dad reading the first one to my little sister who is now 11, they were at about the same spot that I had left off at. After hearing some of the story again, I decided to give them another try, and I’m glad I did! Although I found some of the vocabulary and the way Miss Collins approached some of the issues Gregor encounters a bit immature, and a good deal of the allegory not quite subtle enough, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it to ANYONE who wants a good read, not just 9-12 year olds. I would have liked to have seen more character development in a few characters like Mrs. Carmachi, Narrisa, the diggers, stingers, and cutters in general, Thalia, Gregor’s two friends that are mentioned a few times, and most of all Lizzie, I was disappointed in how little she was mentioned seeing how important the rest of Gregor’s family was to him, and how influential of a role that she ended up playing in the fifth book. The series also left me with one unresolved question, in the fourth book, both, Luxa and Howard say that it would not work out for Gregor and Luxa to be together because Gregor is an overlander. This confused me because the overlander/underlander thing seemed to work out fine for Hamnet and Hazard’s mother, there is even a term for people who have one overland, and one underland parent, (Hazard is referred to more than once as a half-lander, and Narrisa told Hamnet when he left the palace that he would be with a half-lander child in 10 years, which seemed to surprise but not appall him) I eventually concluded that both Luxa and Howard were just trying to protect Gregor from the ‘Prophecy of Time’ or maybe even thinking of his life in the overland (although this seemed unlikely because no one, save his parents, Lizzie and possibly Mrs. Carmachi had ever seemed to have issues with Gregor staying in the underland for prolonged periods of time even when he should have been in school, or doing various other things) and even if ether or both of those things were the case wouldn’t it have been easier to just use the excuse that Luxa would soon be queen, and probably didn’t need the distraction? There are any number of other excuses that would have been as good or better as “your an overlander so you can’t date our Queen”. None of the answers I have come up with have quite satisfied me and I am left with a nagging question of if Miss Collins could have been trying to hint at something more but waited until to late in the series to develop the idea much more, might the underlanders secretly be racist toward overlanders? Did Howard fear that Luxa might fall for Gregor too and he might eventually try to take away Regalia’s queen? Any ideas or opinions you have are welcome! Help me figure this thing out!

  35. is there going to be a book6 for gregor i loved the rest

  36. Absolutly love these books. I’m 26 and picked them up earlier this year (I listened to the first three on audio book and then read the last two because I couldn’t get through them fast enough.) I read them to my 9 year old nephew, and 13-14 year old nieces, all of them loved the story. (The 14 year old niece cried when they had to set a mouse trap after reading the books.) Even my 70-ish year old parents have enjoyed listening to parts of the stories. I would say they are a book for any age, I love all the characters, they are easily relatable and fun. When you can love and love to hate Ripred at the same time, I think that you have to admit, the main characters are very well written. I think that Collins did a fantastic job with these.
    Loved your review as well, I thought your points were really well thought out and brought up things I hadn’t thought of yet.

  37. *minor spoiler*
    Michaella-Just read your post and thought it was interesting as I was just wondering that myself. Howard tells Gregor that it is a very long and complicated process of choosing someone to marry in the Underland. Especially with Luxa being the Queen, she may be told who she can marry by the Council (as they seem to rule her life). Perhaps like if often is in Royal marriages, Luxa would be expected to marry for political reasons. (A rich underlander maybe?)

    I also think that they were both so young and both Howard and Luxa knew that Gregor’s parents didn’t want him to stay in the Underland, so there was no reason to get their hopes up of marriage when they were just twelve and Gregor’s parents were planning on moving him to Virginia.

    Perhaps because there is a relativliy small population in the Underland they watch the gene pool carefully and that’s why they would be hesitant about letting Luxa marry an overlander? Or also, Vikus mentions in the first book that the Underland is a very had palce for the Overlanders to live, and we assume that’s because they will be hunted by the rats. But then he mentions that the Clark guy died with out the Sun. So maybe they just feel like an Overland couldn’t survive without the sun.

    Your question is good…I’ve wondered it myself because I’m a big fan of Luxa and Gregor ending up together. 🙂

  38. Michaella says:

    Jen- Thank you for your thoughts! I think that they might help some with my question!

  39. I love the books I’m on book three and I’m getting through them like a kid eating ice cream

  40. coolduck007 says:

    I love those books so much.

  41. this is one of the best series I have ever read. it may be gory, but this is action around every corner with the demented bane at full attack in the last book. I would recommend this to anyone because they are very well told. the beginning starts out slow but then it gets into things as it goes along. I read it, but I thought the ending was lacking innovation because of the love between Luxa and Gregor just suddenly is split for ever. I think a squel where Gregor undying love for Luxa sends he back to the underland. then when he goes in the underland is falling apart and he has to save everyone who lives there and bring them to the surface.

  42. Come on! quit critisizing these books!
    I disagree about it never being a movie.
    I can Not stop reading these books and have been reading them over and over.
    I want another overlander book to come out, or a movie about it.
    Collins is my favorite author and the overlander series are my favorte books that she has written. I n fact they are my all time favorite books.

  43. My daughter is 8, and she loves reading. She just finished The Sisters Grimm series and was so disappointed that it ended. A friend suggested this series and I’m just wondering if she’s too young for this series.

  44. Leigh, I am not familiar with The Sisters Grimm so I can’t compare the two. I can say that some of the themes might go over her head if she tackles this alone. Plus there are sad parts. You might read it together though. I suggest you read the first one and see what you think. It is a good indicator of the whole series and will give you an idea of what to expect. I read it and enjoyed it as an adult so don’t let the middle grade label keep you form reading it.

    I was on the fence back when Hunger Games was out and my (then) sixth grade son was interested in reading the book. I was trying to decide if he was ready for the book or not. We ended up reading it together and discussing. I was surprised to find that he handled it quite well and caught many of the themes but was able to open his mind to broader ideas as we discussed the books. He was able to continue the series later on his own but since I had read the books first I was able to continue the discussions.

  45. I really hope they come up with book six. I have read this series over and over again. I just cant get enough of it. I also want to find out what happens to Gregor and Luxa. I really hope that by the end of this year or next there is another book.

  46. Andres Hernandez says:

    So first of all I have read the hunger games trilogy and gregor the underland series, and in my opinion both are awesome. But if you look closely you will see that both deal with some same basic things like the atrocities of war, their effect and so on. But the hunger games in mi opinion is made for much older audiences. Even though the I agree that the Sunderland’s books can be read by all age groups, but the very young.

    Anyway I just want to ask Suzanne Collins to do more books of Gregor. They are great books, some how short in my opinion but very sattisfying.  But the ending is clue less and left me dumb. I kept looking around the book internet and other means to see if I miss something. This ending is unsattisfying and should be continue because such a good book deserve a good ending. Even the hunger games ending was infinite timesbetter even if it left you thinking of the trilogy long into the night. SO PLEASE  COLLINS CONTINUE  GREGOR THE UNDERLAND SERIES.

  47. Robby DeLuca says:

    Andres, I know it’s not the same as Suzanne Collins saying this, but I am actually working on the sixth book right now. I will be putting it on Amazon Worlds (if they accept it, that is) and will make sure it is cheap, because I do agree with you. The ending was way too open, and she did nothing to continue the series, and thus far, her site doesn’t have anything on new books, at least since I’ve checked. I hope that this comment will ease most of your minds about this, and I am making sure that I even stick to the writing style for this story. My goal is to make this as close to Suzanne Collins’s original series, that you actually think you are reading her work. And this is mostly because I believe a good series like this shouldn’t end the way it did.

  48. Andres Hernandez says:

    Like you clearly said DeLuca a very bad ending indeed. I have browse through the internet to look for fasn made books of the continuation of Gregor and the code of claw, some are fine but most don’t reach Suzanne Collins ankles, haha. You could also find them but it may make you change your on idea. But if what you say is true and I true wish it would, I would start saving some money to buy it when it comes out. But If it ain’t a bother you can post here the title and where you will sell it, if they ever let you, I sure hope so,when you have the book Done so I could find it and buy. As for here plans I recently found she will start a new teen series, but that now here priority is making the scripts for the third installment and fourth of the hunger games movie. She said no more…

  49. Andres Hernandez says:

    Like you clearly said DeLuca a very bad ending indeed. I have browse through the internet to look for fasn made books of the continuation of Gregor and the code of claw, some are fine but most don’t reach Suzanne Collins ankles, haha. You could also find them but it may make you change your own idea. But if what you say is true and I true wish it would, I would start saving some money to buy it when it comes out. But If it ain’t a bother you can post here the title and where you will sell it, if they ever let you, I sure hope so,when you have the book Done so I could find it and buy. As for here plans I recently found she will start a new teen series, but that now here priority is making the scripts for the third installment and fourth of the hunger games movie. She said no more…

Speak Your Mind

*