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Underland Chronicles #1

Gregor the Overlander

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The story of a boy who embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny -- and find his father -- in a strange world beneath New York City.
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. Gregor wants no part of it -- until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

311 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2003

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About the author

Suzanne Collins

46 books92.7k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.

Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part series, The Underland Chronicles. Suzanne also has a rhyming picture book illustrated by Mike Lester entitled When Charlie McButton Lost Power.

She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.

The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,076 reviews
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
363 reviews4 followers
September 10, 2010
I recently went solo dining with the 2nd book in the series and sat down at a counter, speeding through the large font and well-spaced text. The restaurant started to fill up and another solo diner sat down next to me. I glanced over at his magazine and saw that it was a scientific journal open to an article about the brain. I casually angled the cover of my Scholastic-published book away from his view and kept reading, very self-conscious of the approximately 18 grades of school between our reading materials.

Sigh.

I'm bouncing around in my reading material lately. I've been trying to force the weighter books and it's like an overtight pair of jeans. Lay back on the bed, take a deep breath, and hope you can wrestle that zipper up before the oxygen runs out or the button pops off and you lose an eye. The YA and younger books are more like comfortable sweatpants, the waistband slightly stretched and the material over the seat taking on a sheen from wear. I need to take in a few sweatpants books before attempting another jeans book. Who am I trying to impress? No need to do the David Hasselhoff on Baywatch stomach suck.

This is what I repeat to myself when I sit next to someone reading a scientific journal open to an article about the brain...you couldn't sit somewhere else, brain guy???

The beginning of the 2nd book helped me pinpoint why I liked this 1st book so much. With the next in the series, Gregor is suddenly having these abilities he never had before. Booooo. The first book moved forward with his own average self, no special powers needed. While he may have been written as more selfless than the typical boy his age, he made mistakes and was cranky like a real boy. When he was courageous, loyal, loving, or expressed empathy, it wasn't unusual - it could be duplicated by any child who read this book. The value of that! You too can be like this!:
[Gregor]* nodded. He could never hate people very long because he always ended up finding out something sad about them that he had to factor in. Like this kid at school everybody hated because he was always pushing little kids around and then one day they found out his dad had hit him so much, he was in the hospital. With stuff like that, all Gregor could feel was bad.

Wonderful.

Oh, the story was set in this quest for his father with a fantastic imaginary world underground featuring people who had lived there so long that they were pale-haired, translucent-skinned, and violet-eyed. The allies and enemies were gigantic bats, cockroaches, and rats. This is meant for a younger audience than The Hunger Games trilogy, so probably elementary age. The quest kicked off with an awful set of prophetic verse (not as bad as Brian "One Trick Pony" Jacques but nowhere near the soaring glory (to me) of Susan Cooper). The ending was rushed. But I loved it for keeping the hero ordinary.

My favorite line? From my favorite character, the little sister, Boots: "I poop!"



*Lookie! The square brackets don't insert a colon anymore!
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
May 25, 2020
so this is how superweak my life is: on friday i rushed home from work in the rain to get some homework done. whee... but then i ended up writing that wuthering heights review, inspired by the rain and the clouds etc. and i did some work, but not a ton. and i thought to myself, what do i really want to be doing? and the answer was - put on my pajamas, eat peanut butter pretzels and read unchallenging children's books. so i did. and you can all suck it, with your parties and balls and galas. 'cuz i had myself a nice time.

i didn't like it as much as the hunger games; which is teen fiction, not juvie, so maybe i'm not as developmentally stunted as i thought. look, i'm growing up before your eyes! she has a real knack for pacing, which is way more important in children's literature than adult, just because of attention-span, particularly now, when the options for children are increasingly electronic and faster-paced - a book really has to capture the imagination in order to hold a child's attention, and i think this does a good job of that. i also appreciate her very low emphasis on sentimentality. it is less pronounced than in the hunger games, because of the younger audience, but it's an adventure book, life's hard, things die. and i think that's a good element in children's literature; her lack of prettifying realities. i will probably read the other books in the series, providing my social life doesn't improve, but i don't feel the same urgency to read them that i do for the teen series. it may be the subject matter/younger audience thing, or the lack of a true "cliffhanger" at the end of the book, but i probably will get to them. it was enjoyable, and if you have children, you should probably pick these up and pretend you are reading them together because your kids enjoy them.

and now i can give greg back his copy, and that gets one more book out of my house. which means there's room for one more book, basically. this is how the problem exacerbates...

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Rfrancik.
34 reviews6 followers
November 15, 2008
When Gregor falls after his little sister down the laundry shoot he finds himself in a new land. He is faced with deciding where to place his loyalties, how to survive and given the opportunity to search for his father who unaccountably disappeared 2 years ago.

This book has ruined my entire day! I have laundry to fold, dinner to cook, breakfast to eat, 3 papers to write and lesson plans to develop. Instead, I've spent my morning snuggled under a down quilt devouring Gregor the Overlander. As soon as I finished it I slid into my car and ran back to work to collect the next four books in the series. It looks like the rest of my life is going on hold for awhile. Good-by responsibiliy, Good-by family, HELLO UNDERLANDERS!

I have always loved fairytales and mysteries in the Agatha Christie model. It's restful and reassuring to know there may be trials and tribulations but good will always defeat evil and the deserving will live happily ever after.

Gregor the Overlander carries these themes forward but provides subtle opportunities for the reader to question their convictions about "right and wrong" through the protagonist's encounters with various species in the Underworld. Equally appealing is the sharing of Gregor's thoughts as he begins to recognize the limits he has set for himself with self imposed rules after his father's disappearance.

So often books of this genre for the elementary crowd become preachy and moralistic. Suzanne Collins does not preach. She invites the reader to explore issues about tolerance, responsibility, growing up, and loyalty for themselves. This first book is the equal of the Harry Potter books exploring the same issues with an emotional power and linguistic accessablity for the 5th-8th grade crowd. I've listed a few of my favorite quotes below.

1) .."And then there was Tick. Brave little Tick who had flown into the face of an army of rats to save his baby sister. Tick--who never spoke much. Tick--who shared her food. Tick--who was after all just a roach. Just a roach who had given all the time she had left so that Boots could have more. ...Somehow Tick's sacrifice had crushed whatever thin shell remained between him and sorrow. From now on he felt an allegiance to the roaches he knew would never fade."

2) "Well, Boot's courage might only count when she could count, but her ability to love counted all the time."

3) "No one who spends years with the rats can expect to be unchanged....but will his mind and body heal, I believe so."

4) "He was done with the rule now. For good. Even if times got bad he would never again deny himself the possibility that the future might be happy even if the present was painful. He would allow himself dreams."

Because I teach in a school where far too many children have parents and siblings in jail, I intend to use this book as one of a collection about children who overcome the odds to determine their own destiny.

Reviews:

1) Booklist starred (November 15, 2003 (Vol. 100, No. 6)) Recommends for gr. 4-7 and states.."Collins creates a fascinating, vivid, highly original world and a superb story to go along with it. ..This is sure to be a solid hit with young fantasy fans.

2) Horn Book starred (Spring 2004) writes "Collins sends a reluctant Gregor on the classic hero's journey in this fast-paced, immensely satisfying narrative."

Both of these reviews would incline me towards the book's purchase. Several of the other reviews also mention it is one of a series and they all recommend it for the same age groups. What the reviewers fail to say is now much parents would enjoy sharing this book with their children.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews45.6k followers
June 16, 2021
the hunger games WHO. the only suzanne collins series i respect stars a badass cockroach-riding boy named gregor.

...okay, that's actually all i remember from this series, and i remember way more from the hunger games (hello, catching fire...how are you), but still.

i checked out all of these books from my elementary school library and that is something i cannot say of the hunger games. because i read those over the summer of seventh grade.

but these were very fun.

so there.

this is part of a project i'm doing where i review books i read a long time ago! such as 2007.
Profile Image for Meredith Holley.
Author 2 books2,212 followers
April 28, 2009
The covers of the Underland Chronicles do them no end of disservice. Since my policy is to judge a book by its cover, it took reading The Hunger Games to convince me to pick them up. I had always assumed they would be machine generated chapter books with mythical creatures protecting or seeking some ring or sword, or who knows what, that has some symbolic meaning - or doesn't. Suzanne Collins, however, is in no way machine-generated. She is Dostoyevski for the young-reader crowd. While she uses the quest trope in each of the Underland stories, her reflections of politics and international history are both gentle and unflinchingly horrifying. Kids have to learn about genocide somehow . . . I guess.

In comparison to other popular child-soldier (or children-save-the-world) stories, the Underland Chronicles are not comforting in the way Harry Potter and Twilight are, nor are they as morally-outraged and uncomfortable as Ender's Game, but I found them more honest than all of those. Collins never seems overcome by her own power as an author, self-indulgent in her story-telling, or worried that her audience won't understand her overall message. That may be the mark of a good editing team, and if so, A+ to them. Her writing is not as lyrically beautiful as Kate DiCamillo's (whose is, for that matter?), but, like Dostoyevski's, it is very effective in reflecting doubts about human nature and, at times, touching. It makes me wish, once again, that Dostoyevski was able to edit well.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
August 22, 2017
Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1), Suzanne Collins
The Underland Chronicles is a series of five epic fantasy novels by Suzanne Collins, first published between 2003 and 2007. It tells the story of a boy named Gregor and his adventures in the "Underland", a subterranean world located under New York City. The Underland is inhabited by humans who traveled below hundreds of years ago, along with various giant versions of creatures like bats, cockroaches, and rats. According to the author, the series involves many topics relating to war, including biological warfare, genocide, and military intelligence. While not as well known as the author's subsequent Hunger Games trilogy, it has been reviewed favorably by many critics.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پنجم ماه جولای سال 2013 میلادی
عنوان: تاریخ اعماق زمین - کتاب 1 - سفر شگفت انگیز گریگور؛ نویسنده: سوزان کالینز؛ مترجم: عاطفه احمدی؛ تهران، ویدا، چاپ اول و دوم 1391؛ در 268 ص؛ شابک: 9786002910172؛ چاپ سوم و چهارم 1392؛ موضوع: داستانهای علمی تخیلی از نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
نقل از متن: گریگور تکه‌ ای یخ از فریزر برداشت، آن را روی صورتش کشید و زل زد به حیاط؛ سگ ولگردی دوروبر سطل زباله‌ ای که تا کله پرُ بود، بو می‌کشید. سگ پنجه‌ هایش را روی لبۀ‌ سطل گذاشته و کجش کرده بود و زباله‌ ها را وسط پیاده‌ رو می‌ریخت. نگاه گریگور به چند شکل ��ایه‌ مانند افتاد که با سرعت کنار دیوار وول می‌خوردند و این‌طرف و آن‌طرف می­رفتند؛ موش‌ها. او هیچ‌ وقت درست و حسابی به‌شان عادت نکرده بود. برخلاف همیشه، این‌بار هیچ‌کس در حیاط نبود. بیشتر وقت‌ها آن‌جا پر بود از بچه‌ هایی که توپ‌ بازی می‌کردند، از روی طناب می‌پریدند، یا روی میله‌ های بازی کهنه تاب می‌خوردند؛ اما امروز صبح، همۀ بچه‌ های چهار تا چهارده‌ ساله با اتوبوسی به اردو رفته بودند، همه به جز یک نفر. پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews525 followers
December 3, 2021
I actually got all teary-eyed over the death of an insect. Can you believe it?

A great book, I'm glad I gave it a try although I wasn't sure at the beginning if it would be too young for my taste. Collins has created a fascinating world with the Underland and the book is full of amazing characters (insects and rodents included!).

On to book two!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Darren Hagan-Loveridge.
271 reviews38 followers
December 22, 2015
I want to give this book so many more than 5 stars. It was SO SO FREAKING GOOD!!! (I pressed the exclamation mark on my phone really hard then just for extra emphasis) :)

Being a book that is intended for younger readers than me, I thought this would just be a fun little read. However in all honesty it had me gripped from beginning to end.

I loved the characters. They had so much more depth than I expected them to. I mean Gregor is an 11 year old kid who has been kind of been forced to be the man of the house after his dad disappeared mysteriously 2 years ago. He doesn't let himself dream about happy times because he is struggling to actually be happy with his family not whole. Bro, you're breaking my heart :( Then there is his 2 year old sister Boots (a nickname) who adds so much to the book with her innocence. She kind of reminds me of Sunny Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events because she is so adorable and obviously isn't speaking properly yet, but she is integral to the team and actually helps bring them all together.

Then there are all the giant animals and they are so cool, you can't help but care about them. Even the bugs. This isn't a spoiler particularly because the prophecy says that 4 of the group of 12 will die, but when one of them does I actually had to stop reading. I sat there in stunned silence and mourned the loss of a freaking bug.

Some of the other things I loved are:
- the world because it's underground and I like the idea of an underground community
- the relationship between humans and animals. I'm an animal lover so I really appreciated that.
- a mysterious prophecy. I really like seeing prophecies unfold in books.
- the fact that it actually surprised me with some of the things that happen. I sometimes find it easy to see what is gonna happen but not this time
- and how addictive and action packed it is.

Chances are you have read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins too, and if you like her writing and like fast paced books (and you like middle grade books) then you should definitely try this. I implore you because it needs more hype!
Profile Image for Laurel.
398 reviews175 followers
December 16, 2018
With a few exceptions, I am not typically a big fan of science fiction/fantasy, nor of bugs and rats and dark places. Had I not read and loved The Hunger Games, I never would have even considered reading this book. And I would have most certainly been missing out.

This is Suzanne Collins' first novel, and it is quite a first novel. Gregor the Overlander centers around an eleven-year-old boy and his little sister who fall through a grate in the laundry room of their apartment complex. After being hurtled down a long tunnel, they find themselves in the midst of a strange Underland full of talking giant cockroaches, rats, bats and spiders, as well as humans with translucent skin and violet eyes. As the children become acquainted with the strange beings and history of this mysterious land, a prophetic quest forms to find Gregor's long lost father (believed to have fallen victim to some of the creatures here years earlier), and lots of adventure ensues.

Apparently, the author was inspired to write this book after wondering what Alice and Wonderland may have been like had it taken place in a city, where one is more likely to fall down a manhole than a bunny hole.

I thought it was a fantastic story; a real page turner that, amidst all the adventure, asks its reader to consider issues of friendship, responsibility, tolerance, acceptance, determination and loyalty. Very imaginative and well written. I highly recommend it, particularly if you enjoy YA fantasy or loved The Hunger Games.
Profile Image for paige.
567 reviews637 followers
August 2, 2022
"If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it."

°•*⁀➷

I feel like I missed out not having read these in middle school. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson fans, there's another middle grade series you Have to check out. And oh my gosh is it full of such important lessons. Whether it be inclusion, embracing being young, learning to jump despite fear, or something as simple as remembering to daydream... it's all here. And it's all so special.

Gregor and his sister Boots fall into the "Underland" one night and find out that their father is still alive. Gregor, the person spoken of in a Great Prophecy, decides to lead a mission to find him. During that mission he, along with his sister and group, learn so many lessons about prejudice and trust and hope and fear. It was so, so entertaining, and I already cannot wait to send a set of these along to my little cousins. I bet they'll love everything about it.

I especially loved the point of daydreams being necessary. When Gregor's Dad went missing, he had to step up quite a bit in his family as the oldest kid. So he makes sacrifices he never would have had to under different circumstances and decides that daydreaming would only make reality more painful. While that is true to an extent, I love that later he thinks to himself, "Even if times get bad, he would never again deny himself the possibility that the future might be happy even if the present was painful. He would allow himself dreams."

I think that's just such a beautiful progression to be read in a middle grade story. That's the time when you start to make decisions for yourself, and it's also when you need to dream the hardest.

I love Suzanne Collins and I cannot believe it took me so long to find these. I can promise I won't take having them now them for granted.

- Paige
Profile Image for Kübra  Yağmur Aslanhan.
1,679 reviews305 followers
July 27, 2017
Çocuk kitabıymış, PEH! Çocuklarında okuyabileceği, herkese uygun bir kitap olduğunu söylemek daha doğru olur.

Okuduğumu dün gibi hatırladığım kitaplardan biri Gregor ve Gri Kehanet. Yeni bir kütüphane keşfetmiş, kaydımı yaptırmış, İstanbul'u gezen bir Fatih edasıyla rafların arasında dolaşıp ağzımın sularını tutmaya çalışırken kalın ciltlerin arasından bana göz kırpmıştı bu kitap. Ve ben hiç düşünmeden onu çekip almış, tabii yanında iki kitapla birlikte, eve gelip yemeden içmeden okumuştum.

Her bir kelimeyle nefesimi kesen bir kitaptı. Tabii o zamanlar bu şekilde bir kitap manyağı değildim ama bu yola girmeme sebep olan kitapların başını çekiyor bu yüzden benim için hep özel olarak kalacak. Ayrıca devamı hâlâ okunmayı bekleyen serilerden biridir. 🙈
Profile Image for Greg.
1,107 reviews1,829 followers
July 27, 2009
Even though this book has nothing really to do with Kafka, I can't get it out of my head that somewhere in this series is some of the weird Jew from Prague. The cover looks sort of Prague like. There is a main character named Gregor, and there are giant fucking cockroaches in it (must I swear in every children's review I write?).

There has been no real Kafka in the book though. There are some Daddy issues but Kafka doesn't hold the patent on that. Besides looking for Kafka though, I found this fun. Apparently my view of fun lately is fantastical adventures children go on that I can read in a couple of hours. I'm either regressing, or just making up for all the books I never read as a little kid.

But I'll state it again for the kids out there who might be thinking of reading this because of some pretty heavy allusions to Kafka, it's not about Kafka, nor especially Kafka-esque.
Profile Image for Kay.
197 reviews362 followers
December 3, 2013
So, my workplace and a few other firms are a part of this program where we got to a local elementary school to read to kids. I was paired up with a fifth grader who loved to read as much as I did. She blew through Breadcrumbs, which was amazing, and we had just started on Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1) when school was dismissed for summer vacation. Me being my usual ADHD self, I left this book unread for months and months while I pursued other books.Now, after reading the entire Underland Chronicles in three days, I am so glad I gave this a shot. Plot SummaryGregor is an eleven year old who lives with his mom, grandma, and younger sisters in New York City. His dad disappeared without a word two years ago, and his mom has been struggling to keep the family together since. One day, Gregor and his sister Boots are sucked down a grate in their laundry room, and find themselves in the Underland, a subterranean world populated by white-haired, violet-eyed humans, and oversized cockroaches, spiders, bats and rats. Though all Gregor wants is to go home, he finds himself embroiled in a brewing war between the humans and rats, and perhaps a chance to find his father.My ReactionsThe Underland was interesting, to say the least. I wasn’t too convinced by this subterranean world until about two books in. Maybe it’s because I hatehatehatehatehate rodents and vermin, which is probably not the best attitude to take when living in New York City. Someone once told me about a sighting of a three-foot rat in Brooklyn, and my spidey senses were tingling whenever I entered a subway station for weeks after. (BTW, the antagonists are six-foot tall rats. With their long, ridged tails and sharp teeth.) Kind of like this:Some parts of the book, like the quest and resolution of the prophecy were quite predictable. But like in The Hunger Games has a way of brushing up against the brittleness of the real world without being melodramatic. What remains with me the most was not the questing or the Underland, but Gregor. After his father disappeared, Gregor continually makes sacrifices in the face of hard financial times. Here is an eleven year old who voluntarily gives up summer camp to take care of his baby sister Boots because his mom works nonstop to feed the family. My heart aches for the little guy, who is forced to grow up much too quickly so that the rest of his siblings can enjoy their youths. Not sure how well a fifth grader or even adult could relate--I suppose it depends on the person--but as the oldest in my family, I certainly could.Gregory continues to carry the heavy weight of responsibility with him to the Underland as he takes care of Boots, and that bit of realness threading through the story kept me interested and sympathetic until the end. Overall, I really enjoyed this first book, and the following books are equally (if not more) fun to read. If you thought The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) was a feat in YA lit, Gregor the Overlander is definitely up there in the kid lit world. Both are highly readable for both the younger folk and the adulty folk.3.5 STARS AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for younger readers.
September 11, 2019
Well, what do you know? This was one interesting read!

Gregor the Overlander is about a boy who falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in the Underland, the world under which is filled with giant cockroaches, bats, rats, and humans who immigrated there some centuries ago.
The Underland sounds very interesting, and I was naturally excited to learn more about this cool land of filth. As a kid I've wondered a lot about "what lives beyond the sewers"? But as an adult Gregor the Overlander lacked a certain magic for me. Or as my dear Caitlyn would say, it didn't have the "oomph" required for a book to truly wow me. Or at the very least satisfy me.

What I liked about the book:

● The idea of Underland and how it was written in a way that made me actually believe such a thing could happen and such a place could exist. (I kid you not, as I was reading it, I was really feeling like I did as a kid when I truly believed I could travel to Alice's Wonderland if I could just jump down a rabbit hole! )
● The book was entertaining and I finished it in one sitting.

What I didn't like about the book:

● The trope of young boy ending up in a magical place and somehow being the chosen one who will bring salvation to an entire population of capable adults.
● The trope of the Chosen One never accepting his fate.
● The fact that the book was extremely predictable to a point where I felt like I was reading it for the second time. Or the thousands time!
● Mr. Chosen One the hero annoyed me to no end with his dumb righteousness and boring inner dialogue.
● MC Chosen Pants thoughts in "quotation marks" annoyed me to no end and distracted me from my enjoyment of the book! Can y'all MCs stop thinking like you're talking? You're not having a conversation, you are thinking! This is the one thing I can't stand when reading. Complete laziness and lack of consideration for my sanity.

Anyways, overall the book was good enough! It was just not that great. Maybe if I'd read it when I was a child I would've liked it better, but as it was Gregor the Overlander was an entertaining read and I do recommend it to people exploding with underworked imagination in need of something new to devour who also don't mind the points I mentioned.
Profile Image for Francisca.
183 reviews83 followers
April 26, 2022
I’m a fan of the Hunger Games, so when I shifted from reading tons of YA to reading MG it came just as a no-brainer to read Gregor the Overlander, the first book in Collins’s first published book series. I was happy to discover I did right, these books are tons of fun and packed with emotions.

Gregor is an eleven-years-old with real world problems. But his problems are not glamorous. No, they are very everyday and quite unappealing, even sad. After two years of his father disappearing, leaving him, his mother, his grandma and his two sisters with terrible questions and very little money, Gregor is now responsible for way too much. And he has been pushed to make some hard choices, like not going to summer camp to stay home and help take care of Boots (his two-year-old sister) and Grandma, who is not doing so well in the memory and walking department, while his mother goes to work.

Not going to camp is already bad enough, but having to do laundry while keeping an eye on Boots in a basement laundry room that is all but child safe, it’s misery incarnated. And that's before Boots, running after her ball, finds a trapdoor, falling down, and down into the Underland. Of course, as the good big brother he is, Gregor follows after her in an attempt to rescue her, only to fall as she did.

The Underland is a place of wonder, inhabited by humans who are nearly transparent, hyper intelligent bats, friendly cockroaches, and truly menacing rats. Most significantly, soon enough Gregor learns that his father didn’t abandon them. He also fell through the trap and has been a prisoner of the Rats for the past two years.

What follows is the quest to rescue Gregor’s dad. And it is a proper quest, with its own prophecy and search party, and with lots of danger, some scary encounters and lots of unexpected moments, showing the reader that what you see first may not be what really is, and that you should not discount anyone as useless, not even tantrum-prone two-year-olds.

I tip my hat to Collins, because it takes talent to make an adult woman care about the fate of two cockroaches, or start liking rats. It did amaze me how quickly I engage with the characters, a testament to Collins ability to find which makes us tick on an emotional level.

This is an adventure-filled story and yet there is some focus on the emotional side of it, most of which is cleverly disguised so that the pace never slows. A quick read that is worth the time, but not a recommended read if you (as my niece) can’t even think of spiders without feeling nauseated.
Profile Image for Courtney.
8 reviews3 followers
September 7, 2007
Oh, dear! I've read another children's book, haven't I? Well, if I may be so bold, I liked it a lot more than some of the so-called classics. (I'm so immature, but at least I enjoy myself!)

Though I've never really been one for the 'guy gets sucked into another world' kind of genre, this one put a spin on my thoughts. I've not enjoyed a book so much since... well, a long time. It keeps you in such connection with the characters, despite their being fictional. I especially enjoyed how, as the reader, I had to keep an eye out for it's symbolism- instead of the horribly obvious whack-you-in-the-face kind.

I love this book's widespread emotions. And why not? With all that the main characters go through; loss, betrayal, fear for their lives (a lot), war... I'd call it captivating in a very good way.


"Ares the flier, I bond to you.
Our life and death are one, we two.
In dark, in flame, in war, in strife,
I save you as I save my life."

"Gregor the human, I bond to you.
Our life and death are one, we two.
In dark, in flame, in war, in strife,
I save you as I save my life."
Profile Image for Sara Kamjou.
583 reviews289 followers
July 29, 2017
نوع فضاسازی داستان و قابل پذیرش سازی دنیای زیرزمینی خیلی سطحی بود. من چند بار اون بخش داستان که از رختشورخونه افتادن پایین رو خوندم و بازم نفهمیدمش! شخصیت‌پردازی‌ها سطحی، اتفاقات اکثرا قابل پیش‌بینی بود. در واقع به جز سوسک‌ها و موش‌های غول‌پیکر که بازم هیچ دلیلی برای غول‌پیکر بودنشون ارائه نشده بود، هیچ چیز جدیدی برای من داشت. خوشحالم داستان تو جلد اول تموم شد چون قصد ندارم ادامه‌ی مجموعه رو بخونم.
امتیازم به کتاب ۲.۵ ه که با ارفاق و به خاطر شخصیت بامزه‌ی بوتز بهش ۳ می‌دم.
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یادگاری از کتاب:
احساس عجیبی به او می‌گفت که اگر درباره‌ی اتفاقات واقعی خیال‌پردازی کند، آن‌ها هرگز اتفاق نمی‌افتند.
...
پایین افتادن راحته، اما برای بالا رفتن خیلی چیزها رو باید فدا کنی.
...
مادربزرگش همیشه می‌گفت: جایی که زندگی باشه، امید هم هست.
Profile Image for Filipe Miguel.
101 reviews8 followers
December 20, 2015
Gregor, O Sobreterrestre

“Gregor, A Primeira Profecia” (2003) é o primeiro de uma série de cinco livros escritos por Suzanne Collins, actualmente reconhecida a nível mundial devido a outra personagem: Katniss Everdeen (”Hunger Games, Os Jogos da Fome).

Escrito cinco anos antes da trilogia de Everdeen, Gregor partilha alguns traços da escrita apresentada com a menina do Distrito 12, sendo a linguagem simples e acessível, marcadamente para um público jovem-adulto, a sua característica mais óbvia.

Katniss vs Gregor

Dois aspectos fundamentais, porém, afastam, de forma substancial, ambas as séries.

O primeiro, talvez o mais visível, prende-se com o enredo: Gregor é muito mais inocente, puro, quiçá ficcionado. Entra no campo da ficção cientifica pura, acompanhado de raças não humanas e realidades dispares das conhecidas no mundo contemporâneo. Até certo ponto faz lembrar um “Alice no País das Maravilhas”, de Lewis Carrol, em cenário de guerra, ao invés de uma Tea Party de cores berrantes. A Panem, de Katniss Everdeen, pese embora para o mesmo publico alvo, ilude qualquer leitor, não precisando de mais do que apresentar a frieza e crueldade do mundo onde se desenrola toda a narrativa. Em Panem há opressão, tensão entre iguais. Há humanos e… humanos.

O segundo aspecto permitiu a Suzanne Collins escusar-se de responder aos “comos” e aos “porquês” em “Os Jogos da Fome”, mas deixou-a em campo aberto em Gregor. Com Katniss, ao utilizar o recurso à narrativa na primeira pessoa, fez do leitor refém da perspectiva dada pela personagem principal: vê-se, cheira-se, ouve-se de mãos dadas com Everdeen. Ao invés, Gregor é servido na terceira pessoa, mas, ainda assim, alguns “comos” ficam por responder (dica: buracos e correntes de ar).

Puro, agradável, inocente

Gregor é, portanto, uma leitura interessante, pejada de criaturas bem desenvolvidas, com características que as fazem verdadeiramente diferir entre si e montadas num cenário crível. Talvez tenha pontos de narrativa demasiado apressados, que bem explorados levariam a obra para outros patamares. Quiçá seja bastante mais jovem e leve que a trilogia mais conhecida da autora. Mas o objectivo de Collins talvez tenha sido a criação de uma leitura rápida e competente, e nesse ponto a autora acerta com relativa facilidade.

"Gregor percebeu então a insistência dos Subterrestres para que eles tomassem banho. Se os ratos conseguiam detectar a meia dúzia de folhas que ele tinha comido horas antes, deviam ter um sentido de olfacto incrível. Os Subterrestres não tinham sido indelicados quanto quiseram que ele tomasse banho… Estavam a tentar mantê-lo vivo!"

Nota: 3.5/5.0
Profile Image for Simona Stoica.
Author 16 books710 followers
December 17, 2016
Recenzia completă: http://palarisme.ro/chef/carti/recenz...

„Oaspeţii puteau să plece, dacă voiau. Prizonierii trebuiau să evadeze. Şi exact asta intenţiona şi el să facă.”

Suzanne Collins nu are nevoie de o introducere, dar Gregor... este un străin pentru tine. Am fost în locul tău, în urmă cu puţin timp. Îmi făceam bagajele şi încercam să aleg ce cărţi să iau acasă, după târgul de carte Gaudeamus, cu intenţia de a renunţa la fantasy şi la cărţile pentru copii, măcar pentru o perioadă, urmând să îmi îndrept atenţia spre lecturi „serioase”, mai complexe, un clasic sau poate unul dintre romanele pe care tot evit să le încep, de teamă că nu o să fie pe gustul meu sau că nu îl voi înţelege.

description

Am pierdut şirul scuzelor, de câte ori am spus că iau o pauză de la fantasy sau YA. Nu pot. Am depăşit momentul în care ele reprezentau doar o „lectură uşoară”, o „aventură de o noapte” (Sanderson este excepţia, pentru că o noapte nu este îndeajuns), motivul pentru care fugeam de realitate şi mă ascundeam de necunoscut, unde legile îmi erau străine şi totul era învăluit în mister, până când autorul căpăta suficientă încredere în mine încât să îmi dezvăluie o parte dintre secretele sale. Ca bookaholic, fantasy-ul a devenit o parte din mine. Şi, din fericire, nu există leac.

Jocurile Foamei a fost prima distopie pe care am citit-o. Am fost nemulţumită de final şi nu am înţeles vreodată de ce este Peeta atât de popular şi de îndrăgit, însă asta nu m-a împiedicat să devorez cărţile într-un weekend. Mi-au plăcut la nebunie stilul alert și acțiunea imprevizibilă, aşa că nu am rezistat tentaţiei de a-mi extinde bagajul cu încă o carte, „împinsă” de curiozitate, dornică să aflu ce idei au luat naştere în mintea autoarei înainte de Jocurile Foamei.

La doar unsprezece ani, după dispariţia misterioasă a tatălui său, Gregor este „bărbatul” familiei. Un tânăr atletic, care se fereşte de necazuri, modest şi cuminte, care îşi iubeşte surorile şi îşi protejează mama, fără să aducă în discuţie situaţia materială delicată în care se află, precum şi imaginea pe care le-o oferă colegilor de la şcoală, când vine îmbrăcat cu haine peticite, sperând să treacă neobservat sau să nu atragă prea multă atenţie asupra sa.

Subsolul blocului poate să fie un loc foarte periculos, mai ales dacă ai o soră de doi ani, care alunecă prin grilajul dintre maşinile de spălat şi uscătoare, inconştientă de pericolul care o aşteaptă. Din instinct, Gregor sare după ea, disperat să o prindă pe Boots, dar este mult prea târziu pentru ei. Subpământul îi aştepta. Îi chema.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews559 followers
February 14, 2014

Before Suzanne Collins became megafamous from writing about The Hunger Games she wrote a wonderful series of children's books called the Underland Chronicles. These were books that I read as a child and very much enjoyed because of the fascinating fantasy world and ideas. I've always liked the idea of world beyond our own fingers or underneath our feet and that is what Collins decided to tackle in these novels.

The basic premise behind this first book is that of Gregor who stumbles down a laundry chute in his apartment and ends up in the world beneath our own: the Underland. In this world his father has gone missing and with the aid of gigantic flying bats and strange people Gregor sets off on a quest to find his father and discover more about himself in the process.

The inventiveness of this novel, more than the writing (which as I recall was fairly simplistic) is what has stuck with me about this novel. As I come back to write reviews of books I have read in the past, I find it fascinating that of the many hundreds of books (many of which were short pulpy little things) I read in my childhood that I can remember this one very clearly. I can also remember the Moomin books also - if there is any particular correlation I need be concerned with please let me know. Either way I recommend these novels for children to read, or any adults with childlike hearts!
Profile Image for Bryan.
12 reviews4 followers
April 17, 2020
The story takes place in New York City. It is about an 11 year old boy named Gregor. He lives in an apartment with his family. He was sad because he couldn't go to summer camp and had to take care of his grandmother and sister. Gregor had to do the laundry and took his little sister, Boots, with him so that he can watch whatever she does. As Gregor was doing the laundry, Boots sees a ball and goes to it. She then fell into this vent and Gregor was worried and went in with her. Gregor was falling in what felt like a bottomless pit and he heard Boots's voice. It was really dark in that pit so he couldn't see Boots. Now he was really worried and he was scared that he would die. Then he suddenly touched the ground and surprisingly survived the fall. He saw Boots holding the ball and he was relieved that she survived too. They walk in this mysterious place and meet some cockroaches which were so big like 5x bigger than the cockroaches they normally saw. The cockroaches offered the "Queen" Boots a ride on his back and Gregor was confused why they called her queen. Then the cockroaches told Gregor to keep up with him and then the cockroach ran very fast that Gregor could barely keep up with him. Then they arrive at this stadium with bats flying around in circle. This is when he meets Queen Luxa which is a very important character in the story. What I liked about the book was how he found out that his father was still alive. I recommend this book to ages 11 and higher. It is a really good book and I really enjoyed reading it.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
November 11, 2010
Already an immensely huge fan of Collins, outstanding series The Huger Games, I just had to see what her other books were like.

Now, I've never been particular pleased with rats and cockroaches to begin with, so having to read about life-sized ones was pretty dame creepy let me tell ya, but never the less, the underground world is fantastically imaginative and unique.
I really enjoyed all the characters, Gregor is a heart felt kid and wonderfully good humored and Boots was to precious for words.

Bottom line? I just loved this book. The concept is cool, it's fast paced and suspenseful and I really just enjoyed these characters. Anyone who loves fantasy should have a lot of fun with Gregor the Overlander!

Awesome Read!
On to book two...;)
Profile Image for Annalise.
132 reviews
April 23, 2011
My 10-yr old son moped around for days after he finished this series because he was so bummed there were no more books left to read. I decided I needed to see for myself what all the fuss was about, and I was also intrigued to see Suzanne Collins' work prior to The Hunger Games. I wasn't disappointed! It is geared towards a younger crowd than Hunger Games, but was still enjoyable for me as an adult. What I really loved is that it has at its core a functional family. Gregor is the hero, but he still has a mom and dad he looks up to, as well as younger siblings he cares for. Hurray for a good fantasy/adventure with great values!
Profile Image for Kwoomac.
825 reviews34 followers
July 14, 2013
I loved everything about this middle-grade children's book. It is actually Suzanne Collins' very first novel, pre-Hunger Games. It shares a lot with her more famous trilogy. Fast pacing. An ordinary kid forced by extraordinary circumstances into becoming a leader, a hero. Good good guys and bad bad guys. I already mentioned fast pacing. Gregor, an eleven year old boy and his two year old sister Boots get sucked from the laundry room in their NYC apt building into The Underland. The Underland has regular-ish humans, along with giant bats, roaches, rats, and spiders. According to an Underland prophecy, Gregor is the one who will lead them in their battle against the rats. Gregor's only goal is to retrieve his father, who fell down the hole two plus years ago and is now the rats' prisoner. Adventure ensues.

There are lots of great characters in the story. The wise elders. The snooty queen-in-training. The giant cockroaches, Tick and Temp. Yes, wonderful, loyal, sweet cockroaches. The giant rat Ripred. is he a spy, a traitor, should they trust him, do they have any choice? I'll never tell.Of course there's Gregor, who learns the obligatory lessons about himself and the world around him. But best of all is Boots. She greets everything in her life with joy. She has no fear. No prejudices. She treats everyone equally, teaching just about everyone a thing or two. Bravo Boots.

I'm not sure why I didn't know about this middle-grade series. I loved The Hunger Games. Maybe because the target audience was a little younger there was less hype. All those teen girls who loved The Hunger Games probably think they're a little too old to enjoy this book. It's too bad. I think both boys and girls would love this adrenaline-filled story. Less mushy stuff than Hunger Games, just a straight out quest. It doesn't get any cooler.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
December 17, 2010
Brought to you by Suzanne Collins – yes – the same Suzanne Collins that wrote The Hunger Games, Gregor the Overlander is a fun and entertaining read. Geared towards younger audiences, the Gregor books are a kind of Alice in Wonderland for boys.

Eleven year old Gregor is stuck babysitting his baby sister Boots. They are in the basement of their apartment building where Gregor is doing their laundry when Boots disappears into an air duct. Gregor follows Boots and falls into another world. They end up in an underground world where cockroaches are really huge – 4 feet tall. And they speak! It is also a world where the humans live in fear of really huge rats and super sized spiders. There are also very large bats. These bats are bonded for life with the humans that live in this world. Cockroaches, rats, spiders, and bats. I think boys would enjoy this.

Oh – I forgot – there is a prophecy. (Cue ominous music now…)

Overall, a fun and exciting read perfect for the young and possibly reluctant reader in your life. My boys can’t wait to get their hands on this book.
Profile Image for autumn.
271 reviews42 followers
January 9, 2019
this was such a fun surprise! i had thought my fond memories of this series were just nostalgia, but i thought it really held up! it hit the sweet spot of middle grade fiction where it's not too mature for its actual audience but it still has enough underneath the surface for adult enjoyment. iirc the later books only get deeper and cooler but this does a really great job of being a self-contained story while also sowing lots of seeds for the future! i dearly hope suzanne collins writes more books soon
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