Friday, January 30, 2009

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins (4/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. While I still didn't find this book to be as good as her novel The Hunger Games, I thought that this book was better than the first one in this series. If you liked the first book, you are sure to like this one.

Gregor is struggling to deal with life after returning with his father from the first book in the Underland Chronicles. His dad is sick and can't work so his family is struggling to make ends meet. In an effort to give his little 2 yr old sister Boots so semblance of a normal childhood he decides to take her out sledding in Central Park. He looks away for a second and next thing he knows Boots has been kidnapped back into the Underland. Gregor follows her kidnappers and finds that she has been kidnapped to in order to ensure her safety. Apparently him and Boots are part of the next Underland prophecy; one in which all is lost if the baby dies and one in which Gregor is supposed to single handidly destroy the evil white rat called the Bane.

I thought that the character development was better in this book and that in general the book was paced better with more engaging action sequences. This book wasn't wrapped up as nicely as the first book; there were still unresolved issues with missing people and stuff like that. A very solid children's book again, with easy vocab, and some violence and scary parts. I liked two of the new characters introduced; both Howard and the rat the accompanies Gregor (I am drawing a blank on her name) really add to the story and are developed as great characters.

My only complaints again would be that this isn't the most creative story. It is also a very straighforward story; there was a small twist at the end but it was nothing that couldn't be foreseen. I wish the plots of these books were a bit more complex. I suppose there is some charm in the simplicity of it too and I guess *it is* a children's book.

Overall this book is a quick read and it is engaging. A great children's book that I think adult fans of fantasy would like too. I am looking forward to the third book.

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