Monday, June 8, 2009

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins (4/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Underland Chronicles. It was a great book as things really start to heat up in the Underland.

When one of the bats returns the crown that Luxa left with the Nibblers; Luxa knows the Nibblers must be in big trouble. Gregor is also making regular visits to the Underland to visit his ailing mother; during these visits Gregor trains with Ripred to improve his echolocation and in one visit meets the Bane. The Bane has grown substantially since Gregor saved him and is becoming a creature to match his name. Frustrated with the slowness of the council Luxa convinces Gregor and crew to meet with the Nibblers, but the Nibblers have disappeared and Gregor and Luxa (accompanied by Howard and Boots) are in for another another adventure that leads to a climax in the Underdark that has so long been inevitable.

This was a great book. It ripped along at a very fast pace, was very entertaining, and hard to put down. I just flew through this book. This book is different from the previous books in that the book is not a contained adventure; this book ends in the middle of the action and leads right into book 5. So, I would definitely get book 5 ahead of time to avoid frustration of being stranded in the middle of the story at the end of this book. It is also different from the other books in that there is not a prophecy forcing the story forward.

There is more blood and violence in this book than the other books. As the characters mature, so do the things they are forced to deal with. Luxa and Gregor both grow a lot as characters and begin to accept their responsibilities. You get to see a lot more of Gregor's rager abilities and a lot more of Luxa making the decisions a Queen must make. Ripred and Boots are deeply involved in the story too; these are probably my two favorite characters in this series.

A great addition to the series. Leads you to the climax of these books; very engrossing and fast-paced read. I wasn't thrilled with this series after the first couple books; but the last two books have made reading the series all worth while!

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