May 30, 2012

Gregor the Overlander

I've had this on my list for a while.  I'd heard it was good and recommended it to my lovely bride after the finished the Hunger Games and she, as usual, tore right through all five and gave the entire series an enthusiastic thumbs up.

But I'm trying to get through my book club books and the GA Book Award nominees and just plain fun reading is falling through the cracks.

So how happy I was when she got this for our daughter (with a New York subway token bookmark) for an end-of-school-year gift and we gobbled it down as a read-aloud.

The plot is a pretty well-worn one.  Eleven year old boy, Gregor (in this case with his two-year-old sister Margaret whom everyone calls Boots because of her favorite footwear), falls through a portal into a unique and troubling world with differences and parallels to our own.  Before he can escape this realm, he finds he is the subject of a prophecy and must go on a bit of a quest to save the father they'd been morning since before Boot's birth.

It's Alice in wonderland under New York with cockroaches, bats, spiders and rats instead of rabbits and hooka-smoking caterpillars.

There are people dow here in the Underland.  Pale, violet-eyed, strange-speaking people who are allied with the bats.  They are kind of allied with the wonderful (really!) cockroaches, and sort of working on the spiders to all go to battle with those nasty rats.  Oh, and all these creatures are human-sized, by the way.  Just to add to the awesomeness.

I loved it in spite of it hitting some of my annoyance tics.  I'm not a big fan of prophecies in books (or anywhere really) but it books they tend to drive me nutty.  The poetry is usually bad, the subsequent bending of the plot sometimes seems artificial and well, I just don't like them.  The Harry Potter ones didn't bother me too much, but then I didn't think they were completely necessary either.

This one wasn't too terrible in that I'd read the Hunger Games trilogy and knew how Collins liked to play with "rules" and well, break them, so I was looking forward how she'd pull out a fun ending on us and was not disappointed.

I was also dubious of the main character bringing along his toddler sister along on this adventure.  Oh, she's just going to be silly and/or annoying and just be put in peril at obvious times.  Well, she was all those things but such an amazingly rich character you don't mind.  We practically had a Boots fan club going on here.

The third thing was the overuse adverbs, especially in conjunction with dialog.  Never quite got over that one and mentioned it a few times.  Grumpily and loudly I suppose, because my girls told me to shut up about the stupid adverbs.  So I did and we enjoyed the heck out of this book and look forward to the rest of the series.

Not right away, though.  Harper has been dying to listen to Jim Dale read us The Order of the Phoenix forever, so that's up next.

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