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Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
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Gregor the Overlander (2003)

by Suzanne Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Underland Chronicles (1)

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2,6791342,215 (3.98)113
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English (133)  German (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
Gregor the Overlander is a typical "hero's journey," quest-style book, but it's utterly original and imaginative. Gregor, whose father disappeared without a trace two years and seven months ago, follows his two-year-old sister into an air duct in their apartment building's laundry room, and they fall into the Underland, which is populated with pale, violet-eyed humans, giant cockroaches ("crawlers"), huge rats ("gnawers"), bats ("flyers"), and spiders ("spinners").

Gregor is desperate to take his sister and escape back home, but he is captured by the humans, who believe him to be a warrior mentioned in one of their prophecies. When the quest turns out to involve finding Gregor's father, he's all for it, and together with a small band of humans, crawlers, flyers, spinners, and even a gnawer, they set off in search of Gregor's father. But not all of them will survive this trip through the Underland...

This is a fantasy novel that draws on science and invention; Gregor's father was a science teacher, and Gregor was interested in most of his dad's explanations. It turns out some of these lessons can be put to good use in the Underland, even though it's very different than the Overland. This story has a satisfying conclusion, even as another prophecy - which indicates that Gregor will be returning to the Underland - is mentioned at the very end.

Quotes

They could call him their guest, but it didn't change the fact that he and Boots were prisoners. [Guests can leave, prisoners have to escape] (Gregor, 54)

"Courage without caution makes for early death." (Vikus, 96)

"Each person carries their own destiny." (Vikus to Gregor, 113)

He could never hate people very long because he always ended up finding out something... (Gregor, 145)

What was fun about feeling the world drop out from under your feet? (Gregor, 147)

"Do not offer me a choice when you know none exists!" (Luxa to Vikus, 213)

"Mutual need is a strong bond. Stronger than friendship, stronger than love." (Ripred to Gregor, 220)

"If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it." (Luxa to Gregor, 231)

"No one lives long in the Underland alone." (Luxa to Gregor, 233) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 18, 2014 |
11 year-old Gregor is at home minding the baby – 2 year-old “Boots” – and his Grandma, since it’s summer in New York City, his Mom is at work, and his dad disappeared suddenly two years, seven months and a specified number of days ago. A neighbour stops by to look after Grandma, so Gregor takes Boots down to the basement to do the laundry. So starts a terrifying journey to the Underland.

After falling for what seems like forever, Gregor manages to find his way to the city of the human (sort of) Underlanders, after encountering the gigantic cockroach inhabitants on his way. Fortunately he has not yet encountered the six-foot rats, although with his Overlander aroma, it’s only a matter of time before they smell him out. It’s a hostile world, but Boots manages to charm everyone, partly because she is afraid of no-one, and makes friends left, right and centre. So when Gregor turns out to be the warrior indicated in an ancient prophecy, Boots helps to enlist the aid of other Underlanders simply through being her own innocent self.

This is a great story, rightly garnering several awards and mentions. The story is well-paced, with parts of the dangerous quest divided into manageable chunks, although I’m not entirely sure of its suitability for bed-time reading. The description of the fights and battles are realistic, if short. Maybe fights with fantasy animals are ok. I know I had plenty of imaginary animal friends when I was a tween, just not vicious, smelly rats (not my opinion, just as depicted in the book).

I thought it a shame that a traditionally published book should let through the odd typo and oddities like “making up the word questers to describe the group”. What’s wrong with questors, which is a perfectly good word in the dictionary to describe people on a quest? I certainly knew it when I was twelve.

This is just the first of five Gregor the Overlander books. The next prophecy was hinted at in the last chapters. I’m not sure I’m going to read it, but I’m glad I read the first in the series – it was highly enjoyable and I recommend it to everyone not too afraid of the dark. ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
(4.9)
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
I've read the Hunger Games and Catching Fire by the same author, but I enjoyed this book much more. I don't know if this was because of the more interesting setting, the more meaningful action, or the fact that the book's main character wasn't an odd-but-talented girl with relationship issues (see Hunger Games). A wonderful book, and I'll read the other books in the series next. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book. _Gregor the Overlander_ follows the adventures of Gregor, unassuming 11 year old hero of otherworldly prophesy, and his little sister, Boots.

The story is peopled with interesting characters (from humans and bats, to roaches and rats), although Ripred takes the cake. Sadly, we don't meet him until about 3/4 of the way through the book, but he makes the wait worth it. Although about half of the characters are not human, you become engrossed in their stories and wish all of them more "time".

I thought the book appropriate for grades 5/6 and up, due mostly to violence, which actually matches up fairly well with the reading level. While some younger readers may be fine with it, I would probably tailor my recommendations to a slightly older audience. There are multiple brawls and fairly frequent deaths, ranging from named-but-fringe characters to well established ones, many of whom are killed off in a small window of pages. Possibly disturbing to a younger crowd. ( )
  Debra_Armbruster | Sep 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suzanne Collinsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boehmer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mom and dad
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Gregor had pressed his forehead against the screen for so long, he could feel a pattern of tiny checks above his eyebrows.
Quotations
He could never hate people very long because he always ended up finding out something sad about them that he had to factor in. [p. 146]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439678137, Paperback)

This irresistible first novel tells the story of a quiet 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

» see all 6 descriptions

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