Monday, May 9, 2011

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, by Suzanne Collins

I got this book from the library because I wanted to read more after book 1....

Skip this if you don't want who lives/who dies spoilers for the first book. Just scroll down, la la la, like I used to do with Mockingjay reviews, and read the review of the first book instead. Better yet, go read the first book itself.

In a nutshell:
Gregor, some months after his first Underland adventure, is finding out that not everything is perfect even though he and his sister and his dad are all back home. His dad is sick, and there's still not enough money. He does, however, have an improved relationship with the cockroaches in his room - and he's got a "job" with a lady downstairs who often sends him home with food for the family.
But then Boots gets carried off by Underland crawlers while Gregor's taking her to Central Park, and Gregor follows - of course.
Down below again, Gregor learns that there's another prophecy, and this one seems to be suggesting that Boots is in danger. And that there's a monster called the Bane that "the warrior" {Gregor} will have to fight....
Once again Gregor has to help his Underland friends, and the journey will take him through some very strange places and uncomfortable situations.

I liked this book very much.
There's still the ghostly feeling of overlay because face it, Suzanne Collins writes like Suzanne Collins, and that means that a bat can get eaten to a skeleton in moments by a cloud of bugs, and a sea serpent can leave poisonous sores on the protagonist's arm that do not heal conveniently in a chapter. But it also means that she knows, somehow, the right notes to play on the reader's heartstrings - or at least on this reader's. I've had that feeling before, both in these books and in Hunger Games - "I'm being emotionally manipulated here. And I don't care, it's beautiful/sad/horrid/amazing anyhow."

Some more beautiful points in this one about... mercy, justice, and acceptance. A strong message against predjudice. Gregor is willing to selflessly risk his life to save someone who is... not in favor at all - when the others refuse to do anything, he climbs over the side of the boat to attempt a rescue.

This book gets into the action a lot sooner than the first one does, probably because the introductions are already over. But... I really must point out, it doesn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, but I can safely say it ends on a hillhanger at least.
So I want the third book. NOOOOWWWWWW.

On the other hand, this is Suzanne Collins's work, and perhaps I don't really want to know what happens? Perhaps vagueness is preferable?
Get ahold of yourself, Rina. These are her MG books. She is not going to kill off a major character.
I think.

One thing I love about this book:
I have met few books recently that hold loyalty, family, and friendship in such high honor. Gregor is not a loner; he is a person with emotional connections and loved ones, and I appreciate this greatly. Especially after Chime, the book I intend to review next.

One thing I am a little annoyed about in this book:
Ms. Collins seems incredibly reluctant to discuss anything even remotely supernatural. We have prophecies, we have special abilities, we have a person who sees the future, we have monsters ... who knows what we'll get later? And yet in all this, we have not even the slightest mention of any Higher Power. On all sides and from above and below there is the threat of death, characters are dying onstage and off, and people are losing those close to them. But no one, no one offers the slightest hint of Life Hereafter, not even tentatively.
And there's this thread in Hunger Games and its sequels as well.
If anyone would be thinking about immortality of the soul or whether there's Someone to appeal to for help, the characters in the plot of a Suzanne Collins book would be.
This is probably my own feelings coloring the issue... but it is getting to me a little. I think that even non-Christians would begin to struggle with these questions in the face of such circumstances, and I wish that such issues was not stared into oblivion in these books.

Age rec: well, I would say 8 and up. Maybe a little more "up." Some violent scenes... and that bat being killed by the swarm of insects... On the other hand, it's pretty conservative in its detail.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! Years ago I had a girl in a book club who didn't like reading until she read the first in this series...and now she's a reading all the time...the new library I am at did not have these books. They are now on order!