Friday, August 19, 2011

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

Raise your hand if you have read The Hunger Games.  Keep your hand up if you consider yourself a big fan of Suzanne Collins.  Okay, now keep your hand up if you have heard of The Underland Chronicles.  I bet you put your hand down and that isn’t right.

Before I go any further I suppose I should include what The Underland Chronicles is about.  But instead of trying to write a synopsis myself which will leave you confused I’ll just give you the synopsis on the back of the first book in the Underland Chronicles, Gregor the Overlander:

     When eleven-year old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York City apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats – but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.
     Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him – and the Underland – forever.

For those of you who don’t know, The Underland Chronicles is a series Suzanne Collins wrote way before The Hunger Games. Yet you can still tell that it is the same author. The Underland Chronicles deals with many of the same issues and has the same themes that are present in the Hunger Games.  Gregor (protagonist of The Underland Chronicles) and Katniss both struggle with what they must do.  Gregor must become a warrior and Katniss is slated to be the picture girl of the rebellion.  Both do their fated jobs in the end, but with a sense of unease and dislike.

The most common theme in both of these series is tendencies of humans.  More specifically the human tendency to fall into historical patterns and believe that the best way get rid of your enemy is to kill them.  

1.       Historical Patterns
      ·         At the end of the Hunger Games, District 13 decides to have another Hunger Games, but this    
             time using Capitol kids. 
      ·         In The Underland Chronicles the humans can’t get over past differences with the rats and so they   
             are always on the brink of war.

2.       Killing Your Enemy
       ·         The Capitol believes that the best way to keep the Districts from rebelling is to kill two teenagers 
              from each District once a year.
      ·         The humans are known to the other animals as Killers because whenever they have a problem 
             there solution is to kill it.

Don’t let the giant bugs and slightly younger characters scare you away from reading this series.  You will be surprised at the level of intensity found in the later books.  I promise you that if you liked the Hunger Games you will like the Underland Chronicles.

1 comment:

  1. I bought these books right after I read the Hunger Games but I haven't read them yet because I hadn't heard much about them so I assumed they weren't very good. I may have to start reading them now. Thanks for sharing!