Author: Suzanne Collins
Title: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Publication Info: [New York] : Listening Library, 2005.
Previously Read By Same Author: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, Gregor the Overlander
The second volume of The Underland Chronicles continues the delightful adventures and imaginative world-building of it’s predecessor. Gregor and his sister Boots return unwillingly to the Underland and find themselves drawn into another quest to seek a rat known as the Bane. [Side note: Being the father of a girl the same age as Boots makes me love her characterization all the more]. The book builds on the Underland with new characters and new locations but at it’s best it develops continuing relationships, especially between Gregor and his bonded bat Aries. It is also a darker story as Gregor faces a tragic loss and must make a difficult moral decision that defines his character. If I have one quibble it is how these stories are guided by prophecies, although there is the counterpoint that the interpretation of these prophecies is often way off base within the story itself. Another excellent work by Suzanne Collins, go get it now!
Author: Suzanne Collins
Title: Gregor the Overlander
Publication Info: [New York, N.Y.] : Listening Library, 2005.
Previously Read By Same Author: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay
I read this book for the first time in 2006 (my original review is on Library Thing) and was impressed by the adventure set in a fantastical world under the Earth. I learned a few years ago that it was the first book in a series and have been meaning to try to read through them all. And so I begin with a reread of this terrific story about a boy named Gregor and his toddler sister Boots who fall into the Underland, where lies a mysterious kingdom with humans allied with giant bats and cockroaches at war with giant rats. Gregor discovers that his long-missing father is held captive by the rats and thus begins a quest to find him. The story is a delightful mix of action, humor, and introspection. I included this book in my list of 100 Favorite Books back in 2009 and I believe it still deserves a spot in that list. Suzanne Collins has become famous for The Hunger Games (and their film adaptations), but I think this is her best work.
Recommended books: Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer and The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Author: Bill Willingham
Title: Fables: Animal Farm
Publication Info: Vertigo (2003), Paperback, 128 pages
Previously by same author: Fables: Legends in Exile
Summary/Review: The second volume of the Fables series has Snow White traveling with her rebellious sister to The Farm in upstate New York where the mythical beings who cannot disguise themselves as humans live. The animals and other creatures are not happy with being imprisoned on the Farm which leads to a rebellion and a plot very much derivative of the George Orwell novel that makes up the subtitle. I found the story of this installment more engaging and the plotting improved over its predecessor, but I still feel it’s not living up to its great premise. The artwork can be reminiscent of Apartment 3G, and distinguishing many of the male characters is difficult. Still it’s entertaining brain candy and I may check out another volume.
Recommended books: The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde and Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin.