In the first book, Gregor the Overlander, our eleven year-old hero literally fell down into a world where he is predicted to be a ‘warrior’ in a prophecy. In the land underneath New York, Gregor made new friends among Regalia city’s royalty, army, and creatures that live among them. He is forced to go on a quest to fulfill a prophecy that will save the world, and the successful quest also led Gregor and his sister, Boots, to find their missing father. In Gregory and the Prophecy of Bane, a few months have passed since they returned to Overland and tried to fix their normal life back in NY. Gregor is still haunted by the second prophecy mentioned in passing before he left. It was almost Christmastime, and one snowy day, Gregor goes sledding with Boots in Central Park. Preoccupied with his thoughts on how to save up money to provide for their Christmas celebration, Boots disappears and Gregor is forced to go back to Underland to find her.
IF UNDER FELL, IF OVER LEAPED,
IF LIFE WAS DEATH, IF DEATH LIFE REAPED
SOMETHING RISES FROM THE GLOOM
TO MAKE THE UNDERLAND A TOMB.
HEAR THE SCRATCHING DOWN BELOW,
RAT OF LONG-FORGOTTEN SNOW,
EVIL CLOAKED IN COAT OF WHITE
WILL THE WARRIOR DRAIN YOUR LIGHT?
WHAT COULD TURN THE WARRIOR WEAK?
WHAT DO BURNING GNAWERS SEEK?
JUST A BARELY SPEAKING PUP
WHO HOLDS THE LAND OF UNDER UP.
DIE THE BABY, DIE HIS HEART,
DIE HIS MOST ESSENTIAL PART.
DIE THE PEACE THAT RULES THE HOUR.
GNAWERS HAVE THEIR KEY TO POWER.
Terror gripped Gregor’s heart as the last stanza of this second prophecy seemed to be straightforward in its message, and it eerily pertained and coincided with Boots’ disappearance. Little Boots, he learned eventually, was safe with her roach friends (yes, as in cockroach), and Gregor is coerced into a military training with the young Regalia people to get ready for war. In his previous quest, Gregor could only acknowledge luck as the aspect that made him survive. This time, he discovers that he’s a ‘rager’, an instinctive killing-machine mode with his sword that he has to learn how to control when in the zone. This newfound skill gives him a bit of confidence, but the magnitude of what he needs to accomplish is still daunting. He should be the one to single-handedly kill the Bane, a white rat in Regalian history said to be the most powerful creature in the Underlands. This second quest compelled them to crack this new prophecy and navigate the treacherous Waterway where they fought vicious creatures along the way. Destination? The Labyrinth, which is obviously a land of mazes, but they barely made it alive after their perilous battles. When they got to the maze, they discovered that the mythical Bane is real, but he’s just a baby. Gregor’s moral fiber was tested on what to do, and their quest concluded with an unfortunate banishment when they got back to Regalia.
This sequel explains in length the after-effects of Gregor’s new role in life. He’s getting tired and worried about the family’s daily household expenses, and his ‘warrior’ hat is something he still rejects. There is still disbelief and awe of his new destiny, but it is dawning on him that he has to do these things. A lot of Gregor’s emotional turmoil can be felt, on top of the wild trance-like state that he’s still trying to contain. His skirmishes with the creatures will leave readers breathless, but one will also feel that his soul is more worn out by additional losses to his crew in this second precarious journey, especially since his friend and crush, Luxa (the Regalian queen), went missing and was presumed to be dead. It’s a cliffhanger ending, and the fate of the missing crew members are yet to be known in Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods.
Suzanne Collins takes her readers into an action-packed second quest, but pulls hard on heartstrings as the endearing characters face some tragic sacrifices for friendship, for nationalism, for family, and for love of all breathing creatures. The review on Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods is coming soon!