You could be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Suzanne Collins's Gregor series, the quintet of books she wrote before hitting it huge with The Hunger Games. Book two of the Gregor series finds our young hero and his baby sister Boots back in the world known as Underland, with fresh new dangers to face. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane escalates the war we first learned of in Gregor the Overlander, and establishes some plot points that will likely carry through the final three volumes in the series.
Set shortly before Christmas, Gregor and his family are adjusting to the return of Gregor's father, haunted by his time held captive by the Underland rats. When on a sledding trip with his sister Boots, Gregor panics when the baby disappears, only to realize she has been taken underground once more. What follows is an intense journey that shows lots of fantastic imagination from the enormously talented writer. Like her other work, there is a hefty amount of violence, but nothing too gory for the young readers intended for this series, and nothing extraneous to the plot.
While the first novel could have been a fun standalone piece, this second entry in the series raises the stakes, with many moments in the plot that leave even advanced readers wondering how the characters can get out of these jams. With a few lingering questions lingering at the novel's end, Collins sets up some great loose ends that simply must be tied up.
Bottom Line: Exciting, scary, and addictive. While the ocean journey might be boring at a lesser author's hand, Collins keeps the pace swift and the interest piqued. Book three of the series promises to excite. A great read for fans of children's and young adult books or for someone looking for a good science fiction and fantasy series.
You can find Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane at your local chain bookstore, online or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). You can also download the book to your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, iPad or other eBook reader.