Suzanne Collins – Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Read my review of book:
1. Gregor the Overlander
Read By: Paul Boehmer
Length: 6h 33m (312 pages)
Genre: Mid-grade fantasy adventure
Started: 09 December 2012
Finished: 18 December 2012
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I needed something light and quick to take my mind off of moving.
An old prophecy
says Gregor must kill the Bane
or risk losing Boots.
Summary: After rescuing his sister and his father from the Underland, Gregor had sworn he’d never go back. But then his sister Boots is taken by a group of cockroaches, and Gregor is left with no choice but to follow. Once he returns to the underground city of Regalia, he finds Boots safe, but a new prophecy that hints that she’s in deadly danger from the rats, and that Gregor must find and kill the Bane, an mysterious and evil white rat. To keep Boots safe, Gregor will head once more into danger, traveling the Waterway in search of the Bane. But once again, not only his sister’s safety but the future of the Underland is riding on his shoulders, and he doesn’t know which of his companions he can trust, or when – or even if – he’ll see the surface world again.
Review: When I’m tired or very busy or stressed out, I tend to gravitate towards YA/mid-grade fantasy adventures for my audiobooks. They’re fast, so I feel like I’m accomplishing something, they’re exciting, so that they can distract me temporarily from whatever I’m stressed about, they’re absorbing, so I want to listen to more, and they don’t usually require a lot of mental energy, but just pull me along for the ride. On all of those fronts, Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane succeeded admirably – just as the first book in the series did when I read it. It was a quick listen, it kept me engaged, and it had a few surprises along the way. I also thought this book was a little more emotionally complex than the last one. Not unreasonably so for the target audience, but Gregor has to make some tougher choices this time around, and the interpersonal relationships likewise have a slightly more nuanced dynamic. Collins also keeps building upon her underground world, and there were some new and very interesting features that appeared in this book, both in terms of new creatures, and the Underland social structure and politics.
While I do tend to go for the audiobook version of books like this, I do wonder if maybe this series would have been better as a book. Paul Boehmer’s narration is technically fine – well paced, good with voices, nice timbre, etc. – but something about his inflection makes it feel like this book is geared younger than it actually is. Maybe because the writing doesn’t contain a lot of the things that typically annoy me about mid-grade books, the fact that the juvenile feeling is added back in by the narration stood out more. It’s entirely idiosyncratic, and certainly not distracting enough to make me not want to listen to the rest of the series, but it is something I noticed. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This book builds pretty strongly on the first one in the series. I’d recommend the series as a whole to fans of solid fast-paced fantasy adventure stories.
First Line: When Gregor opened his eyes he had the distinct impression that someone was watching him.
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