Suzanne Collins – Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Read By: Paul Boehmer
Length: 337 pages
Genre: Mid-Grade Fantasy Adventure
Started: 18 October 2014 (during the readathon!)
Finished: 19 October 2014
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I needed something fun to listen to, and I’d like to finish out the series.
When all the mice are
disappearing, Gregor must
help find out what’s wrong.
Summary: Gregor is visiting his mother, still recovering from the events of Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, in the Underland, when a series of disturbing events start to occur. First, he meets the Bane, the baby white rat whose life Gregor had saved, but who is now grown to enormous side and is dangerously unstable. Then Luxa receives word that the mice that helped her in the jungle are in trouble. Gregor isn’t immediately tied to these events via a prophecy that describes his fate as the Warrior, but he still cares about what’s happening to his friends, so he and Luxa set off to investigate… and along the way, they find several clues that point them towards a horrifying realization – and a danger that could threaten the entire Underland realm.
Review: While I don’t love these books, they’re reliably fun fantasy adventure stories, and this one was no exception. This book was slightly different from its predecessors in that it doesn’t feature Gregor being forced into his adventure against his will in order to fulfill the terms of a prophecy. It also seems a little less goal-driven than the previous – the party that leaves Regalia are not setting out to find or retrieve something before time runs out, it’s more of an investigative journey, and so the plot doesn’t seem quite as urgent. There’s also less of a puzzle to solve – there are some aspects of that still, but the “Marks of Secret” of the title aren’t explained very well, nor do they play a particularly large role in the plot, so that felt a little underwhelming. This book also has a sense of being a lead-in for the next (last) book in the series, rather than a start-to-finish adventure of its own, which may have been why this one wasn’t quite as robust of a story as previous. (At least Gregor figured out the contents of the central prophecy in the next book, the one that every one gets cagey about and refuses to mention; I might have given up if he remained clueless.) It’s also not quite as fun as previous ones, as the storyline gets substantially darker… darker than I was expecting for the target age range of this book. But it was an engaging and quick-paced adventure story, and an easy way to spend some listening time. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Only for those that have read the previous books in the series, and that have the last one easily available, as it only briefly summarizes the events of the previous books, and reading this one on its own does feel kind of unfinished.
First Line: Gregor sat on his bed tracing the scars with his fingertips.
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