Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review: Gregor and the Code of Claw

In this final installment of The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins once again drives home the futility of war.  Beginning with another prophecy, this time one predicting the death of Gregor, the warrior, the book opens to scenes of war.  While still desperately trying to save the Nibblers, the mice, from the fateful end the rats have planned for them (think Nazi concentration camp scenarios), the humans in the Underland are desperately preparing for an attack from the rats and possibly other of their allies.

Gregor, his mother, and his sister, Boots, remain in the Underland and are soon joined by the final member of the family to visit the Underland, Lizzie, the puzzle-solving middle child.  While it was once thought that Boots would solve the code of claw (a special code used by the rats to transmit messages freely in the Underland), it becomes apparent that Lizzie is far more proficient at cracking codes.  Although Gregor would like nothing more than to transport the women of his family back to their home above ground, he is forced to allow them to remain and to face his own part in the prophecy and speak down his inner demons to rise bravely to the challenge of facing the Bane (the chief rat who is responsible for unspeakable evil).

The action moved at a swift pace.  There was a bit of romance thrown in and several unexpected twists and turns in the plot.  While still not my favorite in the series, this book kept up the same standards of riveting story-telling from previous installments.  With coded passages to figure out, plenty of gruesome battle images, and constant progression toward the possible end of the main character, this book is sure to appeal to male and female readers alike.

Strangely enough, my middle son has just latched onto the idea of wanting Daddy to read The Hunger Games to them in the evenings.  It seems he saw a copy of it in his elementary school library (he is now in a school that houses 3rd through 5th grade) and has therefore assumed that it is age-appropriate for him. They have started with the first chapter, but on my next trip to the library, I plan to bring home the first book in this Underland series, because I believe this would be a more appropriate series for them to tackle now.

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