This is the second in the series, and I have previously read Gregor the Overlander (although I don’t appear to have reviewed it).
Despite vowing not to return, the kidnapping of his baby sister forces Gregor to venture into the hidden realm in the depths of the Earth once more. There he finds the reason his sister was kidnapped: the Prophecy of Bane suggests the gnawers (rats) will try to kill her, in order to take the fight out of Gregor, who it foretells will slay ‘the Bane’ — a giant white rat who could lead them to conquer the Underland.
The is the same Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games and her dark side if very much in evidence here. Few punches are pulled and a number of characters are killed, often in quite gruesome ways.
Although it’s aimed at kids, I don’t remember the first book talking down to its reader, but this certainly did, simplifying and labouring points that didn’t need it.
Most of the book is taken up by the quest to kill the Bane. It didn’t offer much insight into the characters or the Underland. Although there are plenty of episodes, everything seems to go very smoothly and the story gets wrapped up with a nice warm bow at the end, as if to balance out some of the darker stuff.
It’s read by Paul Boehmer, who does a reasonable enough job, but didn’t draw me in particularly and, I felt, didn’t suit the narrative.
So not one for me and not one I would recommend, to anyone of any age.