Book Two left off with Gregor reading the Prophecy of Blood: a prophecy that calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a plague. But this time, Gregor's mother refuses to let Gregor return to the Underland ...until the rat Ripred assures the family that Gregor and Boots are needed only for a short meeting, which the crawlers will attend only if their "princess" Boots is present. Gregor's mom finally relents, but on the condition that she go with them so they aren't out of her sight. The Underland plague is spreading, and when one of Gregor's family is infected he begins a journey to satisfy the prophesy.
I’ve resumed listening to audio books in the car with my children and this is the one my son selected last week. We wanted to start with book 1 but both the first and second books were checked out of the library so we started out of order. I actually went back today to see if book one or two were there, but all they had was four and five so I guess we’ll be continuing from this point and we’ll have to go back at some later time.
Not having read the first two books left us jumping into a story that was already going, but enough review and catch up was done that I think we had a handle on most of the characters and past books that we were able to enjoy this one. I liked how the narrator used different voices for each of the characters because it made it both more entertaining and easier to follow who was who. My children were a little confused as to how the rats, bats and cockroaches were so large, somehow they missed that at the beginning and a few of the questions they asked at the end made it evident that they hadn’t understood that aspect of the story. I wonder if we had started with the first book if more explanation of that was done. I am sure Collins was thinking that most readers had read the first two so, while some review was needed, there might not have been as much detail in book three as there was to start.
In this book Gregor, his sister Boots and his mother travel into the Underworld for what they think is going to be a short meeting about a prophesy. Of course it ends up that they cannot leave until they go on a quest to fulfill the prophesy to find a cure for the plague that is affecting the warm-blooded beings of the Underworld. The humans, bats and rats are at risk while the insects are not. Not only is there concern for those in the underworld but if this plague were to spread to the Overland it could wipe out populations around the world. Parts of their journey are quite dangerous, they meet characters who were thought to be dead and some characters do die. Towards the end of the novel there is a punishment to a character for a very serious breach of morality. I thought the character who be put in prison for these deeds but the consequence was much more severe. I was a bit afraid of how my children would take that but they were surprised but not upset about it.
I recall picking up the first book in this series at a book fair when my oldest was still a baby and almost buying it for myself to read. For some reason I put it back, most likely because for years I have had way more books than I can read, but I think it was good that I waited to read it with them. I am really enjoying sharing books with my children and having the chance to read and listen to them together. Later today we will be starting book four as we venture out this evening for their evening activities.
Pub. Date: July 2006
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 358pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Underland Chronicles Series , #3
Edition Description: Reprint