Publication Date: April 3, 2007
Story Perspective: Third-Person
Themes: War, Loss, Grief, Family, Love, Sibling Love, Death,
Friendship, Trust, Persistence, Courage, Compromise
War is upon the Underlanders and Gregor finds himself right in the middle of it. With the delusional and unstable Bane as the rat leader, the humans must find a way to protect their kingdom.
With help from anyone willing, the Underlanders work together to attempt to bring peace once again to their homeland.
When I first picked up this book, I was worried about the plot structure and character development after reading the previous one in the series. However, this book did improve, which made it more enjoyable to read.
This fifth installment focused a lot on war – before, during, and after. In some ways, I liked and appreciated it, but in other ways, I found the subject matter rather dark for a children’s series. There is much talk about blood, some gore, and several people and creatures dying. However, there is also talk about working together, the realities of war, and compromising. For me, I found the plot fast-paced, but I do worry about certain children reading this.
There were several characters that showed growth throughout the read. Gregor has matured in a way that no twelve-year-old should, witnessing so many deaths. His sister, Lizzie, gained more confidence, and even Boots improved her speech and capabilities to help. However, I do wonder with the lack of strong, reliable adults if children would get a negative idea towards the adults in their lives. Basically, the adults either died, became extremely ill, or were fairly indecisive, and the children ran most of the show with other the
Also, the “love” relationship that is supposed to be the center of the book leaves a sour taste in my mouth. First, I don’t believe that two twelve-year-olds understand the true meaning of love. Also, I worry about impressionable young boys and girls who feel they understand what love is and are therefore encouraged to begin dating. I’m a firm believer that this age is way too young for anyone to date.
Lastly, I found the ending lacking. It was left a bit open-ended, and the reader doesn’t really know what will happen with the main family in a way that isn’t very satisfying.
Overall, I found this one more enjoyable than the previous in the series, however, I do find the amount of violence, the view of relationships, and lack of unanswered questions at the end problematic.
I would recommend the fifth installment in the The Underland Chronicles to perhaps middle-aged children, those who enjoyed the other books in the series, and those who don’t mind some violence in their books.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
12 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!
Click on the links to see my reviews of other books in this series: