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Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles Series #1)

Gregor the Overlander  - Paul Boehmer, Suzanne  Collins Read this review at Smash Attack Reads! http://www.smashattackreads.com/2011/10/gregor-overlander-exciting-adventure-of.htmlMy interest in the book: Hello! It’s a reimagination of Alice in Wonderland! If you don’t yet know, I’m a major lover of Alice and I usually enjoy a new spin on the tale.My Synopsis: Meet Gregor, an eleven year-old boy who lives in the heart of NYC with his toddler-aged sister, Margaret – aka Boots - his 7 year-old sister, Lizze, his mother and his grandmother. Gregor’s father disappeared a few years ago, and the family has been doing their best to move on since.One day, Gregor and Boots are in the laundry room and *poof* Boots disappears through a grate in the wall. Frantic over her safety, Gregor follows her thought the grate, only to fall, continue falling, and fall some more, until he finally hits the bottom. There, he’s greeted by gnawers and crawlers, known as rats and roaches to us Overlanders.But they are life-size. And they talk.Say what?It seems as though the humans of Underland live beside such creatures, albeit uncomfortably. Besides gnawers and crawlers, you can also find flyers (bats) and spinners (spiders) in the Underland. Some are friends, some are foes, and Gregor gradually learns that your “species” doesn’t designate which side you are on.Gregor is thrust into this world and wants no part of the conflict between humans and the beasties. His main priority is getting his sister home safely. Unfortunately, the Underworld gods have a different plan for Gregor. You see, the humans inform him of a strange prophecy they believe he will fulfill. A prophecy that foretells Underland's questionable future…My Favorite Characters: Gregor is so easy to connect with, being a normal pre-adolescent boy. He is very protective of his family and yearns for the return of his father. Boots is a precious toddler who begged to be hugged and snuggled with. I adored her innocent perspective on life, and it reminds me how much society really does shape who we become. Luxa is the young heir to the throne of Regalia, the Underland city. She rubs you the wrong way in the beginning – and Gregor too – but her prideful, antagonistic behavior morphs as the story unfolds. Tik and Temp are two crawlers who call Boots “Princess” and are very protective of her. I adored these characters, especially the way they spoke. Way creative. Ares and Aurora are two fliers who are integral to the story, and Ripred is a gnawer whose courage is as big as his attitude.Worldbuilding: As stated, most of the story takes place in Underland, a vast web of sewers and caves, filled with wonders and horrors at every turn. Gregor travels a great distance during his journey and we are introduced to the homes of many species. The society of the Underland humans is a breath of fresh air, as they are not held to the strict cut-throat ways of Overland, but they must always be on alert, for they too are not safe from harm.Lasting Impressions: Hands down, the narrator for this book, Paul Boehmer, is GENIUS at what he does, and he completely made the story come alive for me. If he narrates the rest of the series, I will squee like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. His narration as Boots was amazing, and he made that two year old bigger than life. She was the most standout character, and it was because of him. I am quite glad that I decided to do the audiobook of this one, as I cannot imagine enjoying it even a tenth as much via hardcopy. Spectacular!