This book series is one of my absolute favorites. Too bad only like eight other people on the planet have read these things.
The Underland Chronicles were written by Suzanne Collins. Yes, the same Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games, which I also love more than most things. I read The Hunger Games first, and then found out that Suzanne Collins had written another series years before she wrote THG. I was curious, so I bought them and finished them all very quickly.
Then I tried to tell everyone I know to read them, and that’s when I realized that trying to make these books sound appealing while not giving away too much of the plot is really, really hard. The basic premise is that a boy and his sister fall down a hole and find this land under the ground and this land has humans but also giant talking bats, rats, cockroaches, spiders, and all kinds of stuff and it’s like some kind of Goth Narnia or something. Believe me when I say it’s better than it sounds.
TUC falls more under the category of fantasy than sci-fi, but it does have a couple of things in common with THG. It also is about war, senseless violence, corrupt leaders, etc. And the main character also comes from poverty and is kind of closed off and goes through horrible ordeal after horrible ordeal and by the series end he has major PTSD.
So you can kind of sense a theme with Suzanne Collins’ books.
I’ll assume anyone reading this has either read THG or watched the movies, so you know that THG was a very grim, violent, and disturbing series. It’s also for young adults, while TUC is a children’s series. So you would expect TUC to be at least a little bit lighter, right? That’s certainly what I expected, and I was wrong. If anything, TUC might be even more disturbing, though it’s possible I only feel that way because knowing it’s supposed to be for children makes the darker stuff stand out more. Suzanne Collins doesn’t sugarcoat anything and I respect the hell out of her for that, but at the same time I wonder how she was able to get away with some of this stuff for a children’s series.
But the story and characters really are wonderful and it makes me really sad that this series never reached the same level of popularity as THG. I mean, TUC does have a fanbase, and it’s a very passionate one, but it’s also a very, very tiny one. That’s just not fair.
This probably isn’t the best series to start off my book reviews with if almost no one has heard of them, but they’re the only books I brought with me to Sweden because I didn’t have room in my suitcase for any other books. Gotta go with what I have. I encourage all of you to read these books and spread the word about them, and in the meantime I’ll be reviewing them and hoping that maybe one day they’ll get the recognition they deserve.