Monday, October 17, 2011

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods

Title: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Category: Fantasy
Grades: 3-8
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: 2005
Pages: 358

Herded into the Underland by rats, Gregor finds himself embroiled in yet another prophecy, the Prophecy of Blood. A plague has struck the Underland, affecting all warmblooded creatures: bats, rats, mice, and humans. Following the prophecy, Gregor and his friends set out to find the rare starshade, a plant which the doctors of Regalia believe will provide a cure for the deadly plague.  Into the jungle they go, racing against the disease that has sickened their loved ones, including Gregor’s bat, Ares, and his mother.  When ants destroy the starshade field, all hope seems lost, until Gregor’s party discovers the true secret of the plague much closer to home.

While Collins has always imbued messages against prejudice into her stories, Curse of the Warmbloods begins to bring a strong anti-violence message; here we really begin to see the lengths warring sides will go to in order to destroy an opposing side, and the devastating effects warfare has even on the victors.  Collins continues to write gripping stories full of action and adventure that young readers will enjoy, and also continues to deepen her characters, giving them weaknesses, foibles, and fully realized personalities that allow readers to truly sympathize and even bond with not just the protagonist but many of the others.  We feel like they are family, worry if they are hurt, and cry if they are killed.  With the entrance of Gregor’s mother into the Underland and her subsequent illness that ties Gregor’s family more permanently to Regalia, the stories begin to take on the feel of chapters in a larger, overall tale.  Though this story is slightly darker than the others, it is a worthy installment that builds a stage for the stories to come.


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