Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
People have tried to keep Gregor from seeing the Prophesy of Time for a good reason: it says that the warrior Gregor will die. Shortly after Gregor finds out this horrifying fact, he finds himself readying for battle. An army of rats is descending upon Regalia, where his mother and sister are still located. Gregor must fight and also must decode the message written in the Code of Claw, as the fate of the Underland lies in their ability to decipher this code. In addition to the dangers, Gregor finds his feelings for Luxa becoming increasingly complex. This action-packed conclusion to the "Underland Chronicles" is a fitting conclusion to the series, a conclusion that, while not "happily ever after," is realistic and poignant. The code included with the book is an interesting puzzle if those reading want to play along.
VOYA - Nancy K. Wallace
In this final series volume, Gregor dreads fulfilling The Prophecy of Time, which foretells that Regalia's war against the rats will continue until Gregor dies in combat, killing the rat leader, the Bane. Battle follows bloody battle as the rats gain ground, finally assaulting the city itself. Locked in the palace, Gregor, Lizzie, and Boots frantically attempt to decipher the rats' Code of Claw. When Lizzie cracks the code, the Regalians infiltrate enemy communications, feeding them false information. Gregor, assuming that his death alone will bring about victory, faces the Bane with only his bond, Ares, to help him. When the Bane's erratic behavior prevents Gregor from getting close enough for a fatal strike, Ares sacrifices his life to fly Gregor in for the kill. With Ares and the Bane lying dead, the gravely wounded Gregor loses consciousness, convinced that he is dying too. Wakening in the Regalian hospital, Gregor learns that deprived of their leader the rats have surrendered. Queen Luxa and Ripred establish a bond between the races, which promises lasting peace. Gregor, reunited with his family, returns reluctantly to New York, leaving his Regalian friends behind. Consistent quality has been a hallmark of this series. Although the story line has gradually become darker, Gregor maintains his endearing qualities as a reluctant hero. His love for his family and his compassion for his friends never flag. The world of Regalia, located below the streets of New York City, presents a magical realm of possibilities for young readers of this excellent acquisition for any library.
Faith H. Wallace
After backstabbing, infighting, and lying, the Underland is finally at war with each species, sizing up what side to takeside with the humans and Gregor, their warrior, or side with the rats and their leader, the one white rat, the Bane. If Gregor had spared the Bane's life as a pup, would the war still come? Would another leader make a difference? So much hate and distrust between the species was bound to erupt in war. Collins is a master of writing an authentic battle, not everyone survives. Nor should they. But it isn't necessarily the warrior that saves the day. His sister has an important role to play in putting the Underworld back together again. This is the last book in a sophisticated series that should be required reading. Collins deals with prophecies like poetry, logic, echolocation, and politics. It would fit in all subjects in middle grades content area classrooms. Reviewer: Faith H. Wallace
School Library Journal
In his fifth adventure, Gregor is faced with his most personal challenge in the Underland-a prophecy that seems to foretell his own death. As the final confrontation between the giant rats, led by the powerful Bane, and the humans, led by young queen Luxa and her advisors, approaches, Gregor confronts his own fears and finds his own role in the fighting. The conflict brings his family from New York to the Underland, and Gregor's sister Lizzie finds her own role as the code-breaker, working with a team of representatives of the different underground species to crack the rats' secret code and to anticipate their next movements. As attacks and ambushes bring chaos to the underground city of Regalia, Gregor's role as the warrior means that it's up to him to save the day. A realistic conclusion, including the loss of old friends and a message about the importance of peace and trust, leaves readers with a sense of optimism about the future of the Underland. Friends and foes from the previous volumes reappear here, and Gregor's self-doubts and changing relationship with Luxa add to his depth as a protagonist. Fans of the series will find much to appreciate, from an enigmatic prophecy to the complex rat Ripred, and they'll be drawn in by Collins's tight pacing and sense of urgency.
Beth L. MeisterCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
At the opening of this, the fifth and final entry in The Underland Chronicles, Gregor discovers why no one has told him what's in "The Prophecy of Time": He is to die. In short order, an airlift of mouse refugees to Regalia, capital of the human territories in the Underland, gives way to a siege by the fascist Bane and his rat hordes, abetted by the giant moles the humans had displaced centuries before when they came to the Underland. As gallons of blood spill, Gregor's math-whiz sister Lizzie helps a multi-species team break the rats' Code of Claw, and Gregor himself agonizes over whether the cause for which he fights is a just one. Perhaps Collins's greatest achievement in these tales is the effortless introduction of weighty geopolitical ethics into rip-roaring adventure. It seems as elusive in the Underland as up above, but Gregor and his companions, including the unforgettable rat Ripred, may yet find a way. The resolution is bittersweet but faintly hopeful-a fitting end for an unflinchingly gutsy series whose deftly drawn characters have always lived dangerously. (Fiction. 9-12)