Gregor the Overlander (or life in a NY sewer)

The Overland - life on this planet, as we currently know it.
The Underland - a mythical place that exists in what I can only believe is an offshoot of the NYC sewer system.

And so we get into the Gregor the Overlander series.

Once again, I'm delving into the YA genre.  Gregor the Overlander targets preteens, but would be suitable for anyone who can read chapter books, young and old alike.  Gregor, the title character, is an 11-year-old boy living in New York City.  He lives in a small, run-down apartment with his mother, father, grandmother, and two younger sisters, until the day that he follows his youngest sister, Boots, into a vent opening in the basement laundry room.

Gregor and Boots find themselves in the Underland, a land inhabited by humans, gnawers, nibblers, spinners, crawlers, fliers, and other such creatures.  Humans are of normal size, but very different look, with pale skin, violet eyes, and silvery hair.  The other animals are of gigantic proportions.  Humans travel by flying on bats, and together fight an almost constant war with the gnawers (also known as rats).  The largest population of humans is found in Regalia, the royal city of the Underland.  It is there that Gregor is discovered to be the Warrior of the prophecy of Sandwich.

Gregor is the long-awaited warrior who will either save Regalia from the gnawers, or doom it to destruction.  (After all, what is a fantasy book without and end-of-the-world prophecy?)  But first, there are a few more prophecies that need fulfilling.

The series follows a series of prophecies, each more intricate and daunting than the last.  The final book culminates in a war throughout all of the Underland, and only one side can win.  Young adult book, or not, the ending thoroughly surprised me.  And the relationships forged between the inhabitants of the fantasy land continue to intrigue me.


The Lightning Thief

He killed off Beckendorf.  BECKENDORF!

If I could get away with only a couple of sentences to cover what I thought about the Percy Jackson series, those would cover it.  Rick Riordan, damn him, killed off Beckendorf.

I started reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians after a recommendation from Tialessa, an old friend and co-worker.  I'm a big fan of fantasy, and enjoy a good Young Adult (YA) book at times.  I am also fascinated by Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology.  The adventures of demi-god Percy sounded like just my kind of series.

The first book of the 5-part series is "The Lightning Thief".  Here, we are introduced to 12-year-old Perseus (Percy) Jackson, an underachieving, often troublesome, middle-schooler.  The situation quickly deteriorates, leaving Percy facing some interesting and quite unbelievable MONSTERS.  Monsters?  In NYC?

It turns out that our Percy is actually a demi-god - child of a mortal and a god.  His mother is mortal.  His father.....

....is Poseidon.

As it turns out, demi-gods are not as rare as one might think.  The Gods frequently parent children with mortals.  But Poseidon is one of the Big Three - along with his brothers, Zeus and Hades, he is forbidden to sire a mortal child.  The law forbids it to such an extent that there is even a prophecy - if one of them fathers a child, that child is destined to decide the fate of the world before his or her 16th birthday.  There hasn't been a child of the Big Three in many, MANY years.

The five books of the series cover the next five summers of Percy's life, summers spent at Camp Half-Blood, the camp for demi-god training, summers spent on quests, summers spend battling gods and monsters.  Percy exploits are chronicled in detail, as are his relationships with Annabeth, Grover, Mr.D, Chiron, the Stoll brother, Luke, Beckendorf, Clarisse, Silena, Nico, Tyson, and many more.  As he learns what it truly means to be the child of a god - and he comes closer and closer to the final act that will fulfill the prophecy.

Take a ride out to your local Barnes & Noble, or check out your local library.  Pick up Percy Jackson and the Olympians book one, "The Lightning Thief".  I don't think you'll regret it.

Once you're done, go to wherever you rent movies and rent "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief".  Not as good as the book, but still quite enjoyable, IMHO.


To Whet Your Appetite - March 2011

Wow, I didn't realize so much time had passed.  Where has 2011 disappeared to?  Needless to say, I haven't written anything on the previously listed programs.  But I have more to add to the list.  And since I'm going to be on vacation for the next 5 days, maybe I'll fill your mind with some awesome social rhetoric.  Or atleast some mediocre movie and television reviews.

Upcoming reviews, in no particular order:
1. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (paperback)
2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
3. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
4. The Twelve Houses by Sharon Shinn
5. Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars (paperback)
6. Space: Above and Beyond vs. Battlestar Galactica (TV series from different decades)
7. Brothers & Sisters (TV series)
8. Standoff (TV series)
9. Off The Map (TV series)


To Whet Your Appetite - Jan 2011

Awhile back, I listed some upcoming media that I planned on discussing.  I got to some, but not others.  I've also got some new media to write about.  So, once again.....

Upcoming reviews, in no particular order:
1. Friday Night Lights 3.10 (Netflix)
2. Reefer Madness, the movie musical (DVD)
3. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (paperback)
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (DVD)
5. Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars (paperback)
6. Space: Above and Beyond vs. Battlestar Galactica (TV series from different decades)
7. Brothers & Sisters (TV series)