Title: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Book 2 of The Underland Chronicles)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Hear it scratching down below,
Rat of long-forgotten snow,
Evil cloaked in coat of white
Will the Warrior drain your light?
The Prophecy of Bane foretold the coming of a monstrous white rat, which only the Overland Warrior can defeat. Gregor is shocked that the Underlanders expect him to slay the beast. Unfortunately, that's not the worst part of the prophecy.
Die the baby, die his heart,
Die his most essential part.
Die the peace that rules the hour.
Gnawers have their key to power.
The rats think that by killing Gregor's two-year old sister Boots, they'll be able to stop the warrior and emerge victorious. No way is Gregor letting anyone hurt his baby sister, so it's off on another quest to find and kill this white rat. But underneath all the fancy words of the prophecy, Gregor is just a kid. Can he really defeat this monster?
First, a word of warning. Although the ending of Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane can't technically be called a cliff-hanger, the fates of key characters are left in limbo. If you're the kind of person who can't stand not knowing what happened to your characters, might I humbly suggest making sure you keep a copy of the third book, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, handy.
It was good to be back in Underland, and there were interesting new characters to meet. One of my favorites included Twitchtip, a rat driven out for possessing a keen sense of smell with the ability to see the future. I also really liked that Suzanne Collins developed Nerissa, Luxa's cousin with the ability to see the future. (Guess I must like prophets.)
I think that, out of all the prophecies, this one had my favorite twist. It was such a simple thing, and it immediately changed the whole course of the story. I'm normally pretty good at figuring out twists, but this caught me by surprise.
As in all of The Underland Chronicles, you can expect page-turning suspense, action a-plenty, lovable characters, intense violence, and death. Probably best suited for older elementary and up.