So far I've really enjoyed the underland series for its strong charters, and adventure story lines. I've had the third book sitting on my shelf for a while, and it's been a couple of months since I read the second. And it's a good thing too, because I think if I'd read this instalment straight after the last I would have been bored out of my mind.
The whole questing through the underland thing has been pushed about as far as it can go. The characters, the events, the twists and turns in the prophecies, the lessons learned... are all very similar. That being said, since it was a while since I read the second book, I still quite enjoyed the third. Suzanne Collins still writes an exciting adventure any way you look at it and I just love the underworld and all its characters and how each species relates to each other.
What I thought was a shame was the Gregor's mother didn't get to go on the quest with him. I thought that it would have been great for her to see her son at his best so that she could understand the kind of person he was becoming. It could have made for a quest that had a different dynamic than the previous two quests. Maybe one of the next two books will include something like that.
I love that even in a book for young children, Collins isn't afraid to deal with death on a whole range of levels, violence, war, self sacrifice, sickness, losing parents or children. In some ways I think this would be a great book for parents to read with their children to open up discussion on some big topics. It's also filled with events that really challenge kids to think about how they treat their parents and siblings, how to apologise when they hurt someone and other little thought provoking moments.
I still love this series and I don't think the similarity between the books would be as noticeable on a younger audience. I'll still keep making my way through the series... just leaving a few months in between each book.