Gregor and the Code of Claw - Suzanne  Collins
As a whole, I've enjoyed The Underland Chronicles. However, I do find myself a little disappointed that almost every series or trilogy ends with a grand war. Or more specifically, a last book where a single war takes up the entire plot. Yes, it does make for compelling reading and I was engaged the whole time, but I feel like it's somehow . . . wrong (?) to need all this violence in order to craft intensity for the climax (i.e. the last book). It also seems like a Collins trademark now, her last books need to be ridiculously war-centered with way too much gore and killing.

This aspect certainly seemed overdone in Gregor and the Code of Claw. I couldn't tell you how much imagery included blood dripping, spurting, running down and mixing with someone else's blood, seeping, etc. Not to mention this is for a young audience. I feel in order to create this emotional and action-packed potency she needed to make everything as violent as possible, and it made me feel like she lost track of the children she was writing for. There was even a scene where a rat ripped the head off another. It just seemed like too much, like she's feeding the stereotype that children need action and violence to be entertained. There certainly was a lot of that here.

All that aside, though, it wasn't all bad. I enjoyed Lizzie's role, and the softer side of Ripred. I felt like the relationship between Luxa and Gregor became a bit planned and awkward (including making Luxa's role "smaller" because she needed to be protected all the time since she was a woman and beloved by the male protagonist, despite her skill).

But all in all this series has some beautiful moments and great story lines that I enjoyed.