I am on a Roll!!
I've read another book I liked! That's three in probably less than a month. This is unheard of.
The volume I'm talking about today is Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Our library had it shelved as a children's book and the main character is only 11 years old so that's probably right. That being the case, this nonchild should probably be embarrassed about how much she liked this book.
Gregor's father disappeared a couple of years before our story begins. Gregor, himself, falls through a hole in his building's laundry room along with his 2-year- old sister landing in the "Underland." The folks there believe him to be a warrior foretold in a prophecy, there's a quest for dad (guess where he's been all this time), and Gregor's got to take care of his little sister (an interesting problem to add to an adventure/journey story.) PLUS there are giant talking bats, cockroaches, and rats.
As a result of reading Gregor and The Thief I've decided that I can take fantasy so long as it's not sword and scorcery mystical stuff. I can't bring myself to even watch the Lord of the Rings movies, but I loved that talking rat in Gregor. He was very much a tortured antihero. A cliche, yes, but somehow new again in a giant rat.
Now I will admit that the morning after I finished the book I had a few grown-up second thoughts. For instance, could an eleven year old keep himself together as well as poor Gregor did? But that's sort of nitpicking because this book is for kids. If in real life an eleven-year-old would be totally freaked by the things that happen to Gregor, so what? Kids reading this book are going to want to identify with Gregor and feel they can survive an adventure like the one he has in the Underland.
Heck, I want to feel I could survive an adventure like the one he has in the Underland.