Title: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Author: Suzanne Collins
Read In: 2023
Purchase: Bookshop.org (affiliate link)
“The point is, she flip-flops in and out of time like a fish in the shallows.”
His dad said if you did something wrong to someone in public, you ought to admit it in public, too.
“I am always proud of Nerissa,” said Luxa. “If fools wish to belittle her, it does not affect my judgment of her gifts.”
They had found the cure! Finally, something was going right! He plucked a leaf from the plant and took a deep sniff. The clean, refreshing scent made his nose tingle. “Mmm, smells like lemons. This must be it. It smells . . . like it could heal you.”
Boots crawled up on Ripred’s neck and poked him on the top of the head with one finger. “R is for rat,” she said.
“Yes, and B is for bite,” said Ripred in a singsong voice. “Be careful the rat doesn’t bite your fingers!” He snapped his teeth together for emphasis.
“Oh!” Boots quickly scooted back against Gregor and held her hands close to her chest.
“Was that really necessary?” said Gregor.
“Absolutely. You want her going up and trying to pet rats? Not in this day and age,” said Ripred.
Ripred, as usual, had a point. In general, Gregor did not want Boots petting rats. Most of them would kill her in a second. But then . . . if the humans and rats taught their babies from birth to fear each other . . . how was anything ever going to get better? He had a feeling this was a much bigger question to answer than he had time for at the moment, so he just wrapped his arms around Boots and said nothing.
“I do fight on occasion, but only as a last resort,” said Hamnet. “It is a method of survival I have learned from Frill. It turns out there are many alternatives to violence if you make an effort to develop them.”
“But if there are no vines, and she is cornered, and something is trying to kill her?” said Luxa.
“Then she fights. She has very wicked teeth if she chooses to use them. But it is always her last choice, as opposed to the Regalians, who seem to conclude it is their only option almost immediately,” said Hamnet. “Living out here, I have found that many creatures would prefer not to fight. But if your first instinct is to reach for your sword, you will never discover that.”
The more he thought, the more his mind reeled in confusion. We were right to fight. It was wrong to fight. We had to fight. It was pointless to fight. He simply did not know where he stood, and it made him feel crazy. No wonder Hamnet had run off to the jungle.