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Gathering Blue (2000)
by Lois Lowry
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3.5 Stars ( )
I really cannot give this book five stars, and I really want to. And it makes me sad. The Giver is my favorite dispotian (& young adult distopian) novel in existence. It literally framed the many things I would read later. Gathering Blue was another look at this world, another satellite location of how life had gone on.
I liked the characters. I like the storyline. I like how it didn't interweave. And then I was deeply unhappy about how it ended just when I felt the real story of how Kira and Thomas and Jo turn their world around would have begun. Instead it just ended. I felt so confused and disjointed by this.
Oddly, as the second book in a quartet, it seems to have no connection to the first book, "The Giver." I assume within the last two of the series a connection will become apparent.
"Gathering Blue" lacked mainly through weak characters. Kira didn't stand out as a wonderful protagonist. Not that she was a bad character, just rather dull. Of the two villains in the book, one served no purpose other than to set the story in action, but was afterward rarely mentioned and completely irrelevant. The other we only learn to be a villain in the last few pages of the book, and he doesn't make an appearance again after that point. It felt like a short story that dragged on too long. I also found the conclusion highly unsatisfying. "Dystopian future" was the only relevant tag I could think of for this book. It's not about family or friendship, as most middle grade books tend to be, and doesn't really seem to have any point other than showing a dystopian future.
Weak development of two-dimensional characters made this the very opposite of the previous immersive “Giver” experience for me. The plot doesn’t move, the world isn’t interesting, the main character and her friends are blah, and I found the cutesy Robert Burns-like diminutives that characterize the slang of Dickensian scamp Matt obnoxious. There is a vast discrepancy between the representation of children as natural, realistic humans in “The Giver” vs. the Precious Moments caricatures we have here. The difference in the writing troubles me enough to put me off the rest of the series.
The fact that this installment is not a direct follow-up addressing the ending of “The Giver” (which becomes a cliffhanger once further books are added) is not my beef. Glimpses of different sections of Lowry’s “Giver” reality and resolution in the fourth book would be fine. I’m disappointed in the quality of this sequel, which feels like it was written by a different person than “The Giver”; someone with much less skill.
A good follow up to The Giver. I feel there could have been a little more to the ending but subtle hints leave room for more interesting things in the next book.
''The Giver'' was an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind book that spoke as much to adults, myself included, as to children. The future world it depicted was rich and seductive and -- frightening thought -- completely plausible. The brute, survivalist world of ''Gathering Blue'' is much less convincing, with neither the dimension nor the subtlety of ''The Giver.'' Many of the characters in ''Gathering Blue'' are presented as either good or bad, and lack the complexity of real people.
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The Giver (2)
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Wikipedia in English (1)
Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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