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Gathering Blue (Giver Quartet) Paperback – March 5, 2013
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Lois Lowry's magnificent novel of the distant future, The Giver, is set in a highly technical and emotionally repressed society. This eagerly awaited companion volume, by contrast, takes place in a village with only the most rudimentary technology, where anger, greed, envy, and casual cruelty make ordinary people's lives short and brutish. This society, like the one portrayed in The Giver, is controlled by merciless authorities with their own complex agendas and secrets. And at the center of both stories there is a young person who is given the responsibility of preserving the memory of the culture--and who finds the vision to transform it.
Kira, newly orphaned and lame from birth, is taken from the turmoil of the village to live in the grand Council Edifice because of her skill at embroidery. There she is given the task of restoring the historical pictures sewn on the robe worn at the annual Ruin Song Gathering, a solemn day-long performance of the story of their world's past. Down the hall lives Thomas the Carver, a young boy who works on the intricate symbols carved on the Singer's staff, and a tiny girl who is being trained as the next Singer. Over the three artists hovers the menace of authority, seemingly kind but suffocating to their creativity, and the dark secret at the heart of the Ruin Song.
With the help of a cheerful waif called Matt and his little dog, Kira at last finds the way to the plant that will allow her to create the missing color--blue--and, symbolically, to find the courage to shape the future by following her art wherever it may lead. With astonishing originality, Lowry has again created a vivid and unforgettable setting for this thrilling story that raises profound questions about the mystery of art, the importance of memory, and the centrality of love. (Ages 10 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
After conjuring the pitfalls of a technologically advanced society in The Giver, Lowry looks toward a different type of future to create this dark, prophetic tale with a strong medieval flavor. Having suffered numerous unnamed disasters (aka, the Ruin), civilization has regressed to a primitive, technology-free state; an opening author's note describes a society in which "disorder, savagery, and self-interest" rule. Kira, a crippled young weaver, has been raised and taught her craft by her mother, after her father was allegedly killed by "beasts." When her mother dies, Kira fears that she will be cast out of the village. Instead, the society's Council of Guardians installs her as caretaker of the Singer's robe, a precious ceremonial garment depicting the history of the world and used at the annual Gathering. She moves to the Council Edifice, a gothic-style structure, one of the few to survive the Ruin. The edifice and other settings, such as the Fen-the village ghetto-and the small plot where Annabella (an elder weaver who mentors Kira after her mother's death) lives are especially well drawn, and the characterizations of Kira and the other artists who cohabit the stone residence are the novel's greatest strength. But the narrative hammers at the theme of the imprisoned artist. And readers may well predict where several important plot threads are headed (e.g., the role of Kira's Guardian, Jamison; her father's disappearance), while larger issues, such as the society's downfall, are left to readers' imaginations. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I absolutely could not put Gathering Blue down. It totally forced me to stay up way past my bedtime and then even after I was finished reading it, I still couldn’t sleep since I kept thinking about what had happened in the book. I was vaguely disturbed, but also excited to see where the next book would go (it took a lot of willpower to not immediately start reading Messenger!). It was a little weird to read since it’s the second book of the Giver Quartet and Jonas and Gabriel are not in this one. I highly recommend Gathering Blue. It is truly excellent.
There were some things that I did like about The Gathering Blue, but overall I thought the story was very slow, and it took a long time for things to happen, or events to unfold in this story v.s. The Giver.
I did like that this story took place I guess you would say in the same "world" as The Giver, but in a different community with its own set of unique rules.
For those of you wondering if you should read The Gathering Blue to continue the series my answer is still yes, while this book is harder to get through, I can see where certain characters will play an important role in the books to come. I have already started book three in the series , The Messenger, and some of the secondary characters from The Gathering Blue are now Main characters in The Messenger. I am not far in the book right now, but I can confirm that Jonas and Gabe both make an appearance.
Gathering Blue is not seemingly related to The Giver (or so we think); it takes place in the same universe, but a totally different type of community - almost an exact opposite of Jonas's community in The Giver. Kira's village is more primal; if you can't contribute and fend for yourself, you're useless. Kira, who suddenly finds herself parentless and alone in this hostile world, must find a way to prove herself to her community, despite being crippled. Her only friend in the world is a kind little boy, Matty, and his canine companion, Branch. Kira, with no parents to defend her place in the village, must face the judgement of the council. It is the council that decides Kira's fate - and to her surprise, they motion for her to remain in the society, and contribute the same way as her mother, through sewing and embroidery. It is through exercising her skills that Kira discovers her strange powers that she cannot explain, and uncovering dark secrets held by the village.
Alone the first book is the best. They never really tie together and give good answers for why all the different worlds exist and because of this when the last book ended it was like a deflated helium balloon. I was left with more questions than anything was answered and felt very disappointed.
He read Son by Lois Lowry to me prior to buying this. Son was a really great read and if you havent read it already, you HAVE to get that too! It is sort of the full story and this is, more or less, Lowry going back through the full story line and giving you more detail into some of the characters backgrounds and filling in some holes that were overlooked or sort of enrich the storyline of Son.
In my opinion, I would rather have read the surrounding pieces prior to hearing Son. It isnt like other writers whom write a story, see it take off only then to go back and write more books to "add to" the first book. I think this is just the writer's way of milking their moneymaker for more money. NO, NO, this is different! Gathering Blue, Messenger and The Giver were all parts of the main storyline I would rather have known before hearing Son...I hope that gives more of an explanation.
Son is probably the most unique, intriguing and horrifyingly honest story I have ever heard. In so many ways, this really could happen. It has alot of "Big Brother" and George Orwell's "1984" overtones that are creepy to hear and more disturbingly possible! It had me interested from cover to cover. This book however, as I stated before, is sort of an enrichment of Son. It just gives the backgrounds of characters in Son. I dont want to give too much away so I havent given too many details. I do want to say though, this was probably the most disturbing books of the series. It actually gave me nightmares.
Either way, Son is a great and intriguing read and these just keep the story going. I certainly wouldnt read it as a stand alone novel but with Son, I could either take it or leave it with this one.