- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Series: Giver Quartet (Book 2)
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780547904146
- ISBN-13: 978-0547904146
- ASIN: 0547904142
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,465 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gathering Blue (Giver Quartet) Paperback – March 5, 2013
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"Lowry is a master at creating worlds, both real and imagined, and this incarnation of our civilization some time in the future is one of her strongest creations." —Booklist, starred review (6/1/00) Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
About the Author
Lois Lowry is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Her first novel, A Summer to Die, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry lives in Maine.
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While this is the second book in the Giver quartet, I find if only fair to note that there aren’t any characters from the original novel in this book. Set in the same dystopian future Earth, Kira’s village is less advanced and the residents have life harsher. Where the Giver had an almost futuristic feel to it, through their advancements and gadgets, Gathering Blue has a very medieval feel, where all but the most privileged of residents reside in clay and thatch “cotts” with little to no food.
I ended up reading this as part of a Summer reading challenge with my 10-year-old and I honestly can say that I don’t think I ever would have read it otherwise. But now that I have read it, I want to read the remaining two books to see where this all goes. With both Gathering Blue and The Giver, Lois Lowry has created a fictional dystopia that has a hint of real life and modern prejudices and thoughts woven in. No, modern day America does not cast out the infirm, disabled or elderly; but we do have a way of treating them as less of a person unless they have something that we want or a knowledge that we can use. Gathering Blue brings that issue to the forefront in such a way that will cause the reader to think about Kira’s situation and hopefully be kinder to those around them.
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.
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.
In "The Giver," I could see, hear, and imagine the characters. In this book, I could not. I have no idea what Kari looks like, besides her crippled leg. Almost none of the characters have names, beyond being called the butcher, the weavers, the tykes, the people who live there in this unspecified community where everyone is cruel.
We see no descriptions whatsoever of Kari's supposedly magical threading. We just get endless lessons on plant dyes. There is some description of Thomas's carving, and a little bit of Jo's singing. However, there is not enough explanation to be compelling and make you wonder why these particular children are so magical, and craved and imprisoned by the evil portions of the elite community.
I thought I paid too much for this ultimately unsatisfying book. I really want to see more about Jonas, whose gift was more fully and joyfully described. I will look for subsequent books at my library, and buy them if they prove to be better than this last one.