Series: The Giver #2
Published by Ember on 1/24/06
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Paperback Swap
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In her strongest work to date, Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.
Interest in Book
I read The Giver and just knew that I would be reading Lois Lowry’s companion novels, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. Again, I am amazed at the thought-provoking message in this middle grade dystopian.
Whereas The Giver was set in a future that was well-organized, technologically-advanced and fruitful, Gathering Blue is set in a future that has regressed to more primitive times. The Village is a cruel, harsh society, in both natural and human terms. Everyone has roles and duties, and as people age, a syllable is added to their name to reinforce status. If you are injured or disabled, such as our protagonist, Kira, you are deemed useless and sent off to the Field for the beasts to devour. The Council of Guardians presents The Gathering every year, where the Singer wears an ancient robe that retells man’s history via intricate woven patterns, and sings an ancient song that incorporates all of man’s history.
Kira was born disabled, a gnarled foot that prohibits her from walking without a cane. Village inhabitants wanted Kira to be disposed of at birth, but her mother fought for her survival. Kira’s mother began teaching Kira how to dye threads before she passes, as Kira shows promise in the art of weaving. Kira, now a teenager who has recently lost her mother to illness, faces the savage personalities of her village. Kira finds herself being ridiculed and ostracized by certain villagers who deem her useless. The Council of Guardians take up the case, and surprisingly, Kira is given a role in society and a nice place to live. She meets a young boy there, Thomas, who has a way with wood. These two discover secrets about their society that is very disheartening and downright horrible.
Kira was a pretty fantastic character, strong and steadfast despite her handicap. She long ago accepted herself as is and relishes in her weaving ability. Kira has always wondered about her ability, however, and soon discovers there is more to her weaving than meets the eye. As she slowly uncovers ugly secrets about her society, she remains level-headed and takes a very mature action at the end of the book.
MATT! I cannot state how much I loved this little rug rat. He’s younger than Kira and lives on the outskirts of the Village, called the Fen. These are the poorest of the poor, and Matt certainly appears to be of a lesser social status. His language is far less developed, he is always dirty and has no supervision. He provides great companionship for Kira, however, and assists her in times of need. He is so courageous and spunky. I love his heart. Kira, in turn, cares for him as though he were a sibling and shows great concern for his welfare throughout the book.
The abrupt ending disappointed me, however, I was proud of Kira for her selfless decision. I am very excited to read Messenger, as the protagonist is Matt!
“Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none”
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