How many of you know that Lois Lowry made not just one but TWO sequels for The Giver? The only people who’d really know about these books are Lowry fans. The only reason I heard about them was because one of my college English professors mentioned them when we did The Giver (FYI: the class was called Literature for Young People.) So the next two posts will be about these sequels starting with the first, Gathering Blue.
Kira is abandoned as a baby and has a busted up leg. Normally on her society that would be a death sentence. However, she has this magical gift that allows her weave extremely well, almost godlike. So she is assigned the task of fixing the village singer’s robe. During this time she slowly realizes that her village is much worse than it is.
As a sequel to The Giver it’s not really worth reading. That’s not to say it’s terrible or anything. The characters are all interesting and the writing is solid. The problem here lies in the world. It’s not as interesting as the one in The Giver. It’s not as wondrous are as dangerous.
Another thing is what is so scary about the society to begin with. *Spoilers* Here, Kira finds out that singer is a prisoner. In fact, everyone in this society who has some kind of major talent is a prisoner, even Kira. That’s a bit weak considering that in The Giver it’s more like 1984 but with everyone being blissfully ignorant about it. *End Spoilers*
Any review of this book has to talk about Kira. We have a character that has a handicap in a society where if you don’t work you die. What Lowry might be hinting here is that in this world the only people that matter are laborers. If you have some kind of creative talent like singing or drawing or something you are only useful when society wants you to use your talent for them. You must also use it for what society wants. Considering that Lowry is a writer she must have some experience with it.
Look at everyone you know who’s a writer or an artist and tell me how many of them are living the dream. Not that many, huh? Those who have jobs where their skills are used are usually not for creative means but to create something that they’re told. Sort of like a prisoner to society, right?
Gathering Blue is by far the weakest in the trilogy. It may be well written and the characters interesting, but the entire experience isn’t as interesting as with The Giver. The whole big reveal is also a disappointment. On top of that, it just seems like it is sequel bait for the third installment Messenger. I’m not a big fan.