Format: Hardcover/eBook (alternating)
Series: The Giver Quartet #2
Released: January, 2000
Length: 241 pp
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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.REVIEW
I remembered from long ago... back in the day (am I old enough to use "back in the day" now? Do I have a "day"?) picking up this book in the book store back home. I was probably around 12 or 13, and I was excited that there was a (supposed) sequel to my favorite book at the time! I also remember being pretty disappointed. The thing I didn't remember was why.
I went into this one after re-reading The Giver, which is still one of my favorite books of all time, a bit apprehensive because I knew from some vague experience that I didn't love this one. Not to mention the the ratings for this one were quite a bit lower than they were for Giver. The first few chapter dragged, though I think that was all in my head. I had been psyching myself out so I'd totally given myself bad juju where this book was concerned.
Eventually I forced myself to dive in and actually found myself enjoying the novel. I finished the more than half that was left in one sitting. The book gave me a similar feeling to when I read The Giver, in the sense that I was interested in what was happening, I was intrigued by this new world Lowry had created and I cared about Kira, the main character, and her little companion Matt.
Then... (cue dreadful sound drum sound) I got to the ending. And I was like... what? I kinda sorta didn't exactly remember the twist that was coming, but I kinda sorta did, so I wasn't necessarily surprised by it, but I was surprised by the way it was handled. Basically: WTF?
Kira, the main character, was pretty passive and naive on some important things in the novel, but she was strong and resilient, enough that I didn't mind it. I took her passiveness as a trait she'd grown up with and wasn't something that would be easily changed.
So anyway, when we get to a mostly predictable but still pretty great plot twist - Lowry does nothing with it!! It was like the inconclusive ending to top all other inconclusive endings. I know what you're thinking - why am I so mad when Giver had a hell of an inconclusive ending? NO. Giver was totally different and you know it! (This is where I stomp my feet and call you a poopie head. This book put me in full on tantrum mode). In The Giver, Jonas did something, something was happening, we just didn't know what he fate was after he did.
Kira, in Gathering Blue, was given this news, a sort of solution to the problem that had been building for most of the book, and instead of doing what I expected her to do (which still would've been pretty lame and the easy way out, though she would have at least been doing something), she did nothing. I guess she technically does something but it is literally in no way shape or form explained. We can make some sort of assumption, but it's not even like with Jonas in Giver where the conclusions are nearly drawn for you and you just have to pick which one to believe. No. We just seriously don't know what the point of Kira's decisions are because it isn't explained well.
Damnit. I sound like I really hated this book, don't I? I didn't, but I really hated the ending. The only saving grace is that there are two more book in the series. Thank God I'm reading them now when they're already published. These books were released years and years apart. Imagine the immense frustration after reading this one if I had to wait five years for the next book to come out!?
Either way, the writing was simple but wonderful as always and Kira was a character I ended up caring about. I loved Matt, the main character's young friend, especially, and the world-building, while not terribly in-depth, was sufficient - until the ending! Grrrrr. Okay. I'm done now.
RATING: ★★★ 1/2 - Liked it
Despite the crazy rant I just went on, I actually liked this book. Lois Lowry has a beautiful writing style and she builds unique worlds that I feel like I just need to know more about. She just has this special talent for using her fictional worlds to help others understand our real one.
Though the ending was the complete and total opposite of what I deem to be satisfying and acceptable, it was a good addition to the Quartet and definitely made me think about what I value in life and whether I'm placing importance on the right things.
Have you read Gathering Blue? It definitely doesn't hold a candle to The Giver which is one of my favorite books of all time, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and look forward to continuing the series. Did you enjoy it? Who can resist Matt? I mean come on!
Tell me what you thought!