Wednesday, January 7, 2015

'Gathering Blue' by Lois Lowry

Official Summary:

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.

As she did in 'The Giver', Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.


Many, many years ago, way back in 1994, I picked 'The Giver' from a teacher's extra credit/recommended reading list* and it turned out to be one of those books that you never really shake off. It is hands-down the mother of all the great young adult dystopian stories. With that in mind, imagine my surprise when these two things happened over the course of the last year:

  1. A movie was made out of 'The Giver.' Granted. It's a movie I still haven't watched, and for fear of having my memory of one of the foundation novels of my childhood marred, I probably won't.  
  2. All of a sudden I became aware of a number of follow up novels that Lois Lawry wrote and released between '00 and '12 that take place in the same universe. 'The Giver', it turned out, was just book one in a four book series. Hallelujah! 
So off I went and before giving it a second thought, 'Gathering Blue' was sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be cracked open. After reading it my first thought was that 'The Giver' is better. Not only does it stand well on its own, but the story of Jonas is told in a succinct form that gives the story a power most novellas don't possess. 'Gathering Blue' with it's story of Kira and her weaving just didn't hit the same notes and it had more obvious call outs to being part of a series.

Bottom Line: Don't misunderstand the statements above, 'Gathering Blue' might not best the earlier installment, but it's still a damned good book. If you haven't picked up 'The Giver' start there and finish this series - if you have, but you didn't know it kept going, it's time to see what happened in Lowry's strange future world where magic exists in small doses and people have forgotten their roots.

* Yeah - I was that kid. In fact, I read every extra credit or recommended title regardless of passing in a report for it. It's a sickness I tell you, a wonderful, glorious, book devouring sickness that only other people who can't help but read anything and everything that someone recommends to you will understand. As an adult its culminated itself as my out of control to-be-read pile and the constant inability to find anything new on the top ten lists of Amazon that even remotely interests me anymore.

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