Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
They were artists, the three of them. Makers of song, of wood, of threaded patterns. Because they were artists, they had some value she could not comprehend. Because of that value, the three of them were here.
When Kira’s mother dies, she is rescued from a certain death due to her incredible weaving skills and brought from the small cluster of cotts where she lived before to the large gathering hall where she is provided for in exchange for her services. As Kira and her friend Thomas, a carver, learn more about the village and their surroundings, they begin to question their purpose and a number of strange coincidences from their past.
In this book, the author once again builds another world, with its own rules, rituals, and history. The setting is a small village, and I once again appreciated the small details and quirks of their society (such as giving each person a name upon which syllables were added based on their age — tykes were one syllable, teens two, adults three, and the elderly were four).
However, this book is supposed to be the companion/sequel to The Giver, and going into it with that expectation only brought me disappointment. This book is NOT about The Giver, nor is it about Jonas or the society that he left behind. The reader does not learn any more details about what happened to that world after Jonas left, or what happened to him and Gabriel. This one, instead, plays out as a parallel story in what could be the same world (even that is unclear), but an entirely different place and different society. Like Jonas’ society, there is corruption, but that’s about it for similarities.
As a story on its own, it was merely okay. The narrator spent way too much time reviewing parts of her personal history that would then be coincidentally brought up by someone else a few pages later, making the story seem repetitive and slow. There were many loose ends that simply didn’t get tied up, which felt frustrating, especially after there were still so many at the end of The Giver.
Apparently, though, the third book works the two storylines together, so I may have to read that and see if I’m still as frustrated with the series.
Overall: The flip side to The Giver, but don’t go into it looking for answers — only more questions are raised.