Title: Gathering Blue
Author: Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver, #2
Published: September 25, 2000
Genres: Fiction > Young Adult > Science Fiction > Dystopian
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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“Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none.”
An important thing to note before you read this book is that it doesn’t follow Jonas as The Giver did. However, it is similar to The Giver in that it takes place in the future — although the two are opposites because where Jonas’s world is a utopian society, Kira’s is dystopian.
Kira is a girl with a twisted leg (I wished this had been explained a bit more) and so she is an outcast in her society because she can’t do physical labor. However, she is extremely talented with threading and so, after her mother dies at the very beginning of the story, she is given one of the most esteemed positions in her society — she makes repairs on the treasured Singer’s Robe. She is given a comfortable life and has more food and freedom than ever before. She meets another artist Thomas and together, they come to realize that they might not have as much freedom as they originally thought.
Gathering Blue really can’t compare to how much I loved The Giver but I did still enjoy it. Lowry used the same general premise that she used in The Giver — a futuristic society that is run on secrets and lies in order to keep their citizens in the dark. Because of this, I was able to see some obvious plot devices that she used to achieve this (the elusive beasts, the orphaned artists, the wise old mentor). Nevertheless, it was different enough that I was able to enjoy it for the story that it was.
I really enjoyed the aspect of the story that celebrates artists, as well as Lowry’s overall message — not all talents and strengths look the same.
That being said, if I read this story on its own, without its connection to The Giver, I’m not sure I would have given it four stars. I didn’t connect as well with Kira as I did with Jonas, and her society just wasn’t quite as eerie as Jonas’s.