September 12, 2014

Gathering Blue (The Giver companion) by Lois Lowry

"Take pride in your pain," her mother had always told her. "You are stronger than those who have none.”
-from Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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While Gathering Blue is a companion novel to Lois Lowry's The Giver, there is really no common thread between these two novels other than they are dystopian depictions of what our world could be like someday if we continue to value certain things to the extreme. Maybe throughout the entire series we finally find a greater commonality, but between these first two installments I found little. 

What this novel does give us is the story of Kira, an orphan in a community that puts the physically strongest members at the top and weeds out the weak. Kira is an anomaly in her world because she was born with an injured leg and somehow her mother was able to allow her to live instead of taking her out to The Field to die. But once Kira's mother passes from a disease, Kira finds adversaries who wish to cast her out into the wild where dangerous monsters lurk, the same monsters that murdered her father. Kira cannot offer laborious work, but she may have something else to offer the community if they would give her a chance. 

This story started out so slow for me and it might be simply because of its relation to The Giver. The Giver is such a huge story that set the bar for dystopian fiction, so I think I was expecting a story of the same caliber with Gathering Blue. I tried hard not to let the previous story affect my opinion of Gathering Blue, but it just fell a little flat for me in comparison. Eventually I did grow more attached to Kira, especially because of other characters who are introduced, especially Matt and his dog Branch. If you begin this story and find yourself a little detached, I recommend you persevere and read the entire story. 

There are some twists in this story, some of which I anticipated and some I did not. Even though I figured certain things would happen, I still enjoyed Lowry's execution of the story. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it enough to read the next book in this companion series, but by the end of the book I did not regret finishing. 

Bottom Line: Although I didn't like this one as much as The Giver, Lowry maintains her strong and creative writing with another dystopian world. I would have given this four-stars if it hadn't taken so long for me to become attached to it. If you loved The Giver but find yourself not into this book after a few chapters, I recommend persevering because it's a good story overall (and if you do hate it, at least it's short! ;]) 3.5/5 Stars.

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