The Giver Quartet continues with a new cast of characters
Gathering Blue, the second in the Giver quartet by Lois Lowry, follows the story of Kira, an orphaned girl. In a world where physical differences are shunned and the bearers cast out, Kira finds herself alone and vulnerable when her mother suddenly dies. As her only protector, Kira’s mother valiantly fought for the disabled girl’s right to exist in such a harsh community. Without her, Kira has become a target of certain villagers looking to claim the land where her home once sat, even if it means expelling her from the community. After being called into a hearing with the Council of Guardians to determine her fate, Kira is pleased to learn that her life will be spared due to her special talent. Under the watchful eyes of the Guardians, Kira undertakes the daunting task set before her by the Elders, and in doing so discovers things about herself and her community that she never would have imagined possible.
While this is the second book in the Giver quartet, I find if only fair to note that there aren’t any characters from the original novel in this book. Set in the same dystopian future Earth, Kira’s village is less advanced and the residents have life harsher. Where the Giver had an almost futuristic feel to it, through their advancements and gadgets, Gathering Blue has a very medieval feel, where all but the most privileged of residents reside in clay and thatch “cotts” with little to no food.
I ended up reading this as part of a Summer reading challenge with my 10-year-old and I honestly can say that I don’t think I ever would have read it otherwise. But now that I have read it, I want to read the remaining two books to see where this all goes. With both Gathering Blue and The Giver, Lois Lowry has created a fictional dystopia that has a hint of real life and modern prejudices and thoughts woven in. No, modern day America does not cast out the infirm, disabled or elderly; but we do have a way of treating them as less of a person unless they have something that we want or a knowledge that we can use. Gathering Blue brings that issue to the forefront in such a way that will cause the reader to think about Kira’s situation and hopefully be kinder to those around them.