Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Bingo: Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry is the second book in The Giver Quartet. Kira is a young girl with a bad leg living in a futuristic but primitive society. After her mother dies, she catches the eye of the Guardians of her village, and she is chosen to be the new weaver for the Singing Robe. But things are not always what they seem, and Kira's threading abilities are called into question when she starts to discover new and suspicious activities happening around her.

(picture taken from Goodreads)

First Impression: Gathering Blue doesn't seem to have anything to do with The Giver, the first book in Lowry's quartet (the review of which you can find here). In many ways, Kira's village is the opposite of Jonas's community. However, Lowry still works her magic with her characters and their experiences. Kira's life may be completely different from Jonas's, but it is equally compelling. She feels the magic of the threads weaving into her work, and I wonder what story they will tell when she's finished. Is this a prequel to The Giver? Perhaps Kira's futuristic weaving will foretell Jonas's stark community. I understand the relevance of the title now, since Kira's mother could never find the source for blue dye. Perhaps a major plot point will be Kira finding a source of blue for her thread? I'm also curious to see if Kira ends up in some sort of romantic relationship. The most obvious choice for this would be Thomas the Carver, but I almost wonder if Jamison (a Guardian) would be an option? Sidenote: I love how the characters build onto their names with age. For example, Annabella used to be Ann, then Anna, then Annabelle as she aged. Now she is Annabella, and four syllables is as old as the characters can get, I believe. It's such a small detail, but it conveys a lot about each character as well as the village.

Conclusion: Lowry has a fantastic talent for describing civilizations that might exist in the future. Kira had such mental and emotional strength throughout her struggles. She knew she would do her best and make her way as she could. I'm glad that she did not cower to the scarred woman toward the beginning of the story as others did, even though she could not physically defend herself. And Matt was such a sweetheart! He was a little rascal, but he took care of Kira as she took care of him. He saw more than the other children (or tykes, as Kira calls them)--in his care of a wild, wounded dog; when he found out about Annabella; and in his actions toward the end. I loved that Kira took responsibility for her village, even as the people in it disappointed her expectations. The symbolism of blue and the threads not yet sewn was strong and yet subtle, and I liked its continuance in the novel to "tie" everything together--hahaha. Even though Lowry always seems to leave these stories somewhat open-ended, I actually enjoyed it this time. Rather than feeling sad not to know the ending or over-expectant of the next book, I felt an abundance of possibility and could imagine various endings (or continuances) for this great story. Of course, the series continues in two more books. Maybe they'll be more connected to their prequels than this one was to The Giver. As a sidenote, I'm curious to see if any of Lowry's ideas come to pass in the future. I would never live long enough to see them, of course. But now that I think about it, she never gives a specific idea of the time period in which her books take place. I think that's probably wise. It's another detail to expand the imaginative ideas of the reader.

Recommendation: This book is a good read for people who like strong characters and imaginative ideas of alternate societies that might develop in the future (also if you already know and admire Lowry's writing style). You do not have to read The Giver to understand anything in this book.

Gathering Blue is my sixth "Series" choice for the 2014 Book Bingo Challenge.

I'm thinking of adding a "Spoiler" button to my posts, where you could see my comments on the ending or climax of each book if you wanted. It would keep sensitive information hidden until you chose to reveal it after reading the book yourself or if you don't mind knowing. Would any of you be interested in this added feature? I try not to ruin anything for you in my reviews, but there are definitely some things that I have to avoid saying in order to do so! Please comment and let me know! And don't forget to subscribe and check back as I fill-in more of my Book Bingo card!

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