Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So this was the first "companion to The Giver"...
The world here, while apparently the same as in the first book, is absolutely different. I've been wondering if, maybe, after the Ruin, the ancestors of Jonas' Community settled with their technological advances and dreams of a better world - and kicked out all the a**holes and sociopaths in the process. Those outcasts, then, must have founded the village where Kira lives. Here, people are noisy, dirty, and very egoistic. Anybody who is of no use is condemned to death, children are treated like the greatest nuisance in the world, and everybody is very aggressive on principle.
While this was made very clear by the author, the village itself wasn't well described. There's the Council Edifice, which must have been a church before the Ruin, although the description of the inside doesn't sound like a church, except for the Worship Object (a cross). Other than that, there's not much to go on, and apparently even Kira, who grew up there, doesn't know many of the other villagers, or anything about the politics.
It was difficult to find a way into this world as the reader, thanks to spiritless writing (is my guess). And some things were just weird, e.g. Kira meeting Jamison after her trial inside the Council Edifice and being taken to her new quarters - as far as I know by walking down a long corridor, or at least by staying inside the building. Nevertheless, she later has to ask if it is possible to get from the big hall to her quarters. How come she didn't know about that? And, can someone draw me a picture of chairs in front of the stage, facing the audience, from which you can watch the proceedings on the stage? I assumed that maybe the moment when they were turned, or when the children were re-seated was missing, but at some point in the performance, it's again mentioned that they are facing the audience while watching the stage. I don't get it.
Kira seemed a nice enough girl, but the characters lacked so much depth it was impossible to actually related to them or care for them. Jonas, in The Giver, now he had enough time to learn and grow, and it was well enough described for the reader to learn with him. Kira, in Gathering Blue, on the other hand, was at least in the same place, getting to know everything, for a few months, but... what did actually happen there? It feels like there wasn't really a story, no development, just words that I quickly read in two days, with maybe an interesting idea what the human future could look like, after the Ruin, but without any connection, any suspense, anything to spike my interest. It was nice to hear that probably Jonas is still alive somewhere, but other than that I was disappointed.
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