Gathering Blue: 2 (Giver Quartet) Hardcover – 25 September 2012
Audio CD, Import
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- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reissue edition (25 September 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 241 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0547995687
- ISBN-13 : 978-0547995687
- Reading age : 11 - 14 years
- Item Weight : 340 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 2.36 x 20.96 cm
Best Sellers Rank:
#865,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #6,133 in Children's Science Fiction (Books)
- #14,944 in Children's Family, Personal & Social Issues (Books)
- #22,667 in Children's Fantasy (Books)
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A crippled girl, Kira, lives in a strictly regulated village until she becomes orphaned when her mother dies and sent to “the Fields”, leaving her defenceless among hostile neighbours lacking any communal spirit, which is unusual in a community like this. We begin to find out the functional way of life among her people and how children or “tykes” are regarded - fenced in as they are like cattle while their mothers worked round the house and the men hunted or laboured away from the house. Kira, being “damaged” for her disability, and having lost her father to alleged wild beasts on a hunt just before she was born, should have been sent to the fields to die if her mother had not shown violent resistance. She picks up the weaving trade from her mother, and it is her magical talent that ultimately saves her from being banished and whisked of by the “Guardians” to live in the Council Edifice, a courtly building that is the only urban relic remaining from the past.
Kira’s task as a master weaver and repairer of the Singer’s robe, a ceremonial garment flaunted at the annual Gathering, contains images of the history of the villages, that accompanies the Singer’s epic song like a retelling of it. Her role is monumental because after the repair of the existing painted parts of the robe is done, she is to draw images on the empty portions to fill in the future. She soon finds out she is not the only “artist” on the block, and there is another boy, Thomas, who is kept in another room to work on the Singer’s staff, and together, with the aid of her little friend, Matt, a ghetto boy with his dog, they begin to discover nothing is as it seems and secrets behind the idyll of their newfound comfortable and purposeful lives.
It is remarkable that Lowry builds her story world with seeming ease, for example, in the way the number of syllables in someone’s name places him or her in a specific generation, so a teenager like Kira would have two syllables in her name, her friend, Matt, still a tyke only has a one-syllable name. Kira’s mentor and rescuer Jamison, holds a three-syllable name, while the old woman who teaches her how to colour her threads is called Annabella. It also suggests the evolving identities that are never stable. The locales, like the Fen, which is the village ghetto from where Matt lives, is also true to life in all its poverty and desolation. The sense of unease that pervades the novel, does not go away even when one finishes it, and perhaps that is the point Lowry makes, and what makes this story a hopeful dystopian tale, ironic as the description sounds.
Kira had made friends with an 8yrs old boy Matt, he was always kind to her and was allowed to visit, although taught to stitch by her mother she didn't know how to dye the thread and was sent to Annabelle in the forest, in the room under Thomas he could hear crying, after thinking about what they were doing they realised Thomas, Jo the girl crying downstairs and Kira had mysteriously lost their parents, they were all orphans, Kira wondered how her mother became sick, nobody else was ill
This one is in fact crueler than the society in The Giver. But more straightforward. So being ill or disabled means being left out in a field to die. However some children have gifts, similar to Jonas in The Giver, and those children are removed and looked after to exploit their gifts for the community. Girls and women are oppressed and not allowed an education.
There are some great characters in this, Kira, the main character is very interesting and engaging, and I adored Matt, the naughty little boy with the little dog, and there is a very cute little girl who sings.
Highly recommend this book.