I read The Giver for the first time a few weeks ago and I loved it, really loved it. I was very excited to find that there were three sequels. Sadly my library only has this one.
I'm not sure that Gathering Blue is actually a sequel to The Giver. It's thematically linked for sure- another young person battling a dystopian world of the future, but it's a completely separate story to The Giver. Different dystopia, different characters. Is that a sequel? Not for me.
Gathering Blue is the tale of Kira, a young girl, recently orphaned as we meet her. The first page describes in rather harrowing detail how Kira has just spent 4 days sitting by her dead mother in the "vast foul smelling Field of Leaving". It's a cracking start.
There was no reply. She hadn't expected one. Her mother had been dead now for four days, and Kira could tell that the last of the spirit was drifting away.
"Mother." She said it again, quietly, to whatever was leaving. She thought that she could feel its leave-taking, the way one could feel a small whisper of breeze at night.
Now she was all alone. Kira felt the aloneness, the uncertainty, and a great sadness.
On each of the following pages of the first chapter we learn further terrible happenings in Kira's life- she has lost much more than her mother, orphaned, homeless, she has a bad leg, and no food, and yet she has survived in her own way, and even managed to make her own mark on her village.
Kira's mother had a special role within the community even though she was quite poor- she had a talent with embroidery and knew the art of dye, and she was called upon to restore ceremonial garments for the village. But now Kira's mother is dead, she is quite alone, and must make her own way.
Perhaps it is unfair to judge this book as falling in the shadow of The Giver, but I think it does, and it lead to an inevitable disappointment for me. I was expecting a sequel, and it's not. I loved The Giver so much, and so I found this one a little lacking. Checking out reviews on Goodreads I see that I'm not alone. For me Gathering Blue didn't have the pace, excitement or tension of The Giver. Still some of the ideas and writing is great, and I'm definitely planning to read more Lois Lowry.