The Giver Quartet: Books #2-4 by Lois Lowry

Book #2: Gathering Blue
3 Stars

It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.

As she did in The Giver, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira's plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.


It has taken me forever to read the rest of The Giver series. I love The Giver and have read it numerous times, but for whatever I never read the rest of the quartet. I think part of it was because when I read the synopsis of Gathering Blue, it didn't appear to be related at all to Jonas and Gabe, which was frankly all I cared about. While I love The Giver, I have always been left wanting by its ending. Nevertheless, after reading The Giver again with my seventh graders, I decided it was time to check out the rest of the series. 

When I first read Gathering Blue, I was completely confused about how it related to the story of The Giver at all. It wasn't until I read the other two sequels that Kira and her story began to make sense. Gathering Blue sets the stage for events that will happen and introduces us to characters who will be important in the subsequent sequels. It is very much a bridge novel, whose place in the grand scheme of this story cannot be fully seen until later on. So, if you pick it up expecting answers right away, don't be discouraged when you don't get them.

Nevertheless, the story is well written and even though I didn't quite get it at first, Kira's story was enjoyable and worth the read.


Book #3: Messenger
4 Stars

Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. His community once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close its borders to outsiders.

Now Matty must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest…


Messenger is my favorite of The Giver sequels. It offers readers the first glimpses into Jonas and Gabe's lives after leaving the Community. There are a few plot holes in this narrative that I had trouble with. There is a lot of talk of "gifts" in this book, but there doesn't seem to be any explanation as to why some people have them and others do not. Nor do they really explain why the people with gifts feel the need to keep them secret, or at least on the down-low. I wouldn't say this detail is essential to the story, but the narrative did seem lacking in some back story. There is also a lack of detail surrounding Trader, the evil influence that begins to change the villagers. Where did he come from? Where does his power come from? Why does the seemingly benign forest surrounding the Village all of a sudden become so treacherous?

Despite its plot flaws, I did enjoy this story. Matty, the main character who reminds me of my younger brothers, is adorably impish and I couldn't help but love him. I love his relationship with the Seer and his youthful yearning for his true purpose. His journey through the forest is full of adventure and suspense, and makes for a page turner. The ending is dramatic and sad, and I have to say not entirely expected. I liked Messenger better than Gathering Blue, but feel it lacked some of the polish of The Giver.  


Book #4: Son
3 Stars

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.


Son finally brings The Giver series full circle, and while the book started out with great potential, I was once again left wanting by the ending. Through Claire's story, we get to see the events of The Giver through new eyes, and her connection to Gabe, the focus of this last installment, was surprising and intriguing. Her journey added an element of drama to the narrative, and Lowry really had me through parts one and two of the novel. 

However, when I made it to part three, things started to lose steam for me. The evil that threatened the Village in Messenger is back, and now it's Gabe's turn to use his gift to eradicate it once and for all. Again, the build up to the final showdown was good, but the event itself was lackluster. It just didn't live up to the hype. And the ending just felt abrupt and left me wanting more.

In the end, I think the series is worth the read. It's not perfect, but the good things about this series outweigh the flaws. I enjoyed finding out what happened to Jonas and Gabe after their fateful sleigh ride at the end of The Giver, and I am pleased, though not entirely satisfied, by how their stories played out. It's kind of nice not having to wonder anymore... :)  

2016 Reading Challenge: YA bestseller

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