After I raved about The Giver to people smart enough to have read it years ago, I was thrilled when they told me it was actually the first in a loosely-connected trilogy that includes Gathering Blue and The Messenger.
Gathering Blue is the story of Kira, a lame (as in she was born with a bad leg) girl newly orphaned. As in The Giver, the reader discovers the world and community Kira lives in through her eyes. As an orphan, Kira may soon be kicked out of the village. The first few chapters treat the reader to a court hearing of sorts determining if and how she should stay. This world is quite different from the world of The Giver, and dare I say, it's not quite as interesting. Granted, it had a lot to live up to.
Ultimately, Gathering Blue, is good, but it's not great. The novel seemed to divide itself into three parts in my mind: the beginning, where the reader learns the setting; the middle, where the action is rather subdued; and the end, which is once again intriguing, if not riveting as The Giver was.
Perhaps it's not fair to compare Gathering Blue to The Giver. If I didn't know they were related, I wouldn't have spotted the connections between the two. (The connections apparently come in The Messenger, which features characters from both books). It's still an interesting read, and young science fiction fans will likely delight in it. Gathering Blue doesn't have the cross-genre appeal of The Giver, and it doesn't have a powerful enough narrative to intrigue readers of all ages, but upper elementary students would be the ideal audience for it.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)