Second edition cover
|Series||The Giver Quartet|
|Genre||Social science fiction|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.L9673 Gat 2000|
|Preceded by||The Giver|
Gathering Blue is a 2000 children's, social science fiction novel by children's author Lois Lowry. The book is a companion novel to The Giver (1993) and Messenger (2004), and is followed by Son (2012) in The Giver Quartet. It is set in the same future time period, and it treats some of the same themes.
The central character, Kira, who has a deformed leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society that normally leaves the weak or disabled exposed to die in the fields. In Gathering Blue, Kira needs a reason for the Council of Edifice to keep her in the village and not take her to the Field (which is certain death at the hands of The Beasts). Kira has a gift for embroidery, and the Council keeps her around to mend and update a beautiful robe that shows the history of their society. In the course of the book, she begins to learn the art of dyeing thread different colors, except for blue, which nobody in her community knows how to make. She also learns more about the truth of her village and the terrible secrets they hold.
Kira is a girl with a twisted leg who lives in a more primitive society where people who cannot work are cast aside and left to die and be devoured by beasts at a field. Her only friend is a boy named Matt, a one syllable (young) boy. She has been kept alive by her mother, and, when her mother dies, she is brought before the Council of Guardians by Vandara, one of the women who seeks to take her land. Kira's life is spared when she proves she can embroider very well, and she is assigned to the task of fixing up the robe worn by the Singer whose only job is the presentation of the Song, the story of human civilization, once a year. She meets Thomas, the boy whose duty is to carve the Singer's staff; and, when finding out she needs to dye her own thread, begins making a trip to the hut of Annabella, an old woman who teaches Kira dyeing. Annabella shows her the plants needed to make every color, except for blue. Annabella tells Kira that blue can be found "yonder" but that they don't have it here.
Kira slowly learns that her life is less than idyllic. Thomas hears crying in her building, and she and Thomas discover another orphan girl, Jo, whose ability is to sing and will eventually replace the current Singer. Jo is scolded and punished if she does not sing; Kira befriends her but realize that she, Thomas, and Jo do not have as much freedom as they previously thought. At the Ceremony, she sees the Singer (whose robe she has repaired). She realizes that his feet are chained, and he is essentially a prisoner. The implication is that she and the others with Gifts are also prisoners. Kira decides to find out the truth about her society.
When the day that the Singer sings the Song comes, Matt is nowhere to be found. He eventually returns with a blind man from the village in a blue shirt. The man, it turns out, is the father who Kira thought was dead: Christopher. He now lives in a community made up of injured and disabled people who help one another. He has enemies on the Council and is forced to return, while Kira decides to stay in the village to continue to embroider the Singer's robe and help improve the society she lives in. Eventually, during the end of the book Matt tells Kira about a boy with blue eyes from the community Christopher is from. He says he has blue eyes and is not injured in any way, and that Matt thinks Kira should leave with him, but Kira declines to go with them to the new village.
- Kira – a girl who was born with a deformed leg, has a gift in weaving, after her mother's death was put in Council Edifice.
- Vandara – an evil enemy of Kira's; she requests that Kira be sent to the field to die.
- Annabella – an elderly woman who teaches Kira about dyes, later dies.
- Thomas – Kira's friend, a young man gifted in wood carving.
- Jo – a little girl who has a gift in singing and becomes one of Kira's friends when she says she will help her.
- Matt – a young boy who helps Kira, Thomas, and (later) Christopher - He reappears as the protagonist in Messenger (2004).
- Jamison – an older man, sponsor and mentor from the Council of Guardians; later found to be the man who attempted to kill Christopher.
- Christopher – Kira's father who was thought to have been taken by beasts before she was born who is later found alive but blind and in hiding .
- Katrina – Kira's mother who died of an illness.
- Branch – Matt's dog that helps Matt explore and is always a great companion.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 8, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 15, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 29, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. November 5, 2000.