Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Series Review - The Giver Quartet

Title: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son.
Publisher: Ember, Ember, Delacorte Press, HMH books for Young Readers.
Year of Publication: 1993, 2000, 2004, 2012.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 179, 240, 169, 393.
Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Apocalypse, Dystopia.
    Blurb: Here, Here, Here & Here.

My Thoughts:
This might end up being one of those long ass posts. I will try to keep it short and sweet. I will try not to give out any spoilers

So earlier this year, I came across this article in BuzzFeed about books to read before they hit the theaters. I love book recommendations of all kinds. Why else do I spend hours in front of goodreads, obsessively checking the book shelves of others like some sort of a stalker!

Okay, getting back to the books. The blurb sounded interesting and moreover the old man on the cover of the first book, The Giver somehow reminded me of an apprehensive Dumbledore and Lord knows how much I miss the reading HP for the first time feeling. The Giver Quartet is a magnificent series. 4 short reads. The magic they hold is beyond words.

The Giver: A time in future. A utopian community. Everything is in perfect order. There is no violence. No diseases. No crime. Everybody has been assigned jobs. People are assigned dwellings to live, assigned spouses, assigned children. Yes, daddy and mommy don't make babies, they are simply assigned by the community. Love is meaningless. The members of The Community decides everything. By now the readers would know that choice is not something the people have. There is control over everything. No variation in weather. No colors. No nature. They call it Sameness. The residents take pills to control their yearnings and feelings. The people are happy. They don't feel controlled since they don't know what they are missing. At the age of 12, children are assigned jobs which they would be doing for the rest of their lives. Some are assigned to be law makers, some nurtures and some birthmothers. Our protagonist, Jonas is not assigned. He is selected to become the next Receiver of Memories of the old world from the current Receiver. Life suddenly changes big time for young Jonas. The current Receiver, now has become The Giver. He imparts memories to Jonas. Jonas experiences a range of emotions: immense pleasure at witnessing snow for the first time and also endures pain as he receives memories of a world where there was war, hunger, deaths. After receiving a considerable amount of memories, Jonas realizes to his horror that his utopian community is not exactly what he thought it was. Jonas decides that things has to change and does something, he wouldn't have dared to before he was selected. The relationship between Jonas and The Giver is endearing. The book ends with a sense of hope.

Gathering Blue: I thought Book 2 would pick up from where Book 1 ended. I was in for a surprise. It says nothing about Jonas. We are introduced to another community. Unlike the pristine community in Book 1, here there is violence, theft, epidemic and people live like savages. The protagonist is a young girl, Kira a recent orphan and a cripple. People in her village want her dead so that they can take over her house. She is saved by the Council. See, Kira is no ordinary girl. She has a gift. She is an artist and she is needed by the Council. Soon, she becomes friends with another artist, Thomas. Kira along with Thomas and a young boy Matt unravel some mysteries happening in the Council. The twists and turns in the story was kinda predictable but it was still a very enjoyable read.  I loved Kira. She has a twisted leg and instead of wallowing in self pity, she is portrayed as a strong, determined young girl. Eager to learn new things. An insightful, mature for her age young lady. Another character was Matt, a lovable 'tyke' who survives by stealing and by deceit. Kira sees the good in him and takes him under her wing. Again the book, ends with a sense of hope. I could feel that the author was laying the ground work for bringing the characters of Book 1 and 2 together.

Messenger: I think out of the 4 books, this was a wee bit scary. Book 3 takes us to The Village. A peaceful village which welcomes strangers who has escaped from other unfavorable communities. Matt lives here with a blind man now. I am not going to elaborate. Some of the inhabitants are handicapped or flawed in some other way but there is always love and respect towards each other. Help was always found for the needy. However, things are changing. A slight difference in the forest nearby and it catches Matt's attention. The once lovable people are changing. They want to close down the Village, so that they don't have to take care of new survivors of other communities. People are turning selfish. Matt is assigned a job which he has to complete before the forest turns hostile. Matt is a gifted boy and the blind man as well as the Leader knows it. Will he complete his last task before it's too late ? I cannot start to tell you how much I loved Matt in this book. Like I said characters overlap in this Book 3. This book scared me, it made me happy and it made me really really sad at the end. In Book 1 and 2 the bad guys were very much human while in Book 3 the evil takes another form which is not made clear. As far as the main characters were concerned, this book tied almost all the loose ends. 

Son: I wondered what Book 4 would be about because I kept thinking everything is good. Well it is not. There is a character which I did not mention in Book 1. If  I did, I would be giving out a portion of a spoiler. God, writing review for series without giving out spoilers is a very difficult job. So I am just going to go ahead with this sorry case of a review which would most likely frustrate you.  :P Son begins with the community which the author introduced in The Giver (Book1). Yeap, the author does a full circle. We go back to the first community. This is the story of Claire. She is assigned the job of Birthmother. So all she has to do is live in a quarters which houses birthmothers, take care of herself and when the time is right, she will be inseminated and will officially become a birthmother. However, things go wrong and she is discredited from her job and reassigned to a new job. Being reassigned is a cause of shame in the community. Soon Claire starts feeling things which is new to her. Unlike the rest of the population, birthmothers do not take any pills mentioned in Book 1. So her feelings and yearnings are not suppressed. What she is feeling is her yearning for her baby. Son is the journey of a mother in search of her missing son. Her journey takes her to the village in Book 3. See, all the books are connected even though the protagonists are different in each. This was the most heart wrenching book in this series.

The books are magical. I wonder why these are not that famous. I felt that they are as good as Harry Potter, though they are really really short reads. Initially I thought they are more of Sci Fi genre, but they have a huge dollop of fantasy topped over the plots. I devoured all the 4 books. I loved all the characters. There are a lot of unanswered questions but I was just so deliriously happy reading them that I agreed to just about everything the author had to tell me. Even though the Giver Series are shelved under Middle School, it is enjoyable to all ages.  It does give out a powerful message. Love, Honesty, Courage sees you through. An emotional rollercoaster. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Read them already!!

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Rating Policy

P.S: If you read this whole post, you are amazing!


  1. Your summary of The Giver's premise sounds so good that I stopped myself from reading the rest for fear it might spoil how the first turned out. I've always seen this one on lists etc, but just never got around to it for one of those reasons that are to do with lack of time and laziness. But this sounds awesome! Maybe I'll finally move my bum and get my hands on it.

    1. I know what you mean, even I sometimes don't read reviews fearing I will know more than I want to.
      I tried not to include any spoilers though.
      But do read them. :)

  2. Hello. Came across your blog just now. Okay the blog design is so awesome, happy dapyyyy! Well I haven't read the entire post coz my head is paining and I wanted to know follow some awesome blogs and I will read the entire post later from my cell. Bdw I love books too! Recently I got done reading this local author and I am thinking to review it. Now I am thinking to read more of Sidney Sheldon. I just love this author! I have added your blog to my reading list. :) I need to stalk your blog soon! ;)

    Here is the url of my blog. in case you get bored and feel like visiting it! :D

    1. Haha! Welcome to my blog. I hope you like it here. Yes, I love Sidney Sheldon too :)
      I will definitely check out your blog :)

  3. Anisha, I'm glad you liked The Giver Quartet. I've only read The Giver and I have been meaning to read the rest of the series. Recently I met Lois Lowry in Wisconsin Book Festival. Not many authors visit Madison, and that was a pleasant surprise. She gave an amazing speech at the book festival and yay!! I was able to get my copy of Giver signed. :) Wonderful review, dear!!

    1. Oh My God, Ini!! You met The Lois Lowry?! Wow. Lucky you, to get a signed copy. sigh! I'm jealous :D
      I'm pretty sure you will love the rest of the series :)


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