On The Cover: In her strongest work to date, Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. 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.
Why I Chose It: After checking out The Giver this summer I wanted to continue with the series.
Other Books In This Series:
Right away the setting in this book intrigued me because the closer you look at it, the more grim it seems. This is a world that banishes the sick and the weak, that treats their children like little more than animals, and does not value human life above all else. It is dirty and rough and yet that’s exactly why I like it. Unlike other books that are presented as Utopian and the dark parts slowly leak through, this book is presented as dark right away. I love that the narrative says: this is how the world is; now this is how we survive.
Kira herself was a character that really grew on me. She has a quiet strength about her, and although she is not a fighter, she is a survivor and I love that about her. I found her to be a very solid character. She never gives up, and she is constantly moving forward, and I love that she is able to learn and adapt as her situation changes. She is a quiet but very elegant character, and by the end I really liked her.
The descriptions in this book are very compelling. Kira is an embroiderer, and her friend Thomas is a woodcarver. Lowry was really able to capture the feel of the different crafts in a way that truly made the art grow out of the pages of the book. I love that I was able to visualize and appreciate the beauty of the different art pieces that Lowry described, and learn more about the characters through their crafts.
The interesting thing about this book is that it does not present itself as a sequel to The Giver. While I can see a lot of similarities between the worlds and definitely between the characters, this is a different setting with different people. Yet I really enjoy how these two stories fit into the same puzzle, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series, and to learn more of these worlds.
Rating: 4 / 5
“Rumor said that the Singer, whose only job in the village was the annual presentation of the Song, prepared his voice by resting for days and sipping certain oils. The Ruin Song was lengthy and exhausting. It began with the beginning of time, telling the entire story of the people over countless centuries. It was frightening too. The story of the past was filled with warfare and disasters. Most especially it was frightening when it recalled the Ruin, the end of the civilization of the ancestors. Versus told of smoky, poisonous fumes, of great fractures in the earth itself, of the way huge buildings toppled and were swept away by the seas.” (OverDrive, 2000)
“He was tall, with longish dark hair neatly combed and clasped at the back of his neck with a carved wooden ornament that she recognized as the work of the young woodcarver. […] Ordinary people did not ornament themselves. Kira’s mother had worn a pendant hanging from a thong around her neck but she kept it hidden, always, inside the neck of her dress.” (OverDrive, 2000)