I’ve long loved The Giver, an award-winning book that speaks to adolescents everywhere about confusing new feelings, frustration with society’s imposed rules, and the darkness that often lurks behind the familiar and comfortable. But I was surprised to learn that Lowry wrote three lesser-known sequels. While separate books, I read them straight through like a single work.
Sadly, I felt some sequel drop. There was less of the illumination of The Giver; instead, the books grew increasingly allegorical. Whereas The Giver couched its critique in complex societal dynamics, its sequels escalate to the point where one character is the literal embodiment of evil. Much less interesting.
Lowry’s strength is in character and relationship development, not world building. In The Giver, this was handled by confining the action to one self-contained city. But its successors introduce other societies that coexist with the original, and the rules governing them just don’t make much sense.
To be fair, I’m much older than the target audience. Lowry is still an excellent storyteller. She writes great characters, and made me invested in their quests. The plots were well-paced. For me they don’t qualify as YA that can cross over into adult reading, but I am sure young readers would thoroughly enjoy the series, so Lowry has done her job.
The 214 in 2014 series chronicles every book I read in 2014. Each review contains exactly 214 words, because 2014 words is too long and 2014 characters is too dang short. And yes, this review is backlogged from 2014.
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