Tag Archives: Giver

Book Review: Under the Never Sky (plus a mini rant about dystopian novels)

Book: Under the Never Sky

Author: Veronica Rossi

Recommend: Great dystopia! Getting a bit burned out on them though…

I love dystopian fiction. Love it. I’ve loved it since before we had a word for it. The Giver was one of favorite books as a kid. Need I say more? When I was kid though, stumbling across a book like this was a rare find. Now you can’t seem to pick up a YA book without it being about 1)vampires 2) werewolves or 3) futuristic dystopian societies. Occasionally they’ll throw something else in like zombies but mostly, these seem to be the big three. I’m getting sick of something I love. It’s sad. So very sad. Please write something else for teens. It’s time for some serious high fantasy or real science fiction. I love dystopias but for the love of all things book, please stop flooding the market with them!

When I picked this one up, the last thing I wanted to do was read another dystopia right after having finished The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (my review can be found here). I did it anyway because I’m trying to get the library books out of my house already. I have a stack that is definitely in danger of hitting the maximum limit of times they can be renewed (the lack of reading time due to my master’s and work is to blame). So I forged ahead, prepared to be annoyed but not let you know it if I could help it (unless the book was bad). I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t annoyed. I was completely engrossed and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Aria has lived in the pod Reverie all of her life. An existence only partially in the pod, most of her life spent in the Realms, a place that was better than real. One poor choice caused her to lose everything and be stuck in the Death Shop, their nickname for the outside world. A place where there was a thousand ways to die, each more horrific than the last.

I think the best thing about this book was that even the elements weren’t original, they came across as something new and fresh. Both Aria and Perry are complex expressive characters with unique voices that compliment each other well. I want to meet this author in person and shake her hand to thank her for NOT creating a love triangle. Finally!

My biggest issue with this book was the Realms. The idea wasn’t clear enough in the beginning to make enough sense. Once you do understand them, it still feels incomplete. The author really needed to spend some time on exactly what being in one was like. I get why she didn’t but I wish she had. I think the beginning of the book would have been a lot more engaging.

Really good read. Definitely worth picking up. In fact I just did for my nook 🙂

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: Son

Book: Son

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: If you’ve read the rest of the series. This one ties in more than the others.

The release of this book is actually what made me go through and read the whole series. Until I heard about this book, I had no idea that the author had continued the series. I picked this one up from the library along with the rest of the books in the series.

This story centers around Claire, Gabe’s Birthmother. Something goes wrong with Gabe’s birth and she is sent out to work after only being Vessel to one Product instead of the customary three that she was supposed to carry. She leaves her society when Jonas does and for a long time has no idea who she is. Once she remembers, she goes in search of her son. Is there any price too high to pay to get back to someone you love?

This book really does an excellent job of bringing the books together and tying a nice bow around it all. However, I can’t get past the fact that The Giver was in essence science fiction and every other book in this series has had a fantasy feel to it. They just don’t seem to belong together. Lowry’s lack of explanations for things which made the first book more powerful, actually hinders the rest of the quartet. Without explanation for what is happening the whole thing comes off magical instead of a product of time and genetics.

I’m glad I read the series and while The Giver will always be one of my favorites, the rest of the series just doesn’t measure up.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Messenger

Book: Messenger (Giver #3)

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: Definitely worth reading if you are a fan of this series.

I was all excited about this book. For extremely lame reasons as well as some good ones. My lame reason was that it was short and would get me one book closer to my 150 books for the year goal and my good reasons had to do with the fact that we were finally going to hear what happened to the half-starved boy at the end of the first book.

While this was a good read, it definitely did not have the feel of the first two books. The author is blurring the lines between speculative fiction and fantasy too far for the world to be completely cohesive. I think that without this sense of the same world really being there, the whole thing loses some integrity for me. Not that the book is bad on its own but as a sequel to the Giver, it just doesn’t completely hold up. I was rather surprised to find this kind of inconsistency from such a celebrated and well-known author.

Not to say that this book was bad because it wasn’t. It was actually very good. I just feel like it needed some more though and a lot less of a mystical feel to it. This time her lack of explanation hindered the story, rather than helped.

Final rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Gathering Blue

https://i0.wp.com/img2.imagesbn.com/images/171900000/171909174.JPGBook: Gathering Blue

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: Definitely! A powerful novel..

I read the first book in this series when I was a kid but didn’t know that the author had published more books in the series. Another dystopian novel from the same world as The Giver but instead of a society that has advanced, this area has regressed into a more simplistic lifestyle. Kira is a young girl who loses her mother and her future is uncertain due to her twisted leg. However, she is rescued from death because of her gifts with thread and dyes. She is taken in to live in the Council Edifice to continue her mother’s work. However, she doesn’t know that she is not as free as she seems to be.

This was a very powerful book about making a choice to stay or go. When society has gone wrong do you try to change something from the inside or do you leave and find something better? I loved the simple, yet powerful writing. I also love that the author knows that sometimes less is more. YA books have become these long dragged out stories where everything is explained and nothing is left to the imagination. I also love that this book is NOT centered on a romance. It is a nice change. Who knew that YA could be written without romance and still be amazing? It has been a long time since I read something YA without that element.

Definitely worth picking up!

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Filed under Children's book review, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review

Rereading a childhood favorite

https://i0.wp.com/img2.imagesbn.com/images/171900000/171909160.JPGBook: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: Definitely!

When I was kid, I read this right when it first came out. It was my first true exposure to the idea of dystopia (although the word had yet to be coined). The concept of the book horrified me. The idea o f a society where there was no color, everyone dressed the same and children were bred, not born out of love.The whole thing made me realize that the future maybe wasn’t as bright as I thought it might be. It was the first time I had considered a future where everything had grown worse instead of getting better and more advanced.

To this day, this book still is incredibly striking even though I’ve read countless dystopian novels since, nothing holds a candle to this one in my mind. After reading this again as an adult, I found something even more disturbing. When I was a kid I didn’t really understand the significance of the pills that the adults had to take. I didn’t grasp the concept of love not really being a part of their  world.The first time I read this book, The Giver himself felt like the horrible person. This time, The Giver was someone to be pitied and honestly I couldn’t stand the father and a society that could treat death so flippantly.

Some of the biggest differences between this book and the dystopian novels being written today is the lack of detail. the author doesn’t feel the need to explain everything completely. She doesn’t feel the need to make it probable, just horrifying that somehow it simply is. I can’t imagine an author today trying to come up with even a simply way to explain the lack of memory and color that this society is living without and even though you question it as  reader, it doesn’t trivialize the fact that it is. I think sometimes dystopian novelists spend too much time trying to explain their world and not enough time telling the story.

I love this book just as much as the last time I read it and feel like I have a better understanding of it now.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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