I loved The Giver as a child, and was excited to learn recently that Lowry had written sequels. I didn't listen to Gathering Blue as it was described as more of a kids book than the other two, so I can't comment on that one.
The strength of this book is the tremendous beauty of the writing, which comes through wonderfully in the narration (this is one of the few times I wholeheartedly give a 5-star Performance review). Listening to this book was an absolute joy, and I highly recommend it.
That being said, the plotting of the book kind of falls through. I love the world that Lowry has created in The Giver series, and enjoyed the particular corner of the world described in this book. She sets up a conflict--some sort of ominous darkness invading the happy world of "Village" through the coming of a mysterious stranger and corrupting some of its formerly benevolent members--but she is unable to resolve it in a fulfilling way. I definitely had the feeling that she had worked herself into a corner and couldn't figure out where she wanted to go. It's a shame this wonderful series was ended that way, but it doesn't diminish Lowry's standing as a master storyteller, for children and adults.
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