Until I got wind of the upcoming movie, I was only vaguely aware of The Giver. Then once I finished the book and discovered it was part of a larger story arc, I decided to plunge through and then discuss the whole and the parts in the same post. To avoid spoilers, I'll be brief in the plot summaries.
35. The Giver - Jonas is a young man growing up in Community, a well ordered society with a place for everything and everything in its place. At the annual coming of age ceremony, Jonas learns that he has a very special gift and role in this society. In the course of his training he sees the darker side of Community and has some important decisions to make.
36. Gathering Blue - This segment reminded me of one of those one-off episodes of LOST that had folks scratching their heads (more than usual) until a later episode revealed the direction of the story. It takes place in a very different community, with more blatant brutality and less cooperation among inhabitants. Young Kira is doubly disadvantaged as an orphan with a handicap, and she faces a bleak future until her own special gift manifests itself. Like Jonas, her new place in the society gives her a new perspective, and she has decisions to make. I think this was my favorite of the series, because both the story and the main character are the most down-to-earth of the four.
37. Messenger - In this segment we see some returning characters and also meet several new characters. Village is a society comprised of refugees and outcasts from other parts of the region. For many years it has served as a haven, but a malevolent force begins to warp the citizens and take away their willingness to welcome new arrivals. I was a little dissatisfied with ending of this one.
43. Son - Various issues prevented my plowing straight through to the end, but the author provided pertinent details from the previous books to bring the reader up to speed if necessary. (Unfortunately, she also provided recaps of earlier plot points within the SAME book, which I found to be annoying and unnecessary.) In this final act we meet Claire, a young woman whose son has been stolen from her, and the story revolves around her quest to find him. Her journey takes her to a remote fishing village before moving on to the (somewhat contrived) conclusion.
Though the ending soured me a little on the series as a whole, I enjoyed much of the story. I cared about the characters and wanted to know what happened to them, and I could easily imagine the different settings from the author's descriptions. Less clear to me is how four such disparate municipalities (and presumably many more that are not described) could coexist in the same region. In any event, I'll be curious to see the movie and whether they pursue the entire franchise or stop at one.
Okay now I have almost caught up my posting with my reading, so I will be back soon.