**spoiler alert** This technically would have 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't provide half stars - so three it is.
This book brings up an interesting...more**spoiler alert** This technically would have 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't provide half stars - so three it is.
This book brings up an interesting and confusing moral dilemma - does violence breed violence? When faced with individuals whose way of life interferes or differs with yours (the Emberites, who know nothing of the world above the surface, needing food and shelter provided by the Sparkites), animosity starts on both sides (Emberites not getting enough food, the Sparkites having to give up their food), and an attack leads to a counterattack, what is to be done? Could this have been prevented? What is the answer to violence, or the precursor thereof? Maddy believes it is kindness, putting aside the hate - as hard as it may be - to reach an understanding or common ground (she says it's easier to be bad than good), but does this (always) work? Does this tactic change from dealing with smashed vegetables to bombs? It's tricky ground, and the book certainly make you think about all of this - and relate it back to real life. For being YA, this book deals with such a heavy topic with grace and does not force the "right" answer upon the reader, but allows him or her to gather the information, see that there is no black and white, and decide what THEY would do, given the circumstances.
An example of the not-black-and-white would be Doon's common inner monologue. He feels that because the Sparkites "started" it and hurt the Emberites, they should also be hurt in return, but should they, really? And does not wanting to fight make Doon a coward, when he really doesn't feel that he is? This just drives home the point that Lina and Doon are still very much, obviously, children. How would they know to make the right decisions for huge situations like this - can they, even?
The book also shows the power of a strong voice (Tick) has to a group of scared and angry people. It can be for good, or for bad - it depends on the message. Mary, one of the town leaders, even said: "The actions of a few troubled individuals fanned resentments into violence. Only an accident kept us from murdering each other."
And yet Doon reaches out to Tick, seeing a strong individual who posses great possibility and courage - something Doon no doubt wants to feel and be himself, but has not yet found the courage and inner strength. And isn't this how many children feel? Trying to find that one person to learn from, and then finding out that person wasn't so great to begin with. I hope that Doon finds his own way, because given the circumstances, he would have made an amazing scientist or engineer.
Another thing that stuck out to me was the town's reaction when the roamer's came through. Bringing "special" things such as soap, the town went mad, bidding much of their crops and other food to acquire such lovely wares. But for things like jewelry, in a place where work and life and the possibility of death takes precedence over such frivolity as jewelry, there is no value. One man even trades for some jewelry to give to his wife, but if she doesn't want it, he will use it to "pretty up" his oxen!
I also liked how what Maddy tells Lina while they and Caspar are going to the city, about the start of war and how to end it, reflects to what Doon and the rest of the Emberites are going through in Sparks. I found it to be a nice little mirror-effect.
The thing that will always stay with me is the Emberites reactions upon coming up from below, to a world so beautiful and bright compared to their underground hovel. I like to imagine how I would feel, seeing a blue sky instead of black, to feel the wind on my skin for the first time, and I realize I would weep just like many of the Emberites, to be in such a beautiful place. But this place of beauty has a harsh side, of course. The heat can kill and turn prospering crops to shriveling dust, the sun can burn. When Lina see's the special things Caspar brought back from roaming for Torren, Lina imagines how the world must have been THEN, as beautiful as it was now, or terrible because of the Disaster that occurred. It makes one reflect on the beauty of the world, but also how much has been "broken" by people.
Lina even reflects that she loves this beautiful world, except for the troubles with people. It is unfortunate, but true.
All that said, it does read as a YA novel - simple and to the point, no overly-developed characters, but it was still very much worth the read, and I plan to further pursue the series.
I would have liked to know more about the day-to-day of Sparks, more about how it was founded, and - of course - as much as possible about the Disaster.(less)
A very interesting, disturbing, creepy look at a future in which people are constructed based on what is needed. Workers and perfect intellectuals, ra...moreA very interesting, disturbing, creepy look at a future in which people are constructed based on what is needed. Workers and perfect intellectuals, ranging from "Epsilons" to "Alphas." Very good plot and the construction was intriguing at times. Though, there were a few parts in which The Savage's conversations with The Controller were a bit drawn out and contrived, but in the end it added to the over-all feel and plot. The end was bleak, and makes one think of the parallels and differences between the "brave new world" and the world of the savages.(less)
**spoiler alert** The last time I read this, I was in eighth grade. Even then it was my third or fourth time reading The Giver, and I adored it. I wan...more**spoiler alert** The last time I read this, I was in eighth grade. Even then it was my third or fourth time reading The Giver, and I adored it. I wanted to live in the Community, to not have to worry or feel pain. Yet, that was nearly seven years ago. Upon reading The Giver last night, I realized how terrible the Community was. One could not feel love -- sure, pain was not a realizable emotion, but to not love, to not see color, to not feel anything, is unimaginable. The old and the weak were euthanized -- a fact that I didn't realize upon reading the book when I was younger. There was no sun, no snow, no hills. I can't write an accurate review of the book, because I can only think in fragments and emotions on how the book made me feel. I cried. I cried when the Giver transmitted to Jonas a new variation of the color red: Blood. I cried the first time Jonas is given the memory of pain. I cried when the Giver recounted that his daughter had been "released" because she could not handle the weight of the memories she received.(less)