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Literature / The Giver Quartet

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The Giver Quartet is a series of young adult novels by Lois Lowry. It consists of The Giver (1993), Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004) and Son (2012).

Set in the far-off future after some unspecified apocalypse, humanity has divided itself into communities with varying technology levels and societal types. Some are futuristic, while others are at medieval era tech at best. In general, most are outwardly dystopic, or dystopic underneath. Regardless of the community, each story features a character from one that stands out differently from their respective societies.

Until Messenger, both The Giver and Gathering Blue were written that they could be interpreted as being in the same universe, or not at all, depending on the reader's perspective. However, Messenger is explicitly in the same universe as Gathering Blue, and Son ties all four books together into the same universe. However, all four books are written in a way that does not require the reader to have to read any of the others to understand what is going on.

Note: Tropes relating to the series in general goes here. Please put tropes that applies to individual books in the series on their respective pages.

The Giver Quartet contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Claire mishears Jonas's father calling Gabriel's "Abe" and refers to him as such.
  • After the End: Never described in detail, and the closest we get to an explanation is in Gathering Blue, which mentions the Ruin, a combination of manmade and environmental disasters.
  • Beautiful Void: Most of the communities seen seem to be very isolated, in a haunted and lonely way. It helps that the quartet takes place After the End. The Community in The Giver and Son has some contact with the outside world through cargo planes and barges, and has visitors, but what these communities are like is never described. We know that the community where the barge is from is far more open compared to the one in The Community. The brief conversations Claire has with a sailor show her confused with what the sailor has to say about his life.
  • Crapsack World: Even in the better or more technologically advanced societies such as the Community in Giver, or the Village in Messenger, or the village that takes Claire in in Son, you are either in a tightly controlled drug enforced Orwellian society or a medieval level tech village, which, while it could treat you right, still leaves you at mercy of the world in comparison to the modern era. The society that the boat crew come from in Son seems to be decent, and is at a decent tech level from what little is seen of them, but it is never really explored.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: Probably the best explanation for some of the abilities in the Giver Quartet. The Giver has the ability to transmit memories via touch, which Jonas is able to do to Gabe later on inadvertently. Years later, in Messenger, Jonas seems to have some sort of remote viewing ability, Matty can heal via touch, and Kira from Gathering Blue has some sort of psychic ability when she weaves. Gabe finds out he has the ability to enter a person's mind and feel what they feel.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Blue eyes are associated with the capacity to "see beyond," as seen with Jonas, the Giver, Rosemary, Gabe and Kira.
  • Stealth Sequel: Before Son came out, Gathering Blue and Messenger could be interpreted as sequels to The Giver or completely independent novels, but Son explicitly puts them all into one universe.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: What caused the end was The Ruin. What it was exactly isn't said in detail, but it is implied to be a war of some sort.