In an excoriation of an episode, we wrap up Messenger. Make sure you listen to hear how we respond to all of the suspense built up in the first half of the book. This episode is rather quick as the reading is short, but we cover many perspectives on the resolution of the book. There’s a discussion of the powers of the protagonists, the worldbuilding, and arc of this particular novel. Once again, we confront the idea that these books all feel like separate books, rather than a cohesive series.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-22 of book 4 in the series, Son.
After divisive episodes on Gathering Blue, we are back this week with renewed hopes for book number three, Messenger. This community connects our first two books and also develops its own struggles and complexities. The protagonist Matty is a fun character to read from, and we are excited about the darker themes being explored in this particular conflict. Both hosts do take some exception to the ret-conning and world inconsistencies revealed, but are hopeful for the second half.
Next week we will be reading chapters 12-21 of book 3 in the series, Messenger.
This week Charles and Asia continue the discussion of Gathering Blue. This time both hosts agree on their feelings on the ending unlike last week. All of our mysteries are solved and even new ones that are introduced are quickly answered as well. We learn more of the sinister nature of this community and the lengths the leaders are willing to go to to capture the artists they need. The one exciting reveal at the end of the book does set up the next book well, and we’re excited to get into the plot arc by the end of this episode.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-11 of book 3 in the series, Messenger.
It’s time for Gathering Blue, the second book of The Giver Quartet. Possibly for the first time, we have a real disagreement between the hosts. One of us is totally vibing with this book, and the other is not at all. This community or world is quite different from Jonas’ but we have a good time drawing parallels and contrasts between these two worlds. We are left with a lot of cliffhangers, so to find out who liked the book you have to listen this week, and to get resolution to those cliffhangers, you have to listen again next week.
Next week we will be reading chapters 13-23 of book 2 in the series, Gathering Blue.
We wrap up The Giver this week as we watch Jonas discover more secrets of the community. He learns more about pain, humanity, and the procedure called release. Upon discovering the secrets of suppressed knowledge and the full range of human emotion, Jonas feels he must make a difference in the world. We discuss the lack of humanity as well as our theories and debates from the previous episode. Finally, we wrap up the book with more questions than answers hoping we will get at least some fragments of answers within the next three books in the set.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-12 of book 2 in the series, Gathering Blue.
We continue our unit on dystopian society as we explore “the community” where Jonas turns 12 and his world is turned upside down when he becomes the Receiver of Memory. As we read through Jonas’ eyes we find out how disgustingly “same” his community is and how much of life has been taken away from the denizens. The writing and approach to narrative is quite different from our recent books, and as usual Charles and Asia debate if it’s a spoiler if you have a gut feeling about a plot point in a book that you read a decade ago but cannot now remember.
Next week we will be reading chapters 13-23 of book 1 in the series, The Giver.
Wrapping up The Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we see Coriolanus Snow’s final and complete descent into evil. After being caught cheating to win the 10th Hunger Games, Snow becomes a peacekeeper and much more drama occurs, which Charles was most definitely not expecting. We get into Snow’s mental state and his tendency to justify his cruel and bad behavior. His final descent ends up being quite perverse, but Snow lands on top. In this episode, we frequently commend Collins’ writing and all the ways she ties the prequel so neatly to the original trilogy.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-12 of The Giver, book 1 in our new series, The Giver Quartet.
Charles and Asia dive into The Hunger Games prequel novel this week, and they follow a young Coriolanus Snow on his journey as a mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games. We get to know Coriolanus as the only surviving male in a once wealthy high-class family, trying desperately to maintain his social status in the Capitol while not letting anyone else know of his troubles. The prequel serves to provide even more world building and explanations of Panem and furthers our conversations on how the Hunger Games were not designed that well, which we see on full blast in these earlier iterations of the games. We’re already seeing Coriolanus’ cruel side, and we’re expecting to see that blossom even more in the second half.
Next week we will be reading chapters 17-30 of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
This week, we wrap up the Katniss Everdeen story, as she, Gale, and Peeta fight through the Capitol. We discuss the conflict between Katniss and Coin, and the resolution of the love triangle between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. We lose many major characters, and Asia and Charles get into how those deaths compare as first time readers, second time readers, and watchers of the movies. As expected we spend a fair bit of time on the love triangle and the essential differences in Gale and Katniss’ natures. Also, apparently Katniss spends months without showering, so we have to talk about that too.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-16 of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
We enter the final book of the trilogy this week, Mockingjay. This episode we get to explore the Gale and Katniss dynamic as we haven’t actually gotten too much in writing yet. We also take inventory of the things that we didn’t notice on our first time reading like Coin’s red flags and Prim’s wisdom. We are able to label the conflict between the Capitol and District 13 as a metaphor for the cold war between capitalism and communism, and get into how Katniss responds to these approaches of governance. Of course, we have to hate on Gale for his Jacob Black qualities, and we continue to be a Team Peeta podcast.
Next week we will be reading chapters 15-21 of book 3 in the series, Mockingjay.