Orrec and Gry are friends from childhood growing up in a mystical place. There are different families or lineages, much like clans, and they each have their own unique "gift." Some are benign like communicating with animals, but others are more sinister like "unmaking" (killing). Orrec's lineage is with the unmakers. Gry's family are callers--they can communicate with animals. While Gry uses her gift to train horses, her mother uses hers to call animals to the hunt--luring animals to be slaughtered. She pressures her daughter to do the same, but Gry would rather not call animals to be killed. Orrec longs for signs that he has the gift as well, until he and his father begin to believe that he has the "wild gift"-- a gift that cannot be controlled. To protect his family he blindfolds himself--he cannot harm them if he cannot see them. He and Gry learn to live without using their gifts.
Gifts is by the same author who did the Earthsea books. I loved those books. Gifts is not quite as strong as them, but it's still a pretty good book. The plot is interesting and the characters are well-developed (except for one who only exists to be an outsider that needs explanations so they can start the narrative), although Orrec is slightly annoying at times. Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry's The Giver will also enjoy this one.
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