Monday, November 12, 2012
They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.
Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.
My Rating: ****
I was really surprised to hear that Lois Lowry was coming out with another book in the Giver series. The other two sequels to The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger, weren't exactly smashing successes (in my opinion) and both came out several years ago. Plus, Messenger's ending was very final. But I was really excited about this too, because I knew Son would be told from the viewpoint of Gabe's mother.
The first half of the book was my favorite. I loved learning about the vessels, and the whole birthing process and I liked being back in the original Giver world at the same time period as The Giver. The stories are parallel, and I really liked seeing it from another point of view. I liked Claire, and believe me, the injustice of seeing her give birth at age fourteen and then get pushed off to work in the fish hatchery where she would never see her child again was infuriating. Claire becomes obsessed with her child, something I don't blame her for. If it had been my baby I would have felt the same way.
But the story slowed way down the moment Claire left her community in search of Gabe. You'd think that would make things better, more exciting, right? Nope. And one of the things that I think makes the original book better than the sequels is the fact that when The Giver ends, you're left with hope that Jonas and Gabe have found something better, a world without all the conformity and tyranny and misery. You don't know what's outside, but you can hope that it's better. Well, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and now Son all show the world waiting outside The Giver and it's not pretty. And it drives me crazy. Why exactly is it that everyone outside the regulated communities has to live a medieval lifestyle? Why is it that the people who are free don't have medicine or electricity or any sort of technology at all? It's a strange unbalance and it doesn't sit well with me.
Anyway, back in the story here we're crawling along, Claire is depressed, but she eventually finds a purpose, trying to escape the community that she escaped to. She has to train her body to climb up a cliff face to escape. This process takes several chapters. And then she actually makes the climb, which takes several more chapters. Not exaggerating. If the writing hadn't been beautiful (this is still Lois Lowry we're talking about here) I would have skipped parts, just to get past it.
And finally things start happening. No spoilers, but we're reunited with characters from all the books and Son really does a nice job of tying the quartet together. Of course, there's a final battle with evil, and I won't say much, but this is the same evil that I thought had been defeated at the end of Messenger, and since it lived I'm really questioning the necessity of killing off a character at the end of Messenger if his sacrifice wasn't going to even defeat that character for good - seemed ridiculous that the evil just shows right back up... And I also think Lois Lowry is a bit heavy-handed with her philosophical morals in the Giver sequels. I wanted more explanations of Gabe's gift and her magic system in general, but everything wrapped up quickly with few details.
Anyway, the book is a nice addition to the Giver series, but I have plenty of problems with it so no raving from me. The writing is lovely and the closure is nice. Recommended for fans of the original.