I love The Giver, so book four the quartet (which, last I knew of it, was only supposed to be a trilogy) was a must read.
I still haven't really decided how I feel about it. That is, I definitely liked it. I'm just not sure if I loved it. The book has three parts, called "Before", "Between" and "Beyond", and without a doubt I loved "Before" because it is set in the Community. Our character this time is Claire, who we learn very early on is the Birthmother of Gabe, the fussy child from book one. It is such a pleasure to return to this absolutely terrifying place and see it from another perspective.
Claire is elected as a Birthmother and is getting ready to deliver her first Product (just another horrific aspect of the community--the fetuses are called Products!), but the process goes wrong and the newchild must be cut out of her. She's "fired" from making babies and must be reassigned to the Fish Hatchery. But Claire misses her baby. Claire wants her baby back.
And so begins the book. Section two, "Between", was perhaps the weakest of the three parts. Claire washes up in a seaside village with no memory and she must rebuild. There's a nice love story, but the section overall feels bloated. The events of the section take a long time (I can't remember an exact number, but 7 years feels right, so we'll say around 7 years), but it's a long time where not much happens event-wise.
Section three, "Beyond", takes us back to the village in Messenger. At this point, we have jumped ahead another seven years. There is some jumping around in point of view, but for the most part we are lodged in Gabe's head. Yes, that Gabe. He's about 16 when we reach him, and he, too, has some sort of magic ability. I wanted to love this part most of all because it is the bringing together of all the parts--Jonas and Kira are here again and their gifts come to the forefront of the story quite engagingly. We even see the Trademaster again in the form of the final conflict (I am trying to to spoil anything here), and it's this conflict that ultimately held me back from loving "Beyond" as much as I loved "Before". The conclusion is a letdown; it feels hurried and things are resolved a little too easily. The poignant ending is, of course, gratifying, but I wish that we didn't have to rush toward it so fast.
Overall, I was very satisfied with Son. Lois Lowry has yet to disappoint me. If you read and loved The Giver and its subsequent sequels, don't delay in reading this book. Despite its flaws, it is enchanting.
My Rating: 4/5
Son on Goodreads
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