Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Son by Lois Lowry

Son--Lois Lowry
October 2012 by Houghton Mifflen Books for Children
393 pages--Goodreads

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 Messengerwhere 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.

I have mixed reactions to Lowry's books. I love The Giver and have read it many times.  Gathering Blue is okay, but nothing special.  Messenger is flat out weird.  And, unfortunately, so is Son.  

Rather than being its own complete story, Son is more of a compilation of the other books in the series.  I really enjoyed the first third of the novel.  I liked learning more about the Community Claire and Jonas grew up in.  I loved the bond Claire forms with Gabe.  She does make some connections too easily (specifically that the pills kill feelings), but I was okay with it because I enjoyed the rest of the story.  I thought the whole book would center around the Community and how it healed after Jonas left.  Wrong.  Claire actually escapes the community a day or two after Jonas, leaving me feeling cheated.  

The second third was okay.  It felt like an entirely different story than the first part of the novel, but it was okay.  And then the third part of the novel.  What?  First of all, after being in Claire's head for the entire novel, we suddenly jump into Gabe's and then hop around between different characters.  And the plot just gets weird.  The ending is similar to Messenger's in that I finished the book with a "what the crap just happened?" feeling.  Lowry keeps trying to go all existential with this series, but she doesn't set it up well.  The spiritual stuff feels out of place in the world she created.  Everything is fairly normal and then BOOM:  battle between evil incarnate and the forces of good and love.  And no, not a metaphorical fight between good and evil like Harry potter, but the actual embodiment of evil being destroyed by the actual power of love . . . I don't get it either.

Son  was not what I was expecting.  It just doesn't resonate like The Giver does.  I suppose few things can live up to The Giver, but still.

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