Book Review: Son by Lois Lowry

19 December 2012

Typically, I prefer to review books in a series in their original order. Perhaps it's not so necessary an evil as I would make it, but keeping matters neat and tidy has never done anyone any harm, and especially in the managing of a blog, it forces me to stay disciplined on my posting schedule. I generally review books as I read them, and since I am of the rigid sort who reads a book series in its published order, it follows that I would stick to that order when going about the business of typing up reviews. But book reviews also come at a more natural pace when the margin between my completion of the volume and its subsequent review is kept slim, and since it's been two months since I finished Son and I can make no firm promise to review Gathering Blue or Messenger in the near future, I thought I might as well go ahead and write this review sooner than later.

By Lois Lowry
*Summary via

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. 

My Thoughts: Coming from the perspective of one who has read The Giver numerous times, this book was everything for which I could hope in a finale. It drew the other three books together effectively while still leaving many surprises for the reader throughout the plot. Claire's experiences were heartbreaking, and the author threads the young girl's longing through each page with ease. I quite enjoyed the chance to revisit highlights of The Giver in this book, especially since the reader was shown a few of the same scenes through different eyes. All of the characters were lively and real, and the dialogue was natural. The only error I could find in the prose was the author's own style. While Lowry maintained her trademark tone for the first part of the book, she took on a writing style particularly laced with cliches for the second part that didn't sound at all like her usual self. 

Without the background of the three preceding titles, one would find this book difficult to understand at times. If you are interested in reading Son, I heartily suggest that you read the series in order, as doing so would smooth out any wrinkles or confusion.

Pros: This book is an almost-perfect conclusion to the beloved series. Lowry brought to life an aspect of the Community barely touched within the pages of The Giver and introduced her readers to a charming new character, all the while maintaining the honest narration, memorable characters, and challenging settings that readers came to love in her three previous books. Anyone who loved The Giver is bound to enjoy this new book, as it ties together well-loved characters such as Jonas, Kira, and Gabriel in a story that is both new, creative, and intriguing.

Cons: My main complaint with Son can be found in its denouement. While the ending was sweet and happy, Lowry seemed to tie everything together a bit too neatly. I think she would have been better served by leaving a few of the strings dangling at the end. There was a great deal of suspense built up around the climax in the final part, only to have the antagonist meet his defeat in a manner I found too simple. I wish the author had spent a little less time setting up the conflict and more on a creative untangling of the final defeat.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 12+

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"He, she thought . . . I had a son. The feeling of loss overwhelmed her again." — Son, chapter 2

3 epistles:

  1. I love "The Giver" more every time I read it, so I think I ought to try out the sequels. Thank you for this review; I'm very excited to read "Son"!

  2. I love 'The Giver', but I had no idea there were three sequels until a couple of days ago. I was wondering if this was I'm glad you reviewed it! It sounds really interesting.

  3. Agreed about the ending. I feel it left a lot to be desired.


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