When she washed up on their shores, Claire didn’t remember anything.
She doesn’t remember that she didn’t want to be a Birthmother. She doesn’t remember that her baby was taken from her. She doesn’t remember that she wanted him back.
But when she does, she will do anything to find him.
Divided into three parts, Son follows Claire. The first takes part in Jonas’ community, which I really enjoyed. In The Giver, the corruption in Jonas’ eyes affected everyone, it didn’t feel personal. Here, it is personal. We follow one girl, her single experience, and the brutality of it all. And the best part? It runs parallel to The Giver, therefore expanding on ideas The Giver didn’t tackle.
The second part is definitely the most interesting. This is where the meaning of the book really shines through, despite being the predictable amnesiac story. It was easy to figure out what was going to happen when, but reading Clarie getting through with this overwhelming need to see her son, even if she didn’t know she had one, was great.
The last part is the weakest in the book. Lowry’s style has always put a bit of ambiguity in the endings of each instalment. But, like good endings, she gave a clear finite ending.
But it didn’t feel good. It came out of no where and it made even less sense than the endings of the last three books combined.
Claire is a great character. Like Jonas, she’s sort of the everywoman that we can slip into and experience the story through. Unlike Jonas, Kira, and Matty, she doesn’t have a gift. She’s a mother. Her growing into that role is interesting, and also makes her unique. She isn’t special. She doesn’t weave the future or heal living creatures with her life force. She is a person, pushing her limits for the sake of love. And I really appreciate that about her character.
I really like Einer, Alys, Old Benedikt, and Tall Andras. The village that Claire joins is similar to that in Messenger, not a utopia, but not a dystopia either. It’s a regular village, and the contrast between that and Claire’s past is striking.
As for the antagonist, I just wish he wasn’t there. He didn’t need to be, and ruined the end for me.
And the come back of all the old characters? Amazing. (Yay! Jonas, Gabe, and Kira!)
In the past books, Lowry’s concise, tight style made the books surreal. Here…I’m not really sure what she’s doing.
For the first two parts, there were scenes that felt oddly like filler. Which is incongruent with the style in the last three books. There was no such thing as “filler” with Lowry. Until this book.
Then in the last third, the style switches oddly back to the concise surrealism. And brought back an element that I thought we were done with. It was an abrupt and strange ending, that didn’t match the first two thirds.
This is a love story. But not romantic love. It’s about familial love, the ties between parent and child. Claire gives up and risks everything to be with her son: she forsakes the rules, leaves a stable life, gives up romantic love, trades away herself. All on the off chance that she can be with him again. That’s a powerful message, and it really permeated through the book, and not just through Claire.
It was in the Community, in Alys’ care of Claire, in Einer’s past with his father. It was in Jonas and Gabe’s relationship. It was the best part of the book.
Son is a good story in its own right, but as a conclusion to a series, it falls flat. Claire’s story is a good one on it’s own, and it deserves a good read through.
Recommendation for Son: Read. Finish the series because what happens to Jonas and company is great. Plus, Claire is a great addition to the heroes of The Giver.
Recommendation for The Giver Quartet: Read. This is a story that I definitely recommend reading at least once. Do you need to read all the books? No. In fact, I think you could read them out of order, or even pick and choose which stories interest you, and read it. I do recommend reading The Giver before Son though. You don’t need to read Gathering Blue or Messenger in order, but I do recommend it.