Son by Lois Lowry | Book Review

The observative reader among you may have noticed my silence at the end of #AYearAThon earlier this month.

I’d like to begin this post by saying I’m both sorry and ashamed to report… I only read one book over the course of that week. That’s terrible, right? I mean, technically I read 2 books… but the second book in that tally consists of the first half of two different stories, so it doesn’t really count.

I’m not even entirely sure what happened, I think I just fell off the bandwagon with the whole thing. However, in an effort not to shy away from my failure, I plan to finish my readathon TBR throughout the rest of the month (we’ll see how that goes).

But I digress, today we’re here to review the one book (and thus series) that I did successfully complete, and that’s Son by Lois Lowry, the fourth and final book in The Giver Quartet.

To preface, I’d like to make it known that I loved The Giver. As a story, I thought it was both intriguing in concept and beautiful in its message. After that, I was excited to pick up Gathering Blue, which led to huge disappointment as it dropped from 5/5 to 3/5 stars (the lowest rating any book in this series received). After a long healing period, I dusted myself off and read Messenger, which restored myself and earned 4/5.

Then, we get to Son which I would describe as a ‘meh’ read. It was fine. It didn’t disappoint me as much as Gathering Blue, but perhaps I was just more prepared this time. There wasn’t anything imparticular wrong with it, it just didn’t grip me in the way the odd books in this series did. However, despite its meh-ness, it was a fairly satisfying conclusion to an otherwise disjointed series.

Since the very first book, the role of Birth Mother intrigued me, so I was excited to meet our narrator, Claire. I can’t honestly tell if I’d have appreciated this story as much if I didn’t work with young children, but I found Claire’s account of being a Birth Mother equal parts harrowing and engaging. I really loved witnessing the transition from obedient Birth Mother, to the brave Claire who wishes to help her son.

I would point out that this was definitely the most feminine book in the series, and so it didn’t really feel the same as the other installments in many ways. Obviously, the first and third books were both from a male perspective, but even Kiera’s voice was less noticeable feminine than Claire’s. I’m not going to assess whether this makes the book better or worse than its predecessors, it’s simply an observation that you may wish to take note of.

One thing that does unite Lowry’s series is the simplicity of the story and it’s deeply symbolic value. In this installment, I was happy to see the return of Trade Master (one of my favourite aspects of the previous novel). He could be interoperated so many ways, I love that depth in this series.

However, I think a lot of my enjoyment of this novel stems from the fact that we finally got to see the whole story come together and resolve (sort of). We have time in the Community, time in Elsewhere and get to see all our narrators co-habit the same book (well, most of our narrators). It felt like a fitting ending to this series.

As a story that loves its symbolism, it’s not really surprising that there is a degree of magical realism throughout the story. In the first three installments, this is seen through the power of our narrator with Kiera, Jonah and Matthew all possessing special talents. However, this novel takes a slightly different turn. I’ve always appreciated Lowry’s ability to integrate these concepts into her plots whilst making them believable and necessary, they aren’t simply there as a dramatic and unnecessary plot twist.

Overall, I gave this novel 3/5 stars (more like a 3.5, but I don’t want to overcomplicate it). I really did enjoy the feeling of finishing up this series. However, in the future, when I decide it’s time for a reread, I think I’ll probably just stick to the firs wonderful book and skip the sequels.

If you’ve read this series I’d love to hear from you, did the sequels live up to The Giver in your mind? Let me know in the comments below!

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