Publishing Info: October 2, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 7, 2013
Related Posts: Messenger (The Giver Quartet #3)
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 Messenger where 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.
SON was… an experience. But overall not a good one for me. I’ve raved plenty of times how much I’ve loved THE GIVER ever since I first read it in seventh grade and even re-reading as an adult about two years ago, that opinion still stands. I feel like it opened the doors to dystopians for me (and possibly others, even authors) but I think the doors should have closed after THE GIVER came out. The other three books in the series were not up to par in my personal opinion and SON was probably the worst of them all for me.
SON is the story of Claire, a girl who grew up in the same community in which first met Jonas in THE GIVER. She was chosen to be a birth mother for her profession and right away, I saw where this was going. I can’t remember if Claire was ever mentioned in THE GIVER, so maybe this plot had already been set up for me but considering that I can’t remember, it stands to reason that there was still quite a bit about her that I didn’t know. What I really wasn’t sure about was how much of Claire’s story I was supposed to be able to infer. Was it supposed to be obvious to me who her connections were and how she tied into this story? Or was this supposed to be a twist or a surprise when we found out exactly how she tied into the book? It was obvious to me from the beginning so I was just unclear whether it was supposed to be a twist or not. (Also omitting what that connection was so I don’t spoil it for other people who DON’T know.)
My biggest issue with SON is that it was SLOW. SON is basically broken up into three parts. The first section was my largest concern and the part I struggled with the most. Even listening to the audio at 2x speed didn’t help me get through it. We first meet Claire in the Community and the first third of the book seems to parallel the story of THE GIVER except from the point of view of a different and more removed character. It may have been nice to have that refresher of THE GIVER except for the fact that it all felt very slow and anti-climatic.
The second part of the book didn’t go much better for me either. It still felt incredibly slow and with one exception, it felt totally unnecessary for the plot. I feel like it was supposed to beautiful and poetic but instead it just felt dull and long for me. I was waiting in anticipation of when Claire’s story line would hop back in to the connection with THE GIVER once more, so I was mostly anxious and waiting for this section to be over. There were too many details that were not relevant to the plot at all that I actually skipped over a few, my interest not being held.
The last portion of the book was by far the best. Things finally start to become relevant again and connections are made. YAY! Except… It was just too little too late. The last third of the book switches POVs so we’re no longer hearing things surrounding Claire’s life (and maybe this was why the last section of the book worked so well for me) and I found myself wishing that the POVs had been reversed with the majority of the book here and the smaller portion focusing on Claire’s history.
Overall it was a really rough read for me. If I hadn’t been listening to the audio, I think it would have been difficult to finish, but I was also determined to finish this series that I’ve been more or less reading for over ten years now. Based on the reviews I’ve seen on Goodreads, the reactions to this book are very mixed so take my review with a grain of salt!
Claire // Character Obsessions: Finding her child at all costs. That’s about it.
Claire felt very one-dimensional for me. I understand that the people from the Community are raised not to feel emotions, but Claire actually felt quite a bit after her complicated birthing situation. It wasn’t that her emotions weren’t varied because they truly were… But her focus was on ONE thing the whole book and it takes the whole book to get there. She didn’t deal with many other conflicts and when she did, they were resolved quickly or were easily explained away. I just didn’t connect with her at all and her naiveté, even after finding out so many horrors, continued to bother me the entire book.
Jonas // Character Obsessions: Being a good leader, watching after Gabe, carefully selecting when to use his gift.
I’m not sure how I feel about Jonas, even after writing my whole review. Obviously he’s gone through A LOT and he’s bound to change just as much, but he didn’t remotely feel like the Jonas I once knew as a 12-year-old. I guess that’s to be expected though. I really, really didn’t like that he and Kira (remember Kira from GATHERING BLUE?) are romantically linked. I wanted their stories to come together, absolutely, but it felt to forced for them to be a married couple when we see them again in SON. I did like Jonas’s leadership skills and how he was able to communicate and connect with everyone so well.
Kept Me Hooked On: A series I’ve been reading for fifteen years. I started this series when I was twelve years old (OMG, just realized that was perfect timing to read THE GIVER haha) and I’m glad that I finally finished it.
Left Me Wanting More: Of the characters we first met in THE GIVER. The biggest question I had from the WHOLE series was “What ever happened to Gabe?” and I KNEW that this question would be answered in SON. This book just had way too much Claire and not nearly enough Gabe.
I know there are a lot of different reactions to this book, but mine was not a good one. I rarely tell people NOT to read a book but I couldn’t recommend this to someone. I didn’t enjoy it until almost the very end.
BOOKS LIKE SON
(Click the cover to see my review!)
14 thoughts on “Son (The Giver Quartet #4) – Lois Lowry”
It’s been quite a while since I read these, but what I kind of remember is that I actually liked Son better than Gathering Blue or The Messenger.
I first read The Giver as an adult, and thought it was okay. My opinion rose after teaching it for a couple of years.
After reading The Giver for the first time a couple of years ago, I wondered about the other books. It’s too bad they just aren’t as good! I’m sure it does feel good to have completed the series, though!
I agree that the book after the Giver didn’t work as well as the Giver, but from another three books after the Giver, i can admire Messenger at least. But maybe, for me, it was Matty that made it okay 🙂
If I had to pick a second favorite, it would be Messenger! I really did like Matty a lot and I think his story was the most interesting aside from the original story with Jonas 🙂
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as The Giver. I felt something lacked in the story and the characters were not fully developed.
I feel like in every other book, things just weren’t as developed. This one was actually really detailed but… I felt like those details weren’t necessary!
I haven’t read this series, but I would like to at least read The Giver. I am getting the feeling that I should just read The Giver and move on. I am such a series completist though, so I don’t know if I will be able to do that!
Haha I hear ya! Just pretend the other ones don’t exist! 😉
There are *only* 3 Indiana Jones movies, right? 😉
Hahah! That’s the way I like to think of it 😉
I remember reading The Giver in school and loving it. I honestly didn’t know it was a series until a year or 2 ago and have never gotten around to picking them up. I always think it’s so interesting when an author goes back and makes a sequel YEARS in the future. I’m kind of glad you say skip it because now I feel no obligation to read it 🙂
I usually don’t tell people NOT to read books but really… the rest of this series did not do it for me. I would say don’t sweat it! 🙂
So I’ve been toying with reading the books that came after The Giver. On one hand, I love The Giver, and why WOULDN’T I want more stories? On the other, though, I feel The Giver is such a classic of my childhood and stands well enough on it’s own and if I read the rest, it might lower my opinion of the original. I mean, the end of The Giver was so open-ended, but I can live with that if it means it can remain a classic in my head. So, I think for now that’s what I’m going to do after reading your review for this one + reading reviews for a few others. I’ll keep my memory of The Giver how it is.
You know that I rarely tell people NOT to read books…. But I honestly can’t recommend reading the rest of the series. Books two and three were just okay for me and Son… Well, clearly it didn’t go well haha! The Giver was just so good, both the first and second times I read it. If I had to give advice, I’d say let that one stand alone as the classic!