Son

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So, just a warning. This book is a heart-wrenching trip through new-mother hormones. And by that, I mean the whole thing is about a mother who will do anything for her son, even though she hasn’t seen him since he was a baby. If you have a baby, don’t read this while you’re nursing said baby. It will make you cry. Just saying.

Of course, it might also make you appreciate said baby a little more, even when he kind of bites you. So, that’s good.

Anyways. As far as the book goes, it’s a page-turner, but I’m not sure how much I’d recommend it. The writing is great – like, the prose really gets you interested and keeps you interested. But I think I have the same problem with Son that I had with Messenger: it feels like Lois Lowry really, really wanted to find a way to get all of her characters into the same story, and she broke her own rules to do it.

In The Giver, Jonas and Gabe escape from a futuristic, sterile dystopia. In Gathering Blue, Kira and Matt discover an alternative to their primitive, organic dystopia. In Messenger, Matt brings Kira to the village Jonas and Gabe founded with the help of a great deal of magic that wasn’t really explained. And in Son, Gabriel’s birthmother escapes her futuristic, sterile dystopia, travels through a completely unrelated seaside village, and ends up in Jonas and Kira’s new village after trading her youth away to the devil, who made a cameo appearance as a normal guy in Messenger, and Gabe has to go challenge the forces of evil to a duel to save his dying mom.

Did you follow all that?

I actually feel like all of this would have worked really well if Lowry had left out only one book. If she’d connected the last three and left out The Giver, she could have used a mother whose child was stolen and explored the same themes without hurdling through so many different genres. But I think I just have a really hard time mixing the last three novels – which seem to fall under the fantasy genre to me – with the harsh, sterile science-fiction of The Giver. I have a really hard time reading about artificial insemenation in the same book where I’m expected to believe that Evil himself is a tall guy who wanders the forest at night and steals whatever souls people are willing to trade to him.

All in all, I don’t feel like I wasted my time reading the book. But I just feel like Lowry was trying too hard to tie things together, and it left me feeling more frustrated at the end than relieved. It felt like she’d broken so many of her own rules that I wanted an impossibly happy ending, because if she was willing to break a few rules, she might as well break them all. I’ll give the book three stars, and say it was well-worded, but the series was poorly constructed. ♦

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