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I have mixed thoughts on this one. I would give it 2.5 stars if I could.
I greatly appreciated how this wove the disparate strands of The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger together in a coherent way. (I particularly love The Giver.) Even so, Son stands on its own and is fully accessible to someone who hasn't read Lowry's previous works.
The first and second parts, "Before" and "Between," are hauntingly good (and very reminiscent of The Giver), painting first a dystopian society without emotion or individualism, and then contrasting that with a small but thriving community of outcasts who have created family by choice.
Unfortunately, the third section, "Beyond," takes the tale out of the realm of science fiction or even parable and transforms it into a cartoonish allegory that steals much of the meaning and thoughtfulness from the rest of the work. Suddenly the worlds and woes we've encountered aren't because of good intentions gone bad and ignorance of what could be, or even the almost-mindless tyranny of the few over the many (with, more or less, the complicity of that many), but pure "evil." The final confrontation between Gabe (Gabriel? an angel?) and the Trademaster (the fallen, exiled angel?), with its suggestion that we're willing to give away those parts of ourselves we should treasure most, has all the subtlety of a heavy brick to the head.
I was pleased that the love of a mother for her son, and of that son for his mother - loves that would have been deemed "selfish" and wrong in the world of "Before" - end up saving not only these two individuals, but also their entire community. I only wish this could've been conveyed without trading Lowry's deft touch for a sledgehammer.
Lowry's gift is raising and wrestling with difficult questions, and the first two sections of Son continue in this tradition beautifully. It's unfortunate that she ends this series with somewhat last-minute and trite answers
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