Son by Lois Lowry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I so badly wanted to love this book but... It started with a handicap, in my mind, because I really loved the ambiguity at the end of The Giver: did Jonas and Gabriel make it? or did they die?. It was a great conversation to have with students and now, well, we know what happened. We also now know what happens to Kira (Gathering Blue) and Matty (Messenger). Sigh. Of course, the author wrote this because she was curious, not because she was giving in to Reichenbach Falls-like pressure to bring back the characters. Still... sigh.
Claire is a few years older than Jonas and her career was Birthmother; due to some problem at her first birth, she is reassigned to Fish Hatchery. She's dissatisfied and actively seeks information about her son, and this dissatisfaction also leads her to escape from the village. In the next section, she is rescued from the ocean by villagers in a very different situation: they're on a peninsula, separated from the rest of the world by a virtually impassible mountain cliff. Claire's memory of prior events is gone, although she knows letters (children in this village are not schooled) and that where she was from is nothing like where she is now. Slowly she heals, her memory returns and she plots an escape with the help from Lame Elias, the only person who has ever climbed the cliff. She succeeds, making a very bad trade in exchange for finding her son. Ultimately she ends up in a third village, again very different from the first two, where the stories of the previous books are resolved.
The training scenes in Village Two go on a little long, I thought. More about how this place differs from the first (or third) would have been far better. The same goes for Claire's scaling the cliff. Beyond that, it was interesting to revisit the world of The Giver, in part because it was so different from other worlds I'd read about at the time (now, of course, Matched and so many other dystopias have been inspired by Lowry's work).
ARC provided by publisher.