Son should have been the first sequel to the Giver. It actually starts in the same community as the Giver, this time with Gabriel’s birthmother Claire. We follow her life: first in the community, then in a small seaside village, and finally in the same village where Jonas and Gabriel ended up.
It’s a really interesting story and I particularly like how each of the sections builds on what came before, while letting us watch Claire grow and change. The links to Gathering Blue and Messenger are there as well, although I personally wish they’d been ordered a little differently.
I really don’t care much for the ending. On one hand, it’s interesting how the Trademaster ties into yet another story and interesting to see that he’s in more than one village’s story. On the other hand, we completely skip over the tension that came up around his role in Messenger, robbing this ‘final battle’ of some of what it otherwise could have had. On top of that, we’re left wondering who/what he actually is… which we never really get. An allegory for the Devil I guess? And then it’s all over and away we go. I feel like the story could have actually ended earlier and done just as well. This felt too easy.
Also, the series as a whole leaves a whole number of questions unanswered that kind of bother me:
What ever happened to the community where Jonas and Claire grew up? How did they take it when all of the memories came back?
What actually is Jonas’ ability? Didn’t it have something to do with memories? Where did this far-seeing thing come from?
What happened to Claire’s village? The people that took her in thought they were planning for … something. But we never see them again. This is especially weird, given that Matty’s sacrifice and the expulsion of the Trademaster theoretically mean the Village has opened its doors once again, but that’s just not mentioned.
What’s with the various Gifts? They’re seemingly random–although there are hints that they could be genetic–both in who gets one and what it will do. They don’t seem to be well known at all, other than to some who have them and to the people from Kira’s village.
Overall, Son was a solid sequel to the Giver, more worth the title than Gathering Blue or Messenger, even if the former was probably still a better overall story. I also think the series could have used a bit more to tie off the above loose ends, but I’m also okay if that never comes.