The trilogy that began with The Giver doesn’t exist anymore.
No, it’s not being banned or burned. It’s not a trilogy anymore because there are four books now, forming a quartet that Lois Lowry has imaginatively called The Quartet.
I’m actually a bit late with the news; Son was published this past October. However, I didn’t find out about it until I reread Lois Lowry’s NaNoWriMo YWP pep talk. I clicked the link to her website and looked around for a bit, noticing that she had a new book. My eyes bugged out of my head just like Neville’s do when I saw that it was another sequel to The Giver. I love The Giver; it’s on my “shelf of favorite books”. It’s about a world where everything is – supposedly – perfect. There’s no war, inequality, illness, poverty, hunger, or prejudice. However, the protagonist, twelve-year-old Jonas, eventually learns that his community has terrible secrets and had to give up many things to live in such a “perfect” world. I love Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, but I’ve loved Lowry’s three dystopian novels (The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger) for far longer. Here’s the blurb from the book’s page on her website:
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.
That is how to write a good blurb, J.K. Rowling. It helps to actually tell your readers something about what happens in the book.
My immediate reaction was that of intense interest. I love how vague the endings to each of Lowry’s dystopian books are; you can choose for yourself whether things get better or worse. As the series went on, she got progressively more and more specific. For example, in The Giver, it wasn’t clear whether or not Jonas died at the end. I believed that he survived and I turned out to be right; he appears in the sequels. Messenger was the most specific because the main character dies at the end. So as you can tell, I like the vagueness. But I also wanted to know more about Jonas; he’s one of my favorite characters in all of fiction.
I think it’s generally a good blurb, if a bit cheesy. “Water Claire”, “Vessel”, and “Product” sound like they come from a horrid science fiction novel of the nineteen-fifties, but whatever. I think that Lowry is an excellent author and will be able to pull off Son without too much cheesiness.
This leads me to my predictions for the book. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but couldn’t, because I already knew a bit about all the books I am reading or plan to read. I mean, I read part of the Appendices at the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings while I was still on The Two Towers and sat there thinking, “Well, I suppose that means Aragorn and Legolas don’t die…” (I didn’t want them to, but somehow I’d gotten it into my head that they did.) But now I can!
To anyone who’s read The Giver, it should be pretty obvious that Water Claire from Jonas’s previous community. For those who haven’t read the book, I’ll explain. In Jonas’s world, children become adults at age twelve when they receive their Assignments. In his world, no one gets to choose their job; it’s selected for them based on their aptitudes by a special committee. This fits with Water Claire being a Vessel at age thirteen, because everyone is trained for their job first. Actually, it usually takes much longer than a year, but not for her because her job isn’t complicated. What is a Vessel? I’m pretty sure that it’s what they called Birthmothers in The Giver. No one knows who their biological children are because everyone adopts and besides, most of the adults don’t have biological children. That’s the job of the Birthmothers, who have three Newchildren (babies) each before they become Laborers and do menial jobs in the community. (This does raise the question, “Who’s the father?” because babies don’t spontaneously appear. For a while I thought it might be the Giver himself but then I remembered that the potential to be a Receiver of Memory, which is what the Giver was before Jonas became the Receiver is hereditary and the community doesn’t want to have more than two people like that because they might start to challenge the leaders.) Ditto Product. It fits with the very simple, very practical names that Jonas’s community uses.
I’m quite sure that Water Claire came from Jonas’s community. My main prediction for Son is that her son is Jonas. I predict that Jonas finally meets his real mother.
But what if she didn’t, he’s not, and he doesn’t? There are a few things that make me question my prediction.
First are the different names. Birthmothers became Vessels all of a sudden. On the other hand, I might still be right. The community might have several names for the same thing, or perhaps a Birthmother is the actual person (personality, etc) and the Vessel is just her body. In the same manner, Products might be unborn Newchildren. All this could mean that Water Claire’s son may not be Jonas because she might be from a different community where the names are slightly different. You see, Jonas’s community is only one of many others like it. Thankfully, the whole world hasn’t been turned into such a place.
The other thing is that I might be right about Water Claire coming from Jonas’s community, but her son might not be Jonas.
Maybe he’s Gabe.
Gabe is the Newchild that Jonas’s family takes care of because he needs more Nurturing; he isn’t developing as quickly as the other babies. Gabe has pale eyes like Jonas and pale eyes are a sign that he could be a Giver. He’s fairly important to the story too and he left when Jonas did because Jonas took him with.
Maybe Gabe’s the important one in the story. Maybe the series is really about him. That would certainly be interesting because he’s always just kind of been there for the protagonist to care about, but he hasn’t gotten to do much.
At any rate, I’m very excited that Lowry has a new book out and I can’t wait to read Son.
P.S. I just found out there’s a third Kiki Strike book coming out in January 2013 and I had a great dream about an All Men of Genius sequel last night! I am in new-book-heaven.