Messenger, by Lois Lowry (#3) and Son, by Lois Lowry (#4)

 Messenger by Lois Lowry - The Giver Quartet #3

Things begin to come together in this third book of the series as Kira, Mattie, and the blind man, all from Book Two, continue their stories. The setting is new and the timeline a few years after Book two closes.

Mattie and the blind man (Kira's father) have made a home together in Village, a place where everyone, damaged or whole, is accepted and valued. Here people have always lived in harmony and contentment, but Mattie is beginning to sense changes in attitudes. Selfishness is creeping in, and at the Trade Mart people are trading their better natures for material gain. Villagers, who were once outsiders themselves, begin to feel resentful of newcomers and want the borders closed, for the first time in Village's history shutting out people seeking help and a safe place to stay.

The Forest outside is deteriorating, too, and grows hostile to travelers just as Mattie sets out on a journey to bring Kira to her new home. It becomes clear that Forest does not want them to reach their goal.

At 142 pages this is the shortest of the four books but I think I liked this story best of the three. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turns out in the last book, Son.

Son by Lois Lowry - The Giver Quartet #4 

This final installment in The Giver Quartet returns us to the shudder-inducing community of the first book and introduces us to Claire, a fourteen year old assigned to be a birthmother. Against all the rules, she spends time with the child she births and they form a bond. Through a series of circumstances Claire ends up on a boat in a storm, then washed up on the shore of a different village with no memory of any of it. When her memory returns she decides to leave the village to search for her son, and this is where it gets a bit bogged down. The description of her years of training to "climb out" of the village followed by the actual climbing out was very detailed and too long.

The Trader is back in this book, and we pick up the stories of Jonas and Kira again (characters from the earlier books) as Claire moves into their village and becomes part of their lives. And we catch up with Gabe, the baby Jonas escaped with (who is Claire's son) in Book 1. It sounds complicated but it does all become reasonably clear.

Although I found Claire's story interesting, and it was good to get answers to a lot of  questions left by the other books, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others. Toward the end the characters begin to feel more like clichés than real people, and the final resolution seems almost too easy after all the struggle to get there.

Overall I quite liked this series and recommend it to anyone who finds dystopian societies intriguing. 


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