Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Messenger - Lois Lowry

Messenger by Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quarter #3
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on August 22, 2006
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 169
Read From: 2.25.12 - 2.26.12

Six years earlier, Matty had come to Village as a scrappy and devious little boy. Back then, he liked to call himself "the Fiercest of the Fierce," but since that time, Matty had grown almost into a man under the care of Seer, a blind man whose special sight had earned him the name. Now Matty hopes that he will soon be given his true name, and he hopes it will be Messenger. But strange changes are taking place in Village. Once a utopian community that prided itself on its welcome to newcomers, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the only people able to safely travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village's closing and try to convince Seer's daughter, Kira, to return with him before it's too late. But Forest has grown hostile to Matty too, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he cannot yet explain or understand.


This installment definitely has a darker and more ominous feel than the other two, which I liked, and the connection of The Giver is finally made in this one. In Gathering Blue, I didn't understand how it was a sequel to The Giver, but that is fixed in Messenger. And the characters, new and old, are all wonderful in this one, too. Matty has grown from a mischievous little boy to a young man who still has a mischievous streak to him, but also a very gentle nature behind it. We once again meet with Kira, and we get to know her father better, as well as the other inhabitants of Village - a seemingly perfect community, where there are no prejudices, no hate, no fear, and everyone is willing to help their neighbors. But of course things don't stay that way.

And that's where the weird factor comes in. Of course, the other two were weird as well. But this one was infinitely weirder. People are selling their "deepest selves" to a man called Trademaster for sometimes frivolous things or their innermost heart's desires. And by selling their "deepest selves," they sell their humanity; they sell who they are. And by degrees, they turn mean and selfish, and soon people in the community are voting to close down Village to outsiders, lest they have to share. What bothered me is: it's never explained who exactly Trademaster is and why he wants people's deepest selves. And it's never explained why Forest turns on Matty specifically. Or even why Forest turns at all. It's possible I missed the explanation behind Forest's sudden viciousness - there is a small passage that suggests that it's connected to what's happening in Village, but it's a pretty vague explanation.

I came away from this installment properly creeped out, which I liked, but also a little disappointed and perplexed, which I didn't like.

Others in The Giver Quartet:
1)The Giver
2)Gathering Blue

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