Monday, April 9, 2012

Messenger - Lois Lowry

I have absolutely flown through this series.  It was just over a week ago that I savored the words of The Giver for the first time.  It's been only days since I read of Kira and her drastically different village in Gathering Blue.  It is here in Messenger that the stories converge.  Sequel does not seem to be the correct word to describe the two follow-up novels to The Giver.  This is where the term "companion" novel is perfect.  (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)

I knew within the first page that Messenger was a companion to Gathering Blue.  The hero of Messenger is an important character in Blue.  Matty (or Matt, as he is called in Blue) now lives in Village, the place where Kira's father found refuge after his attack many years before.  Matty has grown into adolescence and become an avid learner.  He lives with the Seer, who is Kira's father.  The most interesting plot point to me, however, was the realization that the Leader of Village is, in fact, Jonas from The Giver.  Lowry never comes out and announces these connections, but anyone who has read the first two books will immediately put the pieces together.

The message of Messenger (forgive my unintended pun) is one of selflessness.  The villagers, once renown for their desire to take in and nurture those in need, are now moving to close Village to any new outsiders.  Because of this, Seer and Leader send Matty through Forest (yes, all of these things are referred to as proper nouns) to retrieve Kira before it's too late.  In the end, Matty uses his gift of healing to rescue Leader and Kira from Forest and change the hearts of those in Village.  The healing is his ultimate gift, as he sacrifices himself to save the others.

Messenger has the same tone as its predecessors, yet it is lacking some of the magic Lowry gave the others.  This book did not pull me in the same way.  I was reminded for the first time in this series that these books were written for children.  Do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed seeing more of Jonas and Kira's stories.  Yet, if they had been absent from the story line, I probably would not have made it through the whole book.  Near the end, I found myself pushing to get through.  I am still eager for the fourth installment of this series in the fall of this year.  I just hope that Lowry gives it the same magnetism that made The Giver a Newberry winner.

Pages: 173
Date Finished: April 9, 2012

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