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20 February 2010 @ 11:36 pm
Book Review: "The Messenger" by Lois Lowry  
Messenger book cover by Lois LowryReading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf, a division of Random House (2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0-440-23912-5

Synopsis from back cover:
For the past six years, Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of
Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Once Village was a place that welcomed
newcomers and offered hope and homes to people fleeing poverty and cruelty. But something sinister has seeped into Village, and the people have voted to close it to  outsiders. All along, Matty has been invaluable as a messenger between Village and other communities. He hopes someday to earn the name of Messenger. Now he must make one last journey through the treacherous Forest to spread the message of  Village's closing and convince Kira, Seer's daughter, to return with him. Matty's only weapon against his increasingly dangerous surroundings is a secret power he unexpectedly discovers within himself. He wants to heal the people who have nourished his body and spirit and is willing to offer the greatest gift and pay the ultimate price.

My Review:

Once again Lowry creates an intriguing world in just a few pages. Messenger has a world very much like our own in its inhabitants, but it contains elements of magic and gifts that our world simply does not have. The writing style of Lowry is to the point, but elegant in detail, and offers just the right amount of pacing for the story.

The thin story can be read quickly, even in a single setting for those who can manage 192 pages in a single setting. Furthermore, for those who don't know like I didn't, Messenger includes Jonas, the main character of The Giver. Though it is briefly mentioned, Lowry doesn't explain in detail about what has happened to Jonas' old home from The Giver

The conclusion of Messenger is very similar to The Giver in that it seems to end too quickly, perhaps even abruptly. However, for anyone who enjoyed The Giver, the Messenger may also prove to be just as enjoyable, unless you enjoyed the ambiguity of Jonas' survival/dream state that was possible at the end of The Giver. Apparently, Gathering Blue comes between The Giver and Messenger in case you want to read them in order.

Overall score: 4/5 for creative worlds, rich story telling, but abrupt ending

x-posted here.