Messenger (Lib)(CD) Audio CD – Audiobook, April 27, 2004
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- Publisher : Listening Library; Unabridged edition (April 27, 2004)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1400086205
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400086207
- Reading age : 9 - 12 years
- Grade level : 4 - 7
- Item Weight : 8.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.8 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,974,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The lives and the special gifts of the primary characters merge in surprising ways as the storyline develops in this fast-paced and urgent tale of courage and personal efforts. As the characters converge, the plotlines become clearer as everything now focuses to the final and longest volume.
This imaginative story is great for discussion, especially with younger readers, acting as a proxy microcosm of life and its many challenges and threats to dreams, hopes, and the best of intentions. Taught here is the need for a courage to go on despite the obstacles and adversities.
Although I enjoy the series, this is the least optimistic, as younger characters mature and face difficulties, disappointments, and discouragement. I find the ending abrupt, yet appreciate not having to wait for the final installment as many early readers did.
Now on to the last of the series and understanding all the mysteries yet to be revealed.
Lowry's second book takes place in a village where infirmity is bad. It is a hard life, but there are families, most poor, and if you are found to have a Gift, you are whisked away to use it for the village. The story revolves around 3 gifts, and in particular, a girl, Kira, who has a twisted leg and is a weaver, and a young boy, Matty, who does not yet know he has a gift. He goes to a special village and brings back the color blue, in the form of a flower not grown in Kira's town and Kira's father. This story does not particularly overlap with the first story other than to show a different village in the same world.
That brings us to book 3, " The Messenger". Here we are more thoroughly introduced to the village where Matty had found Kira's father. The village started as a truly altruistic community. Everyone was welcomed. Everyone helped everyone, and people, escaping other villages would find their way there. Here there is Leader, who later we find is Jonas from "The Giver". Matty and Kira's father, often called Seer as he was blind but "saw" so much, are also in this village. This is the story of Matty and the village. The people are changing and not for the good. As the people change, so does the forest going from hospitable and welcoming to actually being able to kill people. The village decides to close the gates to outsiders so Matty needs to go back to Kira's village as it is time for her to come home to her family. The journey is fraught with danger. It is truly a fascinating read. The imagery used to show the results of progressive evil using the people and the forest is amazing. It also begins to tie some of the book themes together.
For a young adult, it is a fun read. Lois Lowry does a terrific job of weaving a story, painting a complete picture. For adults it has such depth. This book along with the other 2 gave me much food for thought. I went right on to the fourth story to see how it was wrapped up. Not to give it away, but you will finally get a feel for how the world was through the three settings and the characters. You also get to meet Gabriel's mother and see her journey as well as young Gabe, who is now a young boy. Happy reading!
Yes, Lois Lowry has finally provided us with answers concerning Jonas and Baby Gabriel after the freakish, yet brilliant ending of The Giver. Thus, I will make it known, that Messenger has been my favorite read so far in the quartet; although, the page count is pretty ridiculous. I mean, 187 pages? Really? Okay, I’ll stop being snarky. ;)
While I acknowledge that I gave Gathering Blue a pretty low review, I will say this: The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger eventually connect beautifully. So, yes, please read the quartet in that particular order if you wish to experience the fullness of a dystopian relationship between the stories.
But what makes Messenger stand out between the other books!? The mere fact, that you are reminded that living amongst a community/family/city/nation is both beautiful and ugly, and how self-love, egotism and especially pride can easily corrupt and poison a society in its entirety. And who doesn’t need this friendly reminder? ;)
Sadly, history has taught me that when a society is overthrown by pride and corruption, a martyr is the most effective solution. While martyrdom may not always mean a physical death, (though that is the legitimate definition), martyrdom may be displayed by ones self-sacrifice in taking the blame for something they may, or may not have done.
IN A NUTSHELL:
» demonstrates what a controlled community looks like when its leaders make every effort to prevent division, controversy, misunderstandings and painful experiences from ever taking place.
» illustrates how a society can be gravely affected by its way of reasoning, and how living in such a society, one forgets how to care and appreciate one another.
» Exposes how a society, whose initial principles were founded on love, friendship, sympathy, compassion, friendliness can easily become corrupted by way of pride, self-love, envy and unforgiveness.
» A wonderful thought-provoking message that challenges the reader to live in a selfless way
» The characters were fairly engaging; I liked how the characters from Gathering Blue and The Giver all connected beautifully, and with their own stories too. My favorite character was the Seer; he reminded me of a Gandalf.
» I was impressed with the book! It was worth the read :)
3 THINGS I LIKED:
+ The personal convictions the story delivered; I needed the rude awakening :)
+ Messenger is full-on fantasy with a pinch of dystopia; not to mention, Lowry’s writing is wonderfully descriptive and thought-provoking
+ I received my answers regarding Jonas and I was quite pleased :)
3 THINGS I DID NOT LIKE:
- Though I received a somewhat detailed summary of what took place after Jonas arrived at The Village, I didn’t get enough about baby Gabriel; nothing
- The whole Trade Mart scene was confusing and flawed; I was left with unanswered questions
- The origin stories of both Jonas and Kira lose their sense of realism towards the end of the book; I felt betrayed :(
Top reviews from other countries
At the periphery of Village lies Forest, which is alive with danger, and which seemingly disallows passage to people who had found sanctuary in Village to go back where they come from. Matty has immunity from Forest and is able to navigate it to send messages to other communities.
The main focus of the story is on how a sanctuary like Village that is made up of immigrants begins to darken from its core and turn hostile to asylum seekers, with its inhabitants voting to build a wall to stop them from coming in. Matty notices that this change of heart has something to do with a Trade Mart where strangely for a barter trade economy, the villagers attend empty handed, but still manages to trade and leave the gathering with visibly darker traits. He has to race against time to convince Kira, who is still living in the community we saw in “Gathering Blue” to come to Village before the borders are closed. But in order to do that, he has to battle Forest, which starts to “thicken” and attack him and Kira.
For a young adult speculative fiction novel published in 2004, it is eerily prescient, considering the current migrant issues and what is happening in the US. However, it is a very slim novel, and while the writing is spectacular, there was too little development and I felt that Lowry all but glossed over many of the finer moments that could have really shone with a little more elaboration.
It was found that if a child had an exceptional skill their parents were murdered and the child brought up by the council, in the village where Matt lived now with Kira's father there was talk of closing the village to outsiders, Matt had one chance left to bring Kira to her father but the forest had other ideas
It's a lovely book, Matty, who we met in Gathering Blue, is now a teenager, and such a great character, he has matured and is just a very nice young man. He lives with Kira's father, who we met in the last book as well. This follows on from the end of the last book, and is the story of what's happening in Village, which yet another community co existing with the previous two.
I found it a compelling and heartbreaking story, every bit as worth reading as the two before it.