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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting sequel but we still need another!
I gave this four stars because I did read it in one session, despite my being exhausted-- Lowry sure knows how to pace a story and set up a world. Some thoughts:

1) It does help to have read the Giver and Gathering Blue. If you have, some of the offhand references have a lot more power. It's wonderful to meet up with Jonas (here called Leader) and Kira...
Published on August 23, 2004 by Gwen A Orel

versus
34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I want to shoot the Messenger
If you love and cherish The Giver, avoid Messenger at all cost! Even if slightly tempted to read it, just avoid it completely for the following reasons:

I've held The Giver in high regard ever since I read it 15 years ago. The Giver is not just a great children's book, it is a great book, PERIOD. It strikes a balance between developing the setting of the...
Published on April 5, 2011 by FilmPsyche


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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting sequel but we still need another!, August 23, 2004
By 
Gwen A Orel (Millburn, New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I gave this four stars because I did read it in one session, despite my being exhausted-- Lowry sure knows how to pace a story and set up a world. Some thoughts:

1) It does help to have read the Giver and Gathering Blue. If you have, some of the offhand references have a lot more power. It's wonderful to meet up with Jonas (here called Leader) and Kira again, and see that their worlds coexisted. It's also increasingly clear that this is definitely our own world in the future, for not only do they share some place names (in Gathering Blue) but there are references to Moby Dick and to Shakespeare. So it's not "like" Earth, it is Earth.

2) A society defined by how inclusive it is of outsiders is a great idea! so it was nice to make that a defining issue, since if you've read The Giver, you know firsthand how it is that people have a place to go.

3) But there are a lot of loopholes. If it is our world, how did it become so full of magic? The forest has a spirit all its own. This is an issue in the previous two books but it seems larger here. And:

a. who is the mysterious Trade Master? What's in this for him? Why is Trade bad, but market day not... do they have a currency they were using?

b. what has happened to the old society of Jonas'-- we know he got books... but I wanted to know more. it seems odd that he thinks about his sister, but not his brother. Unless his brother is referred to somewhere in the book by a True Name and I just missed it-- where the heck is Gabe?

These questions leave you wanting yet one more sequel! and that's all right with me, because I'm a fan of Lowry's-- may she go on writing these!

Raises some interesting philosophical questions, like the previous two, so I imagine it would be a good one to read with kids (I'm an adult).
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful & Suspensful, November 3, 2010
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This review is from: Messenger (Mass Market Paperback)
With this book Lois Lowry finishes her thought-provoking trilogy of "Giver", "Gathering Blue", and "Messenger." From two previous books the readers have already know something about Leader (from "Giver"), Kira, Matty, and Seer(from "Gathering Blue"). In this last book all of them unite to face the sinister force that takes over the Village and affects the forest.

Matty has been traveling back and forth through the forest to deliver messages. But the forest is changing, taking on a dark side, becoming alive with dark force that has affected some of the villagers who "trade the parts of inner self". It's not the same Village anymore - it no longer welcomes the newcomers. The village people vote to build a wall to keep the newcomers out; the vote prevails, and Leader of the Village has to give in.

Matty is changing as well, his change is new to him - he feels the healing power grow within him, the power he is not completely aware of yet. The boy decides to set on his last quest through the dark forest to bring Kira, the Seer's daughter, before the villagers finish building the wall. His trip trough the hostile forest turns out to be a life-threatening experience for both of them, and the price must be paid...

"Messenger" is a book about the utopia gone wrong. It's full of powerful metaphors that blend in with a great work of fiction.

Julia Shpak
Author of "Power of Plentiful Wisdom". Available on Amazon.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gonna send you a message, gonna write you a book., August 19, 2004
When "Messenger" was first published there was a bit of an outcry from the children's librarians/educators of the world. As you may know, this book is the third in the Lowry trilogy that began with her often-banned-but-never-forgotten-classic "The Giver". It continued with "Gathering Blue" and ends here with "Messenger". The point of contention comes because depressing suppositions made from the first book now appear to have been wrong all along. In this third book, it appears that the heroes of the first two books are alive and well. Go figure! "Messenger" stands as a book that ties all three in the series together tightly. It almost pulls it off too.

You may remember Matty from "Gathering Blue". Once a dirty gamin with a faithful pup and a dislike of baths, Matty has joined a wonderful community. In a world where deformity and dissent are punishable by death, a town has arisen that takes in and heals all people in need. Matty has lived with his blind guardian there for years and the two have grown comfortable together. Unfortunately, something terrible is happening to the town. People have begun to trade the deepest depths of their souls in exchange for less important objects and qualities. There is a growing movement amongst the townsfolk to no longer bring in any outsiders in need. Greed is devouring the good of the land, and this evil is reflected in the town's nearby forest. Suddenly Matty is sent on a journey of unknown peril to fetch his guardian's true daughter and bring her safely into the town. Worse still, the forest is preparing to destroy them.

Like the previous books in the trilogy, "Messenger" has a straightforward writing style that's appealing to read. This book is part post-apocalyptic, part out-and-out fantasy. I enjoyed how Lowry presented the xenophobic townspeople. Having grown comfortable with their homes they traded their best qualities and suddenly started to forget that they themselves (or their parents) had once been in need of sanctuary. I look at the illegal immigrants that enter America today and see how this complacency and will to detest those in need threatens to destroy our home as well. Lowry's book is easily applied to a variety of different situations. This is just one of them.

In some ways, however, Lowry has lost her storytelling edge. The book has a very simple basic plot, one far less encompassing than that of "The Giver". Still, I found it a worthy companion to the previous two. Perhaps the ending is a bit symbolic for my tastes. Maybe it will depress one or two children here and there. On the whole, however, it's a great read and one that (to my mind) is as applicable to our daily lives as its predecessors ever were. Some will like it quite a lot and some will find it a disappointment. I have found it a slightly flawed wonder and a joy.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book, October 22, 2004
I must say that after reading the reviews for 'Messenger' online while I was placing my order I was a little surprised at the number of people that didn't care for it. I have never read Lois Lowry book that I didn't enjoy. 'The Giver' and 'Gathering Blue' are two of my favorie y.a. novels. After reading 'Messenger' I fell in love with her writing all over again. It takes a great deal of skill to write a book that is on a young adult level, but is so well written, descriptive, and thought provoking to engross adults as well. Soon after finishing the book (which only took about 2 days) I quickly had coworkers reading it, also. I highly recomend this series to any parents of young adult readers, and to the parents as well. I feel that it is a story that all will enjoy. The best part is, the ending still has us wanting to hear more from Lowry. I can only hope that means this trilogy will be transformed into a fourth book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Messenger delivering a review!, March 9, 2005
A Kid's Review
Messenger by Lois Lowry February 14, 2005

Reviewer: Ashley

Have you ever experienced an alternate reality? Have you ever wondered what a different world would be like? If you have read the Giver, Gathering Blue, Number the Stars or the Silent Boy then you know Lois Lowry. She hooked me into her amazing books and she will hook you in too. Lois Lowry made up whole universes different from ours. She wrote Messenger as a type of sequel to the Giver and Gathering Blue. Lois Lowry made a future beyond our existence. She turns from historical fiction to realistic fiction to science fiction. I am usually not a fan of science fiction but her books just BLEW my mind!!!!!!!!!!!! Lowry sets a whole new goal for young readers.

If you usually aren't into science fiction or unbelievable genres...then you should think twice! In Lowry's book Messenger she creates a Utopia with no exceptions, injustice or conflicts (supposedly). How does greed fall into this village? This community takes in the sick, the old and the wounded. They help these people with NO questions. The villagers take the new in and accustom them to their culture. This village takes the stragglers and actually looks for people in need.

A teenager named Matty is a normal boy in Village. He has normal hopes and dreams like any other boy. Apparently there is something strange about him. One day Matty wandered into the forest. He usually does this, since he was the messenger of Village. Matty notices something strange...about a frog. He says this is a sign of something very important. He says this is secret. Matty had a normal life in village. However, he noticed the changes that were accidently being made. The usual happiness and bustle of the town turned into chants and riots. The usual greeters and joyful people were scornful and melancholy. How did this surprising and sudden change occur? Where did all the happy feelings go? If you read Messenger...you will find out!

Matty is on an expedition. He is posting the message everywhere that Village is closing down. No more new ones. No more helping and accustoming, j ust the greedy and mournful citizens that already live there. More importantly Matty is trying to bring back a girl that is supposed to be in Village. Her father is in Village and he misses her so. He has to hurry because Village is closing in two weeks. It is a long adventure but usually very simple. This time it's different. The Leader of Village says that forest is thickening. It got scarier and the creatures became hateful and barbarous. Matty was very worried that the gentle forest was changing. Matty and the girl scraped their way through. They got an injury every day. Instead of Matty strolling down the paths like he was used to, he limped and punched and barely made it onto the paths. Every time he cut something down, it would grow back up twice as fast. Matty didn't understand the changes. And he never found out why they were happening.

When I finished reading Messenger I had TONS of questions. I realized that having questions is what makes a good ending. This makes the reader think about what will happen after the book ends. What happens to Matty? Why is Forest thickening? What does thickening mean? Did the girl return to her father? Did Village close down forever? What does the frog have to do with the story? All of these questions can be answered by reading the book.
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34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I want to shoot the Messenger, April 5, 2011
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If you love and cherish The Giver, avoid Messenger at all cost! Even if slightly tempted to read it, just avoid it completely for the following reasons:

I've held The Giver in high regard ever since I read it 15 years ago. The Giver is not just a great children's book, it is a great book, PERIOD. It strikes a balance between developing the setting of the community and developing the characters and how they assimilate (or not assimilate) to the society. The much talked about ambiguous ending is fitting because a reader can interpret it with whatever pessimism or optimism they choose. The journey of reading through The Giver is one that I enjoy reliving every year since my first reading.

It wasn't until this year that I decided to continue that journey by reading the rest of the books in the series. Gathering Blue is seemingly unrelated to The Giver, with the exception of a brief mentioning of a boy with striking blue eyes in some far away village. In fact, if I didn't know ahead of time that Gather Blue was part of The Giver trilogy, I would not have even guessed it. Gathering Blue stands on its own since it does not touch on anything developed in The Giver. Whereas The Giver might be thought of as the future of western civilization as technical advances continue to contribue to the "equality" of society, Gathering Blue might be thought of as the future of non-first world countries where equality is achieved by barbaric means. And, like describing the Unites States of today and describing the Zimbabwe of today, these two countries, like the settings of The Giver and Gathering Blue, exist in the same world but their stories don't overlap.

Messenger, instead of creating it's own story from this expansive future, decides to try and link The Giver and Gathering Blue and does so in the worst way possible. Keeping with the U.S./Zimbabwe analogy, Messenger would be like somebody trying to create a new country with people from both the U.S. and Zimbabwe so that these countries might somehow relate. My analogy seems horrible, and rightfully so, because Messenger is just as bad for trying to create that link.

Jonas in The Giver and Kira in Gathering Blue have special abilities but they can be attributed to an intuition. It is an existential dilema and feeling that the characters have, which is not too different from that same intuition we feel as we grow and establish our identities and how we perceive our environment. There is some bit of "magic" one must accept in The Giver, but besides that, the worlds are relatively "normal" keeping within the realm of science fiction. Messenger destroys this and now these intuitive extra senses become full on powers. Character can heal wounds and see the future and the forest literally comes alive and kills people, making the story a complete fantasy world rather than the plausible sci-fi world.

On top of the ludicrous magic fantasy is the obvious and forced attempt at trying to link the two previous books. Messenger only serves as a means to that end. There is no great setting and no great character development as found in the previous books. It literally is nothing more than throwing an obvious symbolic problem at the main character so that he goes on an obvious symbolic journey where the main characters of the previous books meet up. Again, since the purpose of this book is to link the previous two, the characters in this book seem flat and boring and their journey seems rushed.

Upon finishing the book, I felt cheated. No longer were The Giver and Gather Blue their own unique stories. Messenger effectively ruins the interpretive ambiguity of its predecessors and does so in the most atrocious way. They are now linked by a horribly stupid magical world. I only wish I could unread Messenger to save myself from the utter letdown of having an entire world destroyed by a feeble attempt to create a cohesive trilogy.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series, May 11, 2006
Lois Lowry is one of those unique authors who has won the John Newbery Medal for children's literature twice. Once for the first book in this trilogy and once for a book about the Holocaust called Number the Stars. (Just as an aside only one other author has ever done that Madeleine L'Engle who I would also recommend highly.) I would begin by recommending any of her books; they are all worth the time and the effort. This trilogy is set in a post apocalyptic world. The first two books each focus on different community's who have recovered from the devastation differently, both have strengths and both have weaknesses. And a young boy must heal them both and the land if either is to survive.

The Giver

Lois Lowry

Laurel-Leaf Books

ISBN:0440219078

Jonas is a young boy who lives in a community with a lot of technology and many rules about it. He has only seen an airplane twice for planes were not suppose to over fly villages, it was against the rules. Children of the same age are raised together and each December they move up a grade, when the reach the age of twelve they are selected for occupational training Jonas in talking to his friend states about selections: "Jonas Shrugged. It didn't worry him, how could someone not fit in? The Community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made." However all the other Twelve's were assigned and Jonas was skipped then at the end of the ceremony it was announced that he had been selected he was chosen to become the `receiver of memory.' He was to learn all the history and story of the people and become an advisor to the council that ruled the village. It only happened every so many generations and only 1 keeper of memories was installed in each village. Jonas and his family take in an infant who is not maturing and growing quickly enough. The child is given a year extension, when the child is marked to me replaced (abandoned and killed). Jonas takes the child and runs away. Through the winter Jonas knows he will not make it and pours all the memories he has learnt into the child. But can he save the child? What will happen to him and his community? Jonas thought his world was perfect, that the elders had everything under control, that there would never be war again. But also a world without choices. Till he is given the knowledge of the past the choice to save a child or let it die?

Gathering Blue

Lois Lowry

Laurel-Leaf Books

ISBN:0440229499

Kira, is an orphan and she has a twisted leg, she lives in a village with very little technology and one that casts aside those who do not contribute. The weak, injured, and helpless are abandoned. However things are starting to turn around for Kira, she has been spared by the all powerful Council of Guardians, for she has a gift she is a weaver and can die cloths in ways no other in the community can. As an artisan she is installed in the palatial Council Edifice and spends the whole year working her trade, her primary task is to care for the Robe of Remembrance that tell's the story of this community. But with her privilege comes expectations that she will do the council biddings. She befriends a young boy and his ragged dog, Matty `The Fiercest of the Fierce'. Matt tells Kira about another village where people are not cast aside, where they share their food. Matt brings her a gift the color blue, and a blind man that is her father. She is torn between staying and leaving the life she knows, and the truths she can find out what will happen.

Messenger

Lois Lowry

Thomas Allen & Son

ISBN:0618404414

Matt has returned he is with Kira's father and living in the new community from beyond yonder. This village is guided by love and compassion, and guided by the `Leader' a seer arrived in this village one winter night many years ago on a sleigh with an older boy who did not survive the journey. The Seer can see the future and can often see for people what might be for his people. Matty is almost at the age where he will be named, he is hoping to be named `Messenger' for he takes message both in the village and to other villages which many can not do. But things are changing, the village is becoming hostile, starting to turn people away and the woods are becoming ferial and people are dieing. Can the Leader save the village, can the world be healed, what will happen to Kira, her father and Matty?

These three books will challenge you, after reading The Giver the first time I was overwhelmed and it haunted me for a long time. I went back and have reread it many many times. All three books raise questions about community, love, friendship, and care for other people. They also show dark paths that we as a people can go down, and how it can devastate all around us when we make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'll pretend it never happened, August 31, 2007
I don't think I'm alone in saying that the ending of "The Giver" was perfect. It left the reader with just the air of mystery and made it possible for ANYTHING to be possible.

So why, so many years later, are we thrust with a less-than-satisfactory story in place of our imaginations? "Messenger" seemed to me first and foremost a sequel to the interesting "Gathering Blue". "Gathering Blue" had little if anything in common with "The Giver". I didn't really associate the two with each other, yet here Lowry clearly draws a line between the two, one I'd wished she'd have left alone.

"Messenger" is not a bad book. It's just not particularly good either. It was simple, the plot absolutely calm, and there just wasn't a spark. If it was just a slightly bland story then it might be okay, but by trying to tie "The Giver" in with this book, Lowry has made it difficult to accept this book.

"Messenger" does have some positive sides to it. It was very fun to see Matty again, though I'll admit that he seemed a bit more bland here than he did in "Gathering Blue". He lacked fire and emotion, like he'd been tamed and dumbed down. He was more fun as a crazy, spirited kid, but it was still nice to see him again. It's also a thoroughly readable book, written in very simple language that means that just about any age group can read this and understand it.

In the end, though, I'm left with the feeling that Lowry has ruined something for me. I liked how all these years I was allowed to decide what happened at the end of "The Giver". Instead, Lowry has decided for me, and I'd really prefer she wouldn't. I'll pretend it never happened.

For fans who don't mind that "The Giver" is given an ending and really liked "Gathering Blue", "Messenger" may be a good book for you, especially if you like a simple style. There are aspects to this story that make it very good. On the other hand, if you loved "The Giver" as much as I did, I'd suggest avoiding this book and just accepting "Gathering Blue" as a standalone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not her best., January 25, 2005
Lois Lowry, Messenger (Walter Lorraine Books, 2004)

Lois Lowry has been around for a while, but she started making noise, and finally started getting the recognition she deserved, with 1993's The Giver. The Giver has since blossomed into a trilogy, of which Messenger is the third part. While Messenger is not the tour de force that The Giver was, it's still well worth your time. Many reviews, especially those that found the book lacking, have compared it to The Giver. I found it more amusing (and ultimately more satisfying) to compare the book to M. Night Shyamalan's recent film The Village, with which it shares both a number of characteristics and a number of major thematic elements. In comparison, the novel shines.

Matty is a message runner in Village, a small, well, village cut off from the rest of the world by a thick, and intelligent, forest. Matty is the only person from Village capable of traveling through forest at will, which makes him incredibly valuable. Something happens to Village, though; a person known as the Trade Master begins to visit on a regular basis, and as they visit him, people begin to change, gradually. Matty, is adoptive father Seer, and the village's leader (Leader, of course) see what's going on, but are unsure how to stop it.

The main problem with the book is that Matty is incapable of seeing a number of things that are right in front of his eyes, the seeing of any (much less all) of which would have helped the book along considerably. This makes it seem unnecessarily convoluted at times. Also, as a consequence of this, the end is clearly visible halfway or less through the book, and what should have come off quite nicely ends up sounding somewhat bombastic.

All of which sounds like reasons not to read the book, but Lowry's style and storytelling ability do keep the pages turning, and Messenger is certainly well worth your time if you liked The Giver. Just be prepared; you won't have the same experience. *** ˝
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to tie it all together!, December 28, 2004
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series of novels by Lois Lowry. Beginning with The Giver, then Gathering Blue and now Messenger, this is a fantastic group of books that can be read individually or in their rightful order. Not until I reread Messenger did I see how these three books fit together. The overlapping characters and themes make these great reads for older junior high and even adults. I despise those teachers who use these books in fourth and fifth grade classrooms. The students may be able to read the words, but they will not comprehend the idea of creating a utopia and the consequences inherent to that. Some adults can't truly "get" these books. The Messenger is a fantastic story that can be read and reread. I would highly recommend this book and the others mentioned above.
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Messenger (Giver Quartet)
Messenger (Giver Quartet) by Lois Lowry (Hardcover - September 25, 2012)
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