With Messenger, the worlds of The Giver and Gathering Blue finally begin to weave together. Kira’s friend Matt, now Matty, is the protagonist here, and it turns out that the community Kira’s dad came from is the one that Jonas ends up at at the end of The Giver. This book was a little different than the other two; darker, in a way. It was also shorter, and I read the whole thing while I was travelling home from Orlando last Friday. As such, the details are a bit dim in my memory currently. But here’s what I do remember. Matty lives with Kira’s father, who they call Seer. And the Leader of this community is none other than our Jonas. This community has always been open to whoever wants to come and live there, but things are changing; people want to close the borders to their Village, and it all started with a visitor to the town: the Trademaster, who is arranging some bizarre trades amongst the villagers. Turns out they are trading away the cores of themselves in order to obtain things like youth and gambling machines.
Matty and Seer see what is going on, and they decide that it’s time for Kira to join them in Village—she has been in her old community all this time (it’s been I think eight years since the events of Gathering Blue), working to make that community a little less brutal than it was, but her plan has always been to leave there and go to Matty and her father. So Matty sets out through the forest to fetch Kira. The bulk of the novel takes place on this trip—and the evil that is invading Village is also lurking in the forest.
Messenger is the shortest of the four books in The Giver Quartet, and all the action takes place in a relatively short period of time compared to the first two books in the series (and actually compared to the last one as well, but I’ll get to that in a few days). I enjoyed it, primarily because it was the one where I began to see what Lowry was up to with this series. I could always tell that it wasn’t really a traditional dystopian novel: there was no one true evil force to battle against in each book, or any history of how things got to be the way they were. I definitely think that Messenger needs to be read in the context of the rest of the series, while The Giver stands alone, as could Gathering Blue. There’s too much in Messenger that depends on knowing the events of the previous two books. This isn’t a complaint at all; I’m actually glad that this group of books is finally turning into a series.
I’m going to close now, but I’m excited to report that the last book, Son, is my favorite of the four, and that I’ll be telling you all about it on Saturday.