[review] Messenger by Lois Lowry

Warning: Possible spoilers for The Giver and Gathering Blue.

Living in Village with Seer, Matty has learned not to steal, swear, or lie. He can’t seem to stop keeping secrets, however, especially when it has to do with a mysterious power he can’t control. He’s not the only one keeping secrets. Village is growing as twisted as Forest as the mysterious Trade Market gains prominence. Can Mattie help Leader save Village before it’s too late?


Messenger by Lois Lowry started out strong, but the ending left me feeling confused and unsatisfied. Even more than The Giver and Gathering BlueMessenger contains a high quantity of magic realism. However, the sheer amount of unanswered questions made it impossible for me to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the end of the story, which coloured my opinion of the rest of the novel.

Matty was one of my favourite characters from Gathering Blue, so I was happy to see him in the primary role for Messenger. Matty is still prideful and mischievous. His interactions with Seer are infused with kindness, and it made me happy to see Matty in a place where he could finally be loved and appreciated. The book is short, so there wasn’t time to go into as much characterization and character develop as I might have liked, but I think Lowry did a good job of it considering.

The setting, like the previous two novels of this quartet, is interesting and (mostly) realistic. Once again darkness lurks behind the veneer of goodness. This could very well be a metaphor for humanity itself, and the repeated theme remains valid to me. As always, I wish I could see more of the setting as it feels like only a glimpse of a much fuller world.

This “glimpse” feeling is something that really bothered me about the book. As the story is primarily from Matty’s perspective, the reader isn’t really allowed to see what is going on. While this kind of mystery is interesting, there are events that take place at the ending that we are just supposed to accept, and I don’t. I don’t accept this ending. I want some kind of explanation as to why…why. Why did it end that way? What was going on all along? And if I was certain of receiving answers in Son, I might be a little more lenient to Messenger, but I don’t feel like I’ll receive the answers there either.

While the story was well-constructed so that I can respect it from a writing perspective, as a reader I am seriously upset and cannot say I enjoyed the experience.

Don’t just take my word for it!

“The story leaves open holes that can either frustrate the reader or leave the reader to imagine the missing portion. ” – Jandy’s Books

“Like with the other books in the trilogy, it’s good choice for young readers – especially if they are interested in fantasy, magical realism or dystopian/utopian.” Jules’ Book Reviews

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Messenger…” – InkWeaver Review

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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2 Responses to [review] Messenger by Lois Lowry

  1. Angel says:

    I liked all the books in the series (and Son was really good imo), but I do think Messenger had the weakest story. It felt rushed and I think if it had been longer, the mysteries would have made more sense even if Lowry didn’t explain every bit.

    • megtao says:

      Yeah, I don’t need everything explained, but if you’re going to start throwing in some magic realism after it’s been a dystopian series…like for example Forest. In Gathering Blue there were hints that Forest wasn’t dangerous and it was the same in Messenger, but obviously Forest is very, very danger. The contradiction was frustrating.

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