A Book Review: Messenger


       Lois Lowry, the author of the award-winning novel, The Giver,  introduces another community built by people after the ruins in Messenger, the Book 3 of The Giver Quartet. 

       Lowry once again underlines the significance of sacrifice for society through the life of Matty, the young boy in Gathering Blue.  Matty changed from being an untrained tyke to being a responsible and educated member of the Village. 

       Fairness, respect, and freedom were the values they wanted to foster in the community but greed slowly crept in as the people got deeply involved in trading with the mysterious trademaster. 

       A seemingly dark power overtook the hearts of the citizens, influencing them to close the village to newcomers. At the meeting, some people expressed that it was time to close the borders to protect their resources. "They have too many needs. We don't want to take care of them." The majority voted to close the village in three weeks. 

       Afraid that Kira might not be able to enter the Village, Matty went to fetch her who was still living on the other side of the forest.  Time was of the essence but the Forest was not cooperating.  Kira and Matty grew weak and wounded in the middle of the dark, gruesome forest, and Matty had to make a decision to save Kira and the village. 


       The Messenger is a well-written tale of a boy who had been living with Seer, the blind man who took care of him since he was a young child. The intention to bring his daughter home reveals his love for Seer whose wish was for her daughter to live with them in the Village.  The urgency and the danger of his mission made the story exciting but the ultimate sacrifice that Matty did was heartbreaking. Lowry made the story memorable. 

       The book made me see how greed and selfishness could change society. Why? The people who traded a part of themselves in exchange for a gaming machine or a fancy coat, for example, became more focused on themselves, disregarding the needs of other people. For this reason, they voted to close the border by building tall walls around the community. 

       I think young readers would enjoy this story. This is also a good material to teach them about dissent, responsibility, sacrifice, bravery, leadership, and love. 

Discussion Questions 

1. When you hear the word "messenger", what comes to your mind?
2. How important is the role of Matty in the community?
3. Leader said that our gift is weaponry. What do you think this means?
4. How did you feel when Kira and Matty with Frolic passed through the forest?
5. What was Matty's ultimate sacrifice?

Further Information

Title: Messenger (Giver Quartet, Book 3)
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 26, 2004)
Publication Date:  April 26, 2004
Print length: 194 pages