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The links in this 3rd Instalment of The Giver Quartet to the first two books are clearer than between the first two, “The Giver” and “Gathering Blue”, in that the characters converge in “Messenger”. Matty, the little urchin in “Gathering Blue”, is now a teenager who has found a home in Village, with an old blind man, Seer. We find out the Seer is the father of the main character, Kira, who looked had out for Matty in the earlier book.
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 had been many years since Matt had left his birthplace and headed into the forest finding a village who accepted anyone, Matts friend Kira who was known for her embroidery stayed behind, Matt did though find her father and take him to visit, in the place they were born any deformity was left to die in the forest, this included any serious illness or just another villager who didn't like them, Kira was kept alive because of her sewing skills, she was born with a deformed leg
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
These books are so simple in language, and the plots are also quite simple but somehow strong and intricate. She portrays beautiful characters and human spirit. Not a huge amount happened but it was still magical. Looking forward to the final book.
If you have been wondering about Jonas, this book has the answers.
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.
Wow! This is the 3rd book in the Giver Quartet and it has blown me away (I am an adult reader). So well written, scary and gripping and a powerful allegory for the dismal state of humankind in the world today. I have read the books in order, the Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger. They are all so good but this one had me totally hooked and reading it till the early hours. Can't wait now to read Son, the last one in the quartet.