Messenger is the third novel in The Giver Quartet which I have been enjoying as I commute. Lowry weaves stories that encourage readers to ponder society, leadership and relationships. These novels are set in dystopic future time when life as we know it has gone. Communities have been set up and all function very differently. Messenger provides the links between The Giver and Gathering Blue and connects the characters from different communities.
This novel is set in Village and Matty is living with Kira’s father, The Seer. The community is struggling. They have always taken others in, healing and caring for them when they arrived from other communities often suffering from trauma or injury. The villagers are getting frustrated with the influx of others and decide to build a wall (wait a minute, does that sound familiar?? Has the US president elect been getting his ideas from a YA novel)? Knowing that Kira had always intended to join her father at some point, Matty sets off through Forest to aid Kira in her travels and they experience a difficult journey as Forest encroaches and becomes more dangerous.
Each of the main characters have special talents and receive some guidance from Leader (previously known as Jonas in The Giver). He had famously arrived in Village on a sled and was struggling with the decision to close Village which had been decided through a democratic process. Each character must use their special talents and work together to guide Matty and Kira through danger in their attempt to reach Village before the border is closed.
Published in 2004, well before the U.S. election, this novel has lessons and provides discussion points related to the politics of today. Readers can ponder the how negativity can build against newcomers when self-interest and greed take over yet appreciate how the special talents, kindness, bravery and care for others prevail. I have enjoyed listening to this series and have started listening to Son, the last book. I would certainly recommend The Quartet and encourage others to read beyond the award winning story The Giver and see what happens next!