"Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lowry moves far beyond message, writing with a beautiful simplicity rooted in political fable, in warm domestic detail, and in a wild natural world, just on the edge of realism." — Booklist (starred review)
"Told in simple, evocative prose, this companion to The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000) can stand on its own as a powerful tale of great beauty. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The Barnes & Noble Review
Newbery medalist Lois Lowry once again ushers readers into the hypnotic, disconcerting fantasy world she made familiar in her award-winning The Giver and its sequel, Gathering Blue, introducing us to young Matty, a boy whose role for Village is more profound than he thinks. Fraught with the same tension and subtle complexities of the previous novels, Lowry's third episode follows Matty -- who lives with Seer and doesn't yet have his true name -- as he keeps busy running errands through Forest and otherwise lives a youthful, carefree life. But Matty also has a power he can't explain, and when he understands that local attitudes are becoming intolerant and aggressive due to mysterious happenings at Trade Mart, the boy sets out to bring back Kira (Seer's daughter and the main character in Gathering Blue) before Village barricades itself entirely against outsiders. The novel crescendos as Matty and Kira make a heart-stopping, dangerous journey through Forest, and it packs a final punch when the hero summons his power and we learn his true name. The author, as usual, is a master at storytelling as she brings various plot threads together for a satisfying conclusion, leaving readers in this case with a bittersweet taste that will stay with them long after the book is finished. A must-have if you loved Lowry's two companion books, sure to be fodder for in-depth discussions. Matt Warner
Some critics objected to the unresolved endings of the first two books; others applauded. While Messenger may tie the three stories together just a little too neatly, it is still far from a sweet resolution. Up to the last anguished page, Lois Lowry shows how hard it is to build community. I suspect that many young readers will want to return to all three stories.Hazel Rochman
It sounds abstract and portentous, but Lowry's mastery of dramatic pacing, eye for homey detail and sly sense of humor combine to make this allegorical world seem far more real than the cardboard-cutout malls and schools of many a "realistic" YA novel.
The Washington Post
Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue. Matty, the scruffy thief from Gathering Blue, lives with the blind man called Seer and helps him around the house. Now an educated young adult, Matty delivers messages for Leader, the head of Village, traversing the sometimes inhospitable Forest. On one such mission, he discovers that he has the power to heal. Meanwhile, sinister attitudes begin to infiltrate his formerly tolerant Village-most notably in Mentor, the man who "tamed" Matty-and to threaten the principles on which it was founded. While Lowry intertwines compelling threads from past novels (readers discover what happened to Jonas, and that Kira also has a connection to Village), this story more than stands on its own. The author revisits some of the themes of her previous novels (the cost of striving for physical perfection; the benefits of inclusion), and takes them to another level. Because she continues to work in allegorical terms, her lessons about the effects of consumerism on society and the importance of knowing one's history never feel teacherly; instead, she allows readers to come to their own conclusions. And Matty himself, once a taker, in many ways brings the series full circle, becoming the Village citizen who offers the greatest gift. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 6 Up-Matty, who has lived in Village with the blind Seer since running away from an abusive childhood, is looking forward to receiving his true name, which he hopes will be Messenger. But he is deeply unsettled by what is going on. He has discovered his own power to heal others and learned of disturbing changes within his community. Under the gentle guidance of Leader, who arrived in Village on a red sled as a young boy and who has the power of Seeing Beyond, the citizens have always welcomed newcomers, especially those who are disabled. But a sinister force is at work, which has prompted them to close admission to outsiders. Also, it seems that Matty's beloved Mentor has been trading away parts of his inner self in order to become more attractive to Stocktender's widow. When the date for the close of the border is decided, Matty must make one more trip through the increasingly sinister Forest to bring back Seer's daughter, the gifted weaver Kira. On the return journey, Matty must decide if he should use his healing but self-destructive power to reverse the inexorable decline of Forest, Village, and its people. While readers may be left mystified as to what is behind the dramatic change in Village, Lowry's skillful writing imbues the story with a strong sense of foreboding, and her descriptions of the encroaching Forest are particularly vivid and terrifying. The gifted young people, introduced in The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000, both Houghton), are brought together in a gripping final scene, and the shocking conclusion without benefit of denouement is bound to spark much discussion and debate.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Leader came to Village as a young boy on a red sled, the remains of which are in the Museum, a symbol of courage and hope to all of the villagers who came from elsewhere, fleeing poverty and cruelty. But the utopian community is in danger and young Matty must make a journey to save his friend Kira and bring her to Village before walls are erected against outsiders. Told in simple, evocative prose, this companion to The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000) can stand on its own as a powerful tale of great beauty. Though it does offer connections to its predecessors, it is not a mere postscript to them, but something new and grand: a completely enchanting, haunting story about the dark corruption of power and good people using their gifts as weapons against it. Readers will be absorbed in thought and wonder long after all of the pages are turned. (Fiction. 12+)
Matty came to Village years ago when it was a safe haven. However, sinister changes are taking place. At Trade Mart, the citizens begin trading away their souls for their hearts’ desires, and a wall is planned to keep out immigrants. Matty must journey into hostile, malevolent Forest to fetch his friend, Kira, before Village closes its borders. David Morse’s smart narration and whispery voice never become overly dramatic. He doesn’t attempt to add personality to the characters nor intensity to their plight. This quiet, understated delivery insists the material speak for itself. Happily, Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry’s storytelling is more than up to the task. Matty’s story is as strange as the fantastical Forest and as engrossing as its companion pieces, THE GIVER and GATHERING BLUE. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine