Matty lives in Village, a Utopian society in a future world marked by “cruel governments, harsh punishments, desperate poverty, and false comforts.” The world around Village is filled with ignorance. In Village, though, everyone is welcomed and freed from beatings, hunger, and being kept from knowledge. Village is run by Leader, a grown up version of Jonas, from “The Giver.” When Matty came to Village he was taken on by Seer, an old blind man who helped him to escape from his past and become a better person.
Matty plays an important role in Village. He is a messenger, delving deep into Forest, the dangerous place that surrounds Village. In Forest the trees and plants are dangerous creatures that sometimes entangle people, strangling them horribly. But to Matty Forest has always been friendly, almost ushering him through on his travels.
Village begins to change, however, when Trade Mart starts visiting. At Trade Mart people can trade their most precious possessions for things that they think they need, such as fancy clothing, or a coveted Gaming Machine. However, there are dark secrets behind Trade Mart, for some people trade their deepest selves, their very souls, just to look prettier or appear stronger.
As more and more people visit Trade Mart they come back changed, with attitudes that Village never experienced before. They want Village closed to outsiders. No longer will Village accept the refugees of the external world, because the people of Village no longer want to feed and teach them.
Matty must make one last journey through Forest to deliver the message of Village's closing and get Seer's daughter Kira, the heroine of “Gathering Blue” to come to Village before it is to late. But Forest has changed. Now it is a dangerous place, full of evil and fear. Matty's only help is a strange emerging power that he can not understand.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Messenger,” especially after reading the foundation books “The Giver” and “Gathering Blue.” Lois Lowry has created a vast future world that embraces the greatest hopes and fears of today while teaching deep lessons about looking beyond the surface and never shunning others because they are different. “Messenger” is bolstered by its amazing world, but its characters are also attractive. Readers of “The Giver” and “Gathering Blue” will enjoy reading more about the main characters from those books, while Matty himself is an amazing creation that captures reader's hearts from the start.
I definitely recommend that you read the entire Lois Lowry science fiction series, “Messenger” included.
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