Messenger, by Lois Lowry

How the world ends: The same unspecified Ruin as in Gathering Blue and The Giver

Even more compelling than books about the end of the world, to me, are books about healing the ruined world. It’s clear from the start of this book that its world needs healing, and it’s also clear that there’s someone who may be up for the job. All of which means, this could have been a book that I loved.

Instead, I think this is the weakest of these three books. The price for healing the world is at once terribly high (which is okay) and yet terribly easy (which isn’t). There needed to be more setup, more slow realization of what has to happen, more hesitation or at least fear as the price becomes clear,
and, in the end, a little more time to see the effects of the healing and its price rippling out to the characters we’ve come to care about. (And yes, I’ve resigned myself to the reappearance of the character who shouldn’t be here by my reading of The Giver. It helps to just sort of think of him as some other random character who just happens to have a lot in common with that one.)

In the end we never even have a hint of how the world came to be a place in need of healing. Not that we need to know how civilization collapsed–easy enough to believe in that–but we never find out how magic found its way into the world that emerged from those ruins, either. After all, Gathering Blue makes clear that the world has a history of collapses, and we know from our own history (because I’m assuming this is our world) that magic never rose up out of any of the other ruins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *