I wanted to love this book, I enjoyed the rest of the "series" tremendously and I re-read The Giver annually. This story just fell flat. It departs too far from the themes and world of the others to even believe that it belongs in the series. If not for the common characters and similar social setting the entire story would be unfamiliar. If you enjoyed the series it is worth a read, but keep your expectations low. Not since the forced Sunday morning sermons of my youth have I felt so blatantly preached at. I rare miss for one of my favorite authors, when I re-visit this series next I will likely stop at Messenger.
Overall a good follow up to "The Giver", though it would be difficult to fully live up to those standards. The climax could have been more exciting, but the "anti-climax seems to be a Lois Lowery trademark.....great book for young audiences, but lacking the appeal for adults present in "The Giver".
I am not saying that it is great, but you have to finish the series! It would be like watching all of a movie and stopping 10 minutes before the end.