The Messengers by Lindsay Joelle (Narrated by Kaliswa Brewster, Ana Reeder, Zoë Winters, Alex Weisman)

This Was Between Okay and Good

3.5 out of 5 stars

I went into this knowing it was going to be a quick read – but it was an insanely fast read. I’m not complaining. One of the reasons I picked it up was because I knew I could start and finish it in one day and I needed a nice sherbet-like palate cleanser.

The Messengers is an audio drama – so going into it knowing that I knew that there would be scenes where the narrators would probably over-act and I was correct.  The opening felt a little forced and the dialogue was good but a little stilted. Once you get into knowing the characters a bit and understanding a little more of what was going on – this faded into the background for me.

The Messengers is one of those books that pack a lot into the subtext. There was a lot of stuff unsaid that stood out to me more than the actual words. Joelle wrote a book about racism and xenophobia without once every mentioning those terms. She wrote a book that made me think a lot about how certain things in the world are just swept under the rug once people get behind it. I’m a little sad that I didn’t write down a few of the lines from this book because a few of them really stood out to me.

One of the things that stood out to me was the non-swear-words used as swear words. It felt like a cross between a southern mother trying not to curse and just using a word that sounded so darn close that you should have used the words instead. “Fark” and “scrit” were used so much and were so close to the real curse words they were obviously replacing that at this point – just curse. I’m an adult, I don’t know if this was aimed at little kids, but when you do this, they also know what is going on. So either don’t use them at all, or use the real words. Society isn’t going to re-write curse words any time soon. Especially not to words that are so obviously close to the originals.

Overall, I thought that this short story had some good parts and some bad. It was obvious before it felt like it began. And honestly, I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters enough to care about the “pay off” at the end of the story. But, the story itself was good. The political commentary within it was good. It was insanely topical (not just the xenophobia but the fact that it’s a plague they’re scared of).  The performances were good. Not great and not bad, just good.

Book Description:

In the midst of a decades-long intergalactic war, a soldier and a messenger discover that they share more than a mission…while a runner and a refugee find an unexpected path to freedom that will link their lives forever. Performed with wit, warmth, and humor, The Messengers is an engrossing dark comedy about survival, connection, and the secrets that hold us together.

Playwright Lindsay Joelle was awarded a commission through the Audible Emerging Playwrights Fund, an initiative dedicated to developing innovative original plays driven by language and voice. As an Audible commissioned playwright, she received funding and creative support to develop The Messengers.

The Messengers by Lindsay Joelle
Narrator: Alex Weisman, Ana Reeder, Kaliswa Brewster, Zoë Winters
Length: 1 hr and 20 mins
Published by Audible Studios on March 5th 2020
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook

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