Book Review: The Last Messenger of Zitol

September 15, 2016

The Last Messenger of Zitol
Chelsea Dyreng
304 pages
ARC from the publisher

From the Publisher:

When Rishi is kidnapped and taken to Zitól, she faces an unthinkable future: she is to be sacrificed to appease the gods. To survive in this place, where greed, lust, and fear eclipse compassion, Rishi befriends the selfish and ignorant king, only to discover that he may not have the power to save her after all.


Rishi is a character that I can love from the very beginning.  She is likeable, and strong, but makes mistakes.  Rishi’s relationship with her brothers and her grandfather, established early on in the book, is one that makes me smile and love her and her family from the first page.  Rishi is then kidnapped and taken to Zitol, where she is selected to be the last messenger, which means she will be sacrificed in a years time.  There she meets the voice of the story, Nadel.  I loved reading and watching Nadel’s character grow and develop into a stronger person throughout the story.  His story of change was such a significant part of this story.  I love Dyreng’s ability to create such amazing characters in such a short amount of time.  There are characters that I love and hate and from the very beginning.

My readers probably already know, I read a lot of books I like.  I read a lot of books I love. AT this point in my reading life, I am pretty good at selescting books that I alreayd know I will enjoy.  But then there are books like Chelsea Dyreng’s that I adore.  Books that will stay with me.  I read her first novel, The Cenote this spring and fell in love with her writing. (you can read my review for that book here) She has a talent for weaving these amazing stories that teach powerful lessons and leave you thinking long past you’ve finished the book.  Her books are ones that I cannot put down, but at the same time want to read slowly and savor.  They have such thought-provoking lessons.

I think this is one of the main reasons that I love Dyreng’s books so much.  That she can take these  really sensitive subjects and lessons and weave them into a story.  The Last Messenger touches on intimacy, virtue, love and hope.  It touches on what beauty really is.  And how we can define it. It touches on redemption and change.  On peer pressure and doing what everyone else is doing, and the difference between what is right and what feels right.


There are hard, heinous parts of this book too.  There is rape.  There is murder. There is horrible crime and parts that I just cried in pain for these characters and what they were witnessing But all of it in a way that I still would feel comfortable suggesting this to a mother/teen daughter book club.  I would still rate this a clean book.  There are scenes that made me sad and scenes that made me laugh and cry.  It was written in a way that didn’t make me want to put it down. This will be one that I read time and time again.

I think the hardest part for me when talking about her books is describing them to people in such a way that they understand just how good they are, without giving everything away. To that I just say, read them. If you have a book club, read them.  If you don’t, read them.  I received an electronic advanced copy of this book, but after finishing it, I immediately ordered a hard copy on Amazon too for my library.  Because this book is THAT good.  This book and Dyreng’s other book are both amazing and at the top of my favorite books for this year.

Final Score:

5 stars

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