I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.
And then the games began.
The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.
But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out … - Goodreads
Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant
Published: August 26th 2014
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Source: An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow. WOW. I am so so SO excited about this series! You may know that Michael Grant is one of my favourite authors. His Gone and BZRK series have pushed the limits of YA fiction in terms of graphic detail and thrills to the point of horror. This book does NOT disappoint.
The protagonist, Mara, wakes up surrounded by mist not knowing anything about herself except her name. I love books where you discover things as the main character does - Maze Runner anyone? I loved that series. The mystery is gripping. Mara heads to a nearby creepy church and meets the Messenger which is where her story really begins. Throughout the book, you learn little bits of info about Mara at a time - the Messenger controls her memories. Although this control makes the Messenger a powerful character, Mara isn’t submissive and does stand up for herself. We learn about her in terms of her reaction to things as well as her memories. I really enjoyed the characters in this series. You’re introduced to people from the Messenger’s world who are so fantastical and alluring but also ordinary people from a high school. I loved this contrast of the surreal and the mundane.
Like I just mentioned this book deals with a high school. Among others (love the multiple plotlines!) (so hard not to give anything away!) There’s this huge philosophical world of justice which the Messenger has to serve out but Grant also deals with serious teenage issues such as bullying, homophobia and teen suicide. I like how he treats both with depth and gravity, and interweaves one with the other.
Now the CREEPY parts. WOW. Always a highlight in his writing, the chilling elements of this book really are addictive. They are so unique that you can’t predict what might happen and there is a real shock element. At one part I had to put the book down and just be like WHAT DID I JUST READ. WOAH. It was crazy, gross, creepy and it is gripping writing! Grant continues his fantastic gruesomeness that he used in his other series.
There is a lot of mystery in this plot. On several levels. Who is Mara? Who is the Messenger? What is this world? But as the Messenger deals out a game in order to get justice, this book does also raise real questions about right vs wrong and does the punishment always fit the crime? It does make you think.
The reason this book is a 4 is because it did feel quite introductory. You’re learning the ropes as Mara is and at the end you learn a bit about the history/religion of this other world that the Messenger inhabits. Now that we’re familiar with this world, I feel like book 2 can really expand on the fantasy and the other characters to properly develop into something brilliant. There are several hints as to what we can expect in book 2! Oh, and there’s a twist at the end which is just superb.
Overall, chilling, mysterious and deliciously creepy, Grant uses the style of his widely successful Gone series to create a world with fantastic depth and raises real questions about right vs wrong. Highly anticipating book 2!!
Are you excited for this book or what? :D