Sunday, October 26, 2014

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Series: Messenger of Fear (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal/Horror/Mystery

Subjects: supernatural, good vs. evil, apprentices, games, death, afterlife, fear, bullying

Setting: Carlsbad, California, and an alternate plan of existence

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Mara

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 260 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “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…”

My Review:  I just speed through this book. Woah. Wow. I’m speechless. But one this I will say as that I so called that plot twist about Mara. Maybe you guys won’t see it coming, but I guessed it about 100 pages before we find out. I seem to be right about big plot twists all the time.

Anyways, what a cool book. It was so fast and different from Michael Grant’s other books. It’s about 200 pages less than all the other books I’ve read by him. I loved the Gone series because of its uniqueness and all the superpowers, but Messenger of Fear is written in 1st person and has a completely different tone. It has a dark kind of feeling and deals with real world issues of bullying with a side of paranormal. It’s the kind of book that a discussion group might want to read and I’d definitely recommend it to high shcoolers that need book for a reading project, but want something quick and exciting.

The whole idea of a Messenger of Fear seems unique. I think that the named Michael picked for his main character was apt since Mara is technically derived from the mythological creatures known as Nightmares, or mara. If you’ve read The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett or the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, then you’ve come across this creature in YA already. The Messenger of Fear is like a Reaper, angel, mara and judge all rolled into one. The Messenger was once human and Mara is his apprentice because of some deal she made. Mara has no memory of her life before she woke up in the mists. The Messenger slowly gives her back some memory.

The story unfolds by the Messenger showing Mara scenes from the life of the OCD girl named Samatha who commits suicide because of being bullied. The Messenger basically punishes bullies or those who cause death or pain and are aware of it yet don’t stop. There’s a lot more to the story. It such a short book, the plot manages to feel complete. I’m still glad that it’s a series. Can’t wait to see more of what happens.

One thing to add: I love that this book mentions the actual publisher HarperCollins and that the character was going to be published. That's so cool that Michael wrote that into the book. Only other book I know of that does that is Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. 

Cover Art Review: I love that the cover is metallic and blue. The smoke and lightning looks awesome.

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