The Messenger of Fear – Review

Justice is our cause, not human happiness.

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant was an interesting read. What caught my eye first about this book was the tagline: If you are wicked, the Messenger will find you. I was lucky enough to win the book in a giveaway, and I finally got around to reading it. Though the storytelling could have been executed better (IMHO),  Michael Grant delivers a unique, thrilling story.

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…

This book had a lot of description. Often, it really lent itself to the story and was powerful in creating the scene; other times, and too many times for my own personal taste, it became tedious. At times I found myself re-reading sentences because the description was clouding the action or the scene. For example:

Kayla was coming down the hall with two of her followers, her primed-for-cruelty followers, her toadies, her co-conspirators.

Too much! Four different terms describing the same thing with no mediator in between, and my eyes are swimming. It was overwhelming in these cases, and that quickly became frustrating.

In terms of plot, I really liked the story. Things are revealed very slowly, but in a way where I was just dying to know what happened next. The pace was quick; there were no breaks in the plot and every event pushed the next one onwards, forwards.

I thought the main character, Mara, was a little slow. About halfway through the story, I’d already figured out something, and she was completely oblivious to it! And as the book progressed and the thing became glaringly obvious, I wanted to scream and rage like, HOW HAVE YOU NOT FIGURED THIS OUT LATELY?! I’m not sure if the author was making it so obvious to us as readers or if Mara just didn’t have a clue.

I liked the other characters, particularly Daniel and Oriax. I really hope that we see more of them in the rest of the series, and I did wish we got more interaction with them in this book. Mara and the Messenger occupied the vast majority of this book and while, duh, I did wish I could have gotten a better sense of the characters and the world they were in. The Messenger himself is an intriguing character, and we don’t really get anything from him, backstory-wise in this book, so I’m hoping the next ones open him up more.

Whatever this was, it was a test of my strength, my will. I would not be weak.

We will our lives in a shifting matrix of what we are given, what we experience, what we choose, and what random chance does that we cannot control.

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