Mara wakes in a field of dead grass, a heavy mist pressing down on her. She is terrified, afraid that she is dead. Then a beautiful young man dressed in black appears. He calls himself Messenger of Fear.
This boy is able to move effortlessly through space and time. He also sees the darkness in human hearts. He sees the evils done: the destructive lies, the cruelty, the bullying, the violence. And if the world does not bring justice to those who do evil, he will. He offers the wicked a game. If they win, they go free. If they lose, they will live their greatest fear. Either way, their sanity will be challenged.
It is a world of fair but harsh justice. Of retribution and redemption. And mystery. Why was Mara chosen to be the Messenger’s apprentice? What has she done to deserve this terrible fate? She won’t find out until three of the wicked receive justice. And when she does, she will be shattered.
I didn’t have any idea what to expect from this novel. When it comes to Michael Grant I usually expect violence and deaths, mature content, insane characters and a roller coaster ride of emotions. I wasn’t sure if that would fit this book though.
With both his Gone and BZRK series he was able to shock me again and again and had a mind blowing story in store. Messenger of Fear didn’t excite me as much as those two series were able to, even though it did shock me like the two did. It’s not my favorite Michael Grant book, but still really really good.
The first 1/3 of this book felt so unlike any Michael Grant book. Usually I would describe his books as extreme but this one was lacking that, at least in the beginning. I did enjoy the story right from the start and was intrigued by the mysterious boy, the Messenger of Fear but it was just not what I’m used to.
Suddenly it started to get ugly though. It started to be just like I love it: bloody, gory, shocking and extreme.
This book is not just a story about Fear and random thrill to make this read as exciting as possible. It also deals with interesting and important topics.
This book shoes bullying at its best. It doesn’t happen often that I feel so much rage towards certain characters but this one definitely did make me feel that way. Bullying is a great part of this story and even though I’ve read multiple books about bullying before and have seen it happen in real life, it still made me speechless to see what people are capable of, what they do to other people to feel better, to deal with their own problems. IMO Michael Grant did a great job of dealing with this topic, sending the right message and showing all the different perspectives of the people involved.
The other topic that I think is very interesting is guilt and bad behavior in general. It’s about people who drive other people into doing things but will never be judged for it, never be convicted for what they did. Are they guilty? Do they deserve some kind of punishment and what kind of punishment? I enjoyed reading about this a lot, being in Mara’s head and thinking about these kind of things.
I was kind of surprised about the characters in this book. The Messenger of Fear is mysterious and interesting, a broken soul, and I wanted to know everything about him. Mara is even more mysterious though because we know near to nothing about her, even though we read this story from her point of view. Besides the Messenger’s wicked games and his harsh judgment that lead to bloody exciting and fearful incidents, getting behind Mara’s story and finding out why she is the Messenger’s apprentice induces you to rush through this book and keeps you up all night. And her story comes with an awesome twist!
What surprised me though was the connection I felt towards different characters. Even though Messenger and Mara have their shadowy pasts and I wanted to get behind that, it were all the other characters we get to read about, which I really cared about or caused certain feels. I can imagine that after the end with its surprising revelation, I’m going to care more about Mara in the next book though.
Messenger of Fear is a dark story that could have been even darker in my opinion. It’s a great start of a new series though and I hope that the next books will have even more characters who have to play the Messenger’s wicked games. Overall this has been a thrilling read with an interesting concept and I can’t wait to read more.