Book Review: Messenger of Fear

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Author: Michael Grant
Published: Electric Monkey, 2014
Pages: 308
Genre: Fiction, YA, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural
Read more about it on Add it on Goodreads
4 out of 5 stars
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A thick fog that seems to be aware – sentient – surrounds her as she wakes up lying on her back in a field of grass, not knowing where she is, or how she came to be there, with barely any memory at all, but one thing: Mara. That was her name. She soon meets an unusual boy, with his strange clothing and voice that sounds like a whisper by your ear, who takes her on a journey that leads to a shocking revelation.

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect – it was more of a spontaneous purchase. This is the first book I have read by Michael Grant and I’m impressed. He has quite the imagination. I found myself thinking, what on earth is going on?  It is one of the strangest books I have ever read but completely fascinating at the same time, which keeps you reading. Interwoven throughout the book are moral messages – I think this is important. Messages of consequences to ones’ actions, second chances and that there is always another path if only you choose to see it and take it.

Messenger of Fear definitely has a dark side to it – actually it is pretty much mostly dark – and actually has a warning on the back cover saying: “Warning! Contains scenes of cruelty and violence.” It’s not wrong, either; there are definitely moments of cruel and violent actions, which actually had me cringing. A person gets DISMEMBERED for crying out loud! The cover has kind of a dark and sinister side to it, but done in a sort of ‘playful’ way, which makes me think upon seeing it that it is suitable for a slightly younger audience; however, after reading it, I’m not so sure that is the case – it’s gruesome, okay, people. Maybe it’s just me…

The characters are an interesting lot and you find yourself wanting to know more about them. The reader is right there alongside Mara, wondering what is going on? I liked Mara; I liked seeing that she had a conscience and was appalled at what she was witnessing. It must be awful to have to witness those horrible things and have no control over what is happening and to also at times, not be sure if any of it is even real. It is hard then to reconcile the image of this Mara with the Mara that committed the terrible actions that led to her being punished.

Messenger I rather liked and want to learn more about. He is the quiet type; partly because there is a terrible sadness to him, but also because he has become Mara’s teacher and wants her to learn things on her own. He knows first hand what a huge shock this all is, and is trying to make it a little easier for her. I can’t wait to find out more about him.

The style of writing I quite liked; it seems as though Mara was telling the story of what happened and sometimes would hint at things to come.

“‘Yes, Mara,’ he said with a sense of finality, as though now we could begin to understand each other, though I yet understood nothing. ‘I am the messenger. Messenger of Fear.’
It would be a long time before I came to know him by any other name.”

At times, I found myself wondering: if she has no memory of her life, then how can she remember that that is her favourite lotion, for example?  Her memory was slowly released to her in time, and maybe it was small things like that, that she remembered or maybe I’m just being nit-picky…

This was a fascinating and gripping read. Looking forward to the next instalment!

Anyone read this? Do you like books to have a darker side? or do you shy away from books with gruesome elements? Anyone read any of Grants other books?

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Messenger of Fear

  1. Another book (and author) I’ve never heard of! I’m really not an Urban Fantasy fan, so I don’t know if this would work for me. I don’t mind if books are dark (think Vicious or ADSOM), but I don’t like gruesome (thinks Game of Thrones). I prefer my blood and guts in TV shows, weirdly enough.

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    1. I get a little confused sometimes with all the different genres, but I’m pretty sure that it has a urban fantasy element to it. It has fantasy mixed with real life which makes urban fantasy right? On Goodreads it listed urban fantasy as one of the genres. Too darn confusing, lol.

      It’s not as gruesome as Game of Thrones – although, I’ve never watched the show, but I’ve heard things.

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      1. Haha, I’m so bad at genres. I always just assumed urban fantasy meant fantasy that takes place in a city, but I don’t think that’s true.

        Yuck, don’t bother. I’ve read the first 3 books and watched the first season, and that is MORE than enough for me!

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      2. I asked this question the other day to Asti and another blogger and they agreed with us that yes, it can involve a city aspect, and basically includes real life settings mixed with fantasy.

        Lol. Don’t worry I wasn’t planning on it.

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  2. MICHAEL GRANT IS AMAZING.

    He is one of my favourite authors of all times. All his books seem to have a dark side to them and can be pretty heavy occasionally. But in a good way. And his imagination is crazily brilliant. You should try his Gone series.

    I haven’t read this book yet, but I do want to try this one myself! I am looking forward to it all the more after your review.

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