Review: The Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Messenger of Fear
Image from Goodreads

Title: Messenger of Fear
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication Date: 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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 . . .

REVIEW BY RHYS – Year 9

I didn’t have any idea what to expect from Messenger of Fear. When it comes to Michael Grant I usually expect violence and deaths, mature content, insane characters and a roller coaster ride of emotions. 

The first 1/3 of this book I felt unsure about where the story was heading, it was quite misleading. I did enjoy the story right from the start and was intrigued by the mysterious boy, the Messenger of Fear.

The story took off in the typical Michael Grant style I love  – bloody, gory, shocking and extreme!!!!!

The character of the Messenger of Fear was mysterious and interesting, a broken soul, and I wanted to know everything about him. Mara, the Messenger’s Apprentice,  was even more mysterious though because as we know next to nothing about her, even though the story is from her point of view. 

Besides the Messenger’s wicked games and his harsh judgment that leads to exciting and often fearful events. The story also made me curious about discovering the background details to Mara’s story. I wanted to  find out why she was the Messenger’s apprentice. These details add to the compelling nature of the plot, it induces you to rush through the book to the point it keeps you up all night in anticipation of uncovering the details you so desperately crave.

I will say Mara’s story comes with an awesome twist!

Even though Messenger and Mara have their shadowy pasts and I wanted to uncover their secrets get behind that, It was 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.

This book The Messenger of Fear is not just a story about Fear and thrill shock value to make this story as exciting as possible. It also deals with interesting and important themes such as bullying. Bullying is a large 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. In my opinion, 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 theme that I think is very interesting within the narrative is that of guilt and bad behaviour 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. I enjoyed reading about this a lot, being in Mara’s head and thinking about these kinds of things.

Messenger of Fear is a dark story that though 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 that have to play the Messenger’s wicked games.

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