Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Source: BEA

Summary 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 . . .


Messenger of Fear wasn't as epic as the synopsis suggests, but I still thought it was an enjoyable, and very unique read. 

Mara is the Messenger of Fear's new apprentice but she doesn't know what that means or how she got there. She can't even remember who she is and the Messenger won't give her that information freely. Her only option is to watch and learn from him as he serves out justice as one day she will do.  It's all a big test for Mara really, to see if she will come to understand and accept her new responsibility. 

Three different storylines are visited throughout the book, with the intent to teach Mara something different.  As such, the book pretty much hops around from one significant moment to another. There is no care for order in the sequence of events but this is part of what made it so great. Each storyline was very different and it was completely captivating discovering what events lead to others and what the consequences were. Even though I guessed at Mara's history about half way through, I wasn't any less absorbed, as there was still so much left unanswered. I think the serving up of information was nicely done. 

The entire book read with an ominous undertone to it and was downright scary at times. I think at one time I was so horrified I said that my nightmares were going to have nightmares. It also read with a dream-like quality since Mara and the Messenger transcended time and space, which I really liked. And it read very quickly. 

My only noteworthy negative is that, in the end, I didn't feel like the world was fully fleshed out or wholly supported. But I think this series has a lot of promise and I hope that we get to learn more about the other Messengers in sequels to come. Let's just say that the Messenger of Pleasure and Denial was... alluring. ;) 

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