Review Blog

Oct 12 2014

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

cover image

Electric Monkey, 2014. ISBN 9781405276221.
(Ages:13+) Highly Recommended. Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller. Mara awakes in a field of dead grass and is surrounded by yellow mist. She has no recollection or memory of where she is or if she is even alive. A church temple is nearby and she is drawn to it. Inside awaits the corpse of teenager, Samantha Early. Mara is then introduced to a young, pale man wearing a black coat. He explains that Samantha had in fact taken her own life. He is the Messenger Of Fear. The Messenger then shows Mara the events leading up to the untimely death of the recently departed Samantha and the causes of it. His goal is to serve justice by punishing those who have been bad and does this by offering to play a game; if you win you shall go unpunished if you lose you will be punished by suffering your worst fear imaginable. Mara is informed that she is in fact the new apprentice of the messenger; she must learn his methods by witnessing three cases of punishments.
Michael Grant's latest book is a fantastically crafted tale, where the reader is left feeling as though they can share the fears of the protagonist, Mara; it is as if it is your own memory slowly being recollected. Grant utilises all five senses and makes for a wonderful experience by starting the story leaving the reader wondering who Mara is and where she is. The mysteriousness of the Messenger himself will keep the reader guessing throughout the entire narrative and each piece of information revealed throughout the text seems like a triumphant victory of shock and awe.
This story tackles some serious social issues that affect individuals every day, including cyber bullying, homophobia, sexual harassment and teen suicide. Grant has successfully demonstrated the seriousness and severity of these issues without constantly preaching the dangers to the point of annoyance. Adjectives are used to create crystal clear images, which are bittersweet due to the horrors that Mara and the Messenger spectate. The way the Messenger reveals information on minor characters influences the reader's opinions and can make them loath an individual entirely but then they sympathise and come to realise the individuals are in fact victims.
Overall, Messenger of Fear is a sensational story and is almost impossible to put down. From firsthand experience I can tell you that many times I found myself reading this till the crack of dawn.
Corey Joyce (Student)

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