Review Blog

Dec 16 2015

The tattooed heart by Michael Grant

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Messenger of Fear bk. 2. Electric Monkey, 2015. ISBN 9781405280778
(Age: Middle - Upper secondary) The Tattooed Heart is the second instalment in Michael Grant's Messenger of Fear series. Following on from the eponymous opening novel, this second volume continues the violent game playing story in an often compelling horror fantasy. The Messenger of Fear exists to punish the bad, the evil, the truly wicked in this society and the book is full of juicy examples, some topical others archetypal.
The twist in The Tattooed Heart is delivered by the development Mara's character as she shadows The Messenger in his grisly task. All the best novelistic fodder is here; life, death, betrayal, redemption and big moral questions are posed. As Mara becomes more intimately involved in the Messenger's work she starts to question her own motives and desires. Ultimately striving to care in a hate-filled world drives the (tattooed) heart of this clever, thought-provoking novel.
There are of course clear dystopian tropes here and fans of Stephen King and Richard Matheson will find much to entertain and ponder. It is perhaps here that Michael Grant takes inspiration more so than the most recent young adult dystopian stories. More Running Man than Hunger Games; more I Am Legend than Divergent or Maze Runner, The Tattooed Heart is suitable for the middle to upper Senior School age group. Younger and more sensitive readers beware!
Stephen Bull

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