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Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant: Review
It's been a long time since a book on the shelves calling Young Adult, fantasy readers actually forced its readers to question their morality and even, at points, their mortality.
Before reading this book, however, make sure you are not weak of heart or weak of mind. As Grant tends to do, there are many gruesome parts in the book, so if you don't like gore or death, this book is not for you.
That put aside, this book was a fantastic look into the psychology of the human mind when faced with no choice but to decide another human being's fate. The book questions the morality of the main character, Mara, but also that of the reader. There will be some who read that agree with the actions that take place and others who do not.
Messenger of Fear: Official Book Trailer
Writing Style and Protaganist
This novel is capturing in the way Grant writes methodically--it is not the same writing he uses in the Gone series, but it is much more akin to poetry. It focuses more on description rather than dialogue or actual events. More often than not, the reader is in Mara's mind, attempting to help her figure out what, exactly, is going on.
Instead of reading about Mara, the reader joins her in the adventure, since they are kept in the dark just as much as she is, and when revelations come to the main character, so they come to the reader, as well.
There is never a dry moment in this book; never will the reader want to put it down. The suspense and intensity keeps the reader turning pages, holding their breath, begging to know what happens next.
As a protagonist, there are only a few moments where Mara becomes a bit annoying in her constant questioning, but in the context the reader can easily forgive her and move on. She's likable and relatable, as any reader is as curious as she is, and can admire her for her determined search for knowledge.
This novel will blow your mind. It will. Without divulging too much information, nothing is as it seems in this novel. It will have you second guessing yourself at every turn, both pressing questions upon the reader about the book and about themselves.
The Messenger of Fear
The Messenger is cool and intimidating, but reveals throughout the book that he's a human with a heart and compassion just like Mara. What's special about him is that he doesn't fall into the pigeonhole of teenage boys in YA; the clever, rude, arrogant, swaggering young man with a heart of gold that the lady protagonist discovers after hating his guts. The Messenger is not always a hero, he doesn't always keep his composure, and he doesn't lose his temper as easily as most YA boys are wont when people don't listen to them.
He's intriguing in an honest way--not because he's "beautiful and mysterious", but because his character is only revealed in bits and pieces, creating a genuine curiosity in the reader and not only in the protaganist.
Mara is one of the most interesting characters I've read in a long time. She's curious and stubborn, strong willed even in her darkest times. There are dark aspects of every character, and it's refreshing to see these dark aspects in the protagonist instead of the author avoiding marring the perfect image they've created for their character.
Do you think Mara paid for her actions on Earth appropriately?
Do you think Derek's Punishment was deserved?
Closing and Comments
Overall, this book was a fantastic look into the human psyche and raised great questions concerning judgement and payment.
I would love to see what others thought of the events in the book. If you vote on one or both of the poles, please comment saying why you chose that answer. With such a controversial book, it'd be a shame not to have a healthy discussion based on the morals questioned in the novel.
Thanks for reading.