Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Post Reading: Messenger of Fear - Michael Grant


Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant 
Series: Messenger of Fear #1 
Published: Sept 23 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books 
Add it on 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 . . .

#01 - Great concept not so great execution.

I can see why Michael Grant has a loyal fanbase. 

Messenger of Fear is centered around Mara who awakes with no memory of her past and no clue as to why she is here in this mysterious new world. She meets the Messenger of Fear who introduces her to her new world. 

Grant combines mythology, Gothic horror, high school drama and some philosophy in this series starter. In theory, this sounds like a promising combo. Sadly, Messenger of Fear failed to live up to its promise.

#02 - Prologue or series starter?

It's relatively hard to produce original content when it comes to the paranormal genre. Michael Grant did a pretty good job in meshing together the real world and supernatural elements in this novel.

But not even his fantastic world building could cover up the fact that this novel felt incomplete. Messenger of Fear felt like a mere prelude or a slightly long prologue. Grant spends all of the 300 pages working on foreshadowing and trying to set up the world that he seems to have forgotten to deliver an actual story.

I kept waiting for the main act but all I got was a curtain-raiser.

#03 - Who are you, Mara?

What I know of the protagonist, Mara(or the Messenger of Fear, for that matter) could fit a thimble. 

I did not give a damn about characters. The novel tells you hardly anything about Mara making it extremely hard for a reader to feel anything for the characters. 

#04 - Short, clipped sentences for dramatic effect?

I agree that sometimes a choppy writing style can be incredibly effective. But not so much in this case. It just didn't work for me.

It's quite evident that I seem to be in the minority when I say this but Grant's writing only added to the disjointedness of this novel.

#05 - Are we done with the cliches yet?

Messenger of Fear aims for deep moral ambiguity however, the forced dialogue and the overdone high school drama make it painfully evident that Grant is trying a little to hard. 

Add in the predictable plot twist plus way to much cheese (skull buttons on a black leather Messenger of Fear outfit? Seriously, Grant?) and you've got yourself a formulaic young adult paranormal novel. 

There is no doubt that the author has put in some commendable effort however, there is no denying that the execution itself is flawed.

I was expecting a lot as this is my first read of the highly praised work of Michael Grant. And I do seem to be the black sheep when I say that I found the experience underwhelming.

Will I read the next installment? Right now I'm leaning towards a no.


2 and a half stars

“He is not indifferent, that's the thing. His too-near voice that seems always to be whispering in my ear is held to a standard of cool detachment, but his eyes and his mouth and his forehead and the way he swallows all speak of reflected pain. ” 

You have done wrong. You must first acknowledge the wrong, and then you must atone.” 

People are free to make choices, even terrible ones. But when they make bad choices, when they do evil, then it may be that justice, fairly and ruthlessly applied, can show a person a new path. Justice is our cause, not human happiness.

I'd recommend Messenger of Fear if you have enjoyed Grant's previous work or if you are in the mood for a quick paranormal read with zero romance.


Are you a Michael Grant junkie? Have you read any of his other works? What are your thoughts on Messenger of Fear? 

1 comment :

  1. Aw, sucks that you didn't like Messenger of Fear! The concept does sound brilliantly intriguing and I'm used to Grant's choppy sentences - because some of the subtle messages he puts in are definitely inspiring - and I'll probably get onto this book. That's what reading six books of his writing does to ya, I guess. :D


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