Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant, published by Electric Monkey on 26th August 2014
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...
I'm a massive Michael Grant fan so I was desperate to read this book. The Gone series introduced me to his incredible writing and jaw-dropping stories but was almost too amazingly good, making it hard for any of his other series to really live up to it. 'Messenger of Fear' was brilliant but I still miss the Fayz and the characters that I had grown attached to.
If you are looking for a creepy, shocking story which is all out gruesome at times then this is the book for you. Horror fans will love it as Grant doesn't hold back from inviting the reader to join Mara on her twisted journey. When Mara finds herself an unwitting accomplice to the Messenger of Fear she struggles to remember how she ended up with him. She gradually starts to piece her memories back together which leads to a fantastic twist about her identity. The Messenger himself has been appointed to uphold the balance. If someone commits a terrible act then he ensures that they are given the choice to pay or play. This leads to some harsh lessons being dealt but all with the expectation that the person will learn to be better because of it.
There are lots of interwoven mini stories and characters throughout the book whose fates unravel as the plot progresses. Some of these stories were actually quite difficult to read about, as not everyone gets a happy ending. What I love about Michael Grant's books though is that happy endings are really immaterial. He is never afraid to wrench one of your favourite characters away from you or to confront the reader with a difficult scene if he feels that it is right for the story.
The plot is incredibly unique and original and I really did enjoy it, even though it didn't quite wow me as much as some of his other books have done in the past. A sequel is planned but you will have to wait until 2015 to get your hands on it.