Michael Grant's Messenger of Fear is a haunting narrative that examines the nature of good and evil in every human. Fans of Michelle Hodkin's Mara Dyer trilogy and Stephen King will love this satisfyingly twisted series.
Mara Todd wakes in a field of dead grass, a heavy mist pressing down on her. She is terrified, afraid that she is dead. She can't remember who she is or anything about her past. Is it because of the boy who appears? He calls himself the Messenger of Fear. If the world does not bring justice to those who do evil, the Messenger will. He offers the wicked a game. If they win, they go free. If they lose, they will live their greatest fear. Either way, their sanity will be challenged.
It is a world of fair but harsh justice. Of retribution and redemption. And mystery. Why was Mara chosen to be the Messenger's apprentice? What has she done to deserve this terrible fate? She won't find out until three of the wicked receive justice. And when she does, she will be shattered.
First in a planned series, Grant's (the Gone books) uneven paranormal story transcends time and space to address the consequences of bullying, violence, and moral cowardice. Teenage Mara wakes up with amnesia in a place set outside of reality; she learns she's meant to become the apprentice to the so-called Messenger of Fear, an immortal young man who judges evildoers and forces them to confront their actions and experience their greatest fears. Mara familiarizes herself with three cases, the most haunting of which involves a teenage girl driven to suicide by a classmate's bullying. But nothing is straightforward in Mara's new role, and she has much to learn about right and wrong, dispensing justice, and the transgressions of her own past. Intriguing mythology fleshes out Grant's concept, and the story concludes with a powerful revelation. Yet inconsistent internal logic (the severity of one of the infractions that Mara presides is out of step with the other two) and the unsubtle message about behaving with mindfully good intentions mar an otherwise absorbing premise. Ages 14 up.