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Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear Series #1)

Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear Series #1)

3.2 9
by Michael Grant

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Agent: Steve Sheppard, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard. (Sept.)
VOYA (starred review)
Praise for LIGHT: “As a series finale, this book is more than satisfying-it is epic.”
VOYA, December 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 5) - Clair L. Brustkern
Mara wakes up in a mysterious fog that is almost suffocating. All her memories are vague and somehow indistinct. She is drawn to a church and feels compelled to look into a coffin where she sees a young girl who is about her age. Then she feels a presence behind her and turns around to see a curiously dressed young man. This person is the messenger, the Messenger of Fear. He has come to guide the girl on a journey of understanding of good and evil in the world. During this trek, Mara and the Messenger are not restricted by time or place. This allows the Messenger to show Mara certain events in peoples’ lives that lead to some pretty horrific consequences. Sometimes the involved parties have the chance to accept a challenge and, if successful, can go forward with their lives with no significant results; sometimes not. It is exhilarating to follow Mara as she learns how other people deal with guilt and innocence. Written from a stream-of-consciousness point of view, this book is a welcome change from the current dystopian young adult books that are so popular. Free movement through time and space helps make this story work. The idea that good and evil in the world are balanced on the edge of a knife is a motivating philosophy. Reviewer: Clair L. Brustkern; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Mara thinks she might be dead when she wakes up in a mist and finds herself with a strange boy dressed in black and displaying frightening supernatural powers. Neither Mara nor readers will understand what's going on until the final pages of this interesting paranormal mystery, but readers, at least, can have plenty of fun speculating about it. The boy, the titular Messenger of Fear, tells Mara that she is not dead but that she has become his apprentice—apparently by her own choice. Her response is emotional when Messenger shows her the suicide of a high school girl named Samantha. As part of her training, the Messenger then demonstrates his task when they follow a couple that commits a wrong, giving them the option of winning a gruesome game or facing their worst fears. Later, Mara will begin to understand what that choice means when she witnesses a boy being burned at the stake, a scene described in gruesome detail. But the story keeps returning to Samantha, and Mara begins to anticipate the punishment of the girl who knowingly bullied Samantha, literally, to death. Grant only slowly unveils the reason Mara is with the Messenger, building tension and atmosphere expertly for maximum impact. Readers will find that in the end, it all comes together extremely well. An unusual and intriguing puzzle of a book. (Paranormal suspense. 14 & up)
Lisa McMann
“The enviably cunning and ever versatile Michael Grant explodes on the scene with Messenger of Fear, a palpitating horror fantasy mash-up with a genius twist that blew my mind. I walked through O’hare with this book in my face—I couldn’t stop reading!”
“Grant explores bullying, family problems, suicide, and more, and several painful passages will have readers cringing, even as they make them think about what they would do in the same situation….a solid beginning to a series that is likely to be quite popular with horror and paranormal fans.” ”
ALA Booklist
Praise for PLAGUE: “Grant’s science fantasy thrillers continue to be the very definition of a page-turner.”
R.L. Stine
“The Messenger of Fear has a two-word message for readers: BE AFRAID. The nightmares start in chapter one and don’t let up. Seriously, this book gave me chill after chill. My message to you: Read it in a safe, well-lighted place. It’s fright fiction at its best!”
Carrie Ryan
“Mesmerizing, horrifying, and deeply thought-provoking.”
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Mara wakes up one day in a strange place. She is confused and scared by her mist-shrouded, grass-covered, pitch-black surroundings. She is soon approached by a beautiful young man who emerges from the mist and calls himself the Messenger of Fear. He demands justice for those who can not speak for themselves by observing their lives prior to their moment with him and playing a simple game of life and death. Mara travels with the Messenger across this unfamiliar universe to confront the truth of why she is in this unique world and what is her purpose in it. Grant's new series starts off with a bang and never lets up. Mara is a strong, relatable character who stands up for herself, while also regretful of some of the things she has done in her past. The games the Messenger of Fear plays with his victims are gruesome and graphic, which will delight those readers who enjoy a little gore and horror in their books. Even though the twist ending will probably be guessed by those readers who pay close attention to the text, it is still a satisfying one. The mythology of the world is sketchy at best and will hopefully be expanded upon in future books. This is a promising start to a series with a truly unique concept.—Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn Public Library

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Messenger of Fear Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Grant author of Front Lines, the Gone series, the Messenger of Fear series, and the Magnificent Twelve series, has spent much of his life on the move. Raised in a military family, he attended ten schools in five states, as well as three schools in France. Even as an adult he kept moving, and in fact he became a writer in part because it was one of the few jobs that wouldn’t tie him down. His fondest dream is to spend a year circumnavigating the globe and visiting every continent. Yes, even Antarctica. He lives in California with his wife, Katherine Applegate, and their two children. You can visit him online at www.themichaelgrant.com.

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Messenger of Fear 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MonicaEmme More than 1 year ago
I expected one thing, but this book delivered a different story. I was a little disappointed at first, but as the book progressed, and honestly in parts made me think it should be in the horror section rather than the YA, I ended up liking it the way it was. I didn't fall in love with this book, but I did like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a adult and college age book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too graphic and gory
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite of his, although picking my favorite Grant book would be hard. I love his style. The heart, the love, the terror, and complete willingness to destroy loved characters. I think he is brilliant, and I can not wait to read more of his work. I read the Gone and BZRK books, loved them all. Thank you Michael Grant!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its okay. Nothing mind blowing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael Grant is an excellent author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read his other series, 'Gone' and absolutely loved it! This book however was nothing like Gone, and was a complete disappointment. He does not jump around different characters, but instead focuses on one girl who is completely confused and dazed throughout the entire book. He takes a long time to reveal any true information, and I found it to drag on throughout the entire book. The pace is slow, and the book, only being 150 pages, left me felling like I had discovered nothing by the end of the book. In all, I would not recommend this book. The Gone series was much more developed and interesting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of fantasy messiah scifi and odd ends you will like this book. However it is rated as a YA which to me means simple words and short because they are not use to actually reading more than a few sentences at a time. Buska