Home / Book Review / Dark New Series | Book Review: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Dark New Series | Book Review: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Messenger of Fear is perfect for fans of Gone Girl or Mortal Danger.

Book Review: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Goodreads | Amazon | Michael Grant’s Website

messenger-of-fear-michael-grant book review

Title & Author: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Dark, Paranormal

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Series: Messenger of Fear #1

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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 . . .”

A Dark Ride

The mind of Michael Grant is a dark, dark place. It also happens to to be the place of great ideas and interesting characters.

I first heard about Messenger of Fear from Michael himself! I was at a HarperTeen BEA party in May, and he was telling several of the attendees about this new series. My interest was piqued immediately, and I was fortunate enough to snag an ARC.

Right away, the story is immersive. Mara wakes up in a field, sees a girl kill herself and then meets the Messenger. It’s a bit confusing at first, but the pieces quickly fall into place.

The whole idea that people who have committed some wrong against others must play a game to avoid punishment was an interesting one. The mystery surrounding Mara was so great too.

Why’s she bound to follow the Messenger? Who is he really and how did he become the Messenger?

Not all of the questions are answered in this book (in fact a ton aren’t even remotely touched), but one can hope the following books (at least 3) will tie things up a bit more.

Readers Beware

Note: Messenger of Fear has some graphic violence descriptions, implied sex and centers around one girl’s story of suicide.

I was surprised at how short Messenger of Fear was. It clocks in at 260 pages. And, to be honest, I wished it had been a bit longer and had a bit more character and story development.

I finished the book thinking…”Wait, what really happened?” There doesn’t need to be a lot of action for a story to be interesting or well-paced, but I think this book could have been a little “more” with additional info about Mara, the Messenger and other themes.

I was also thrown off at times by the writing style. There’s an third-person omniscient point of view, but with some additions of “I would later learn that…” or “In time, I’d realize…” It was off-putting but not a deal breaker.


This book definitely surprised me. I’m not one for graphic violence or super dark themes, but I found myself interested in Mara’s journey and plagued with questions about the Messenger himself. Although I wished more had developed in the Messenger of Fear, I’m a sucker for an unsolved mystery because I definitely will be tuning in for the next book in this new YA paranormal series!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I will need to be in the right mood to read this one, but I just got a copy of it and I am excited to read it.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs