Have you done something bad recently? Something REALLY bad? Did you get away with it too? Then you better look out, because the Messenger is coming. He’ll offer you a deal. Play a game or pay the price. If you win, then you get to go free, but if you lose then you’ll have to pay by living your greatest fear. So what’s it going to be? Pay or play?
Okay, so I know this is the third Michael Grant book that I’ve reviewed on this blog, but this was actually the first one that I read. This is the book that made me look up and read the first two books from the Gone series. Let me just start by saying that this book was better. WAY better. I thought the concept was a lot more intriguing and thought provoking. The Messenger exists to create balance in the world. He brings justice to those that did not end up being punished by the world for their crime(s). Throughout the book the main character, Mara, struggles with the ethics of such a task. She finds that she’s been apprenticed to the Messenger, but she’s not sure that what they’re doing is right. It actually doesn’t seem like Messenger’s 100% sure either. That’s what I really liked. You have this really powerful character who’s fulfilling his purpose, even while he’s questioning it a bit. It creates an interesting dynamic and also helps the reader to feel more connected to him even though he’s some otherworldly being.
Mara was a good character. I liked her as a person and I felt my own inner conflict echoing hers. I felt connected to her. That’s why the plot twist towards the end really threw me for a loop. I did not see it coming. Without spoiling it, the twist is such that if the reader had been given this information at the beginning of the book, we would not have liked Mara. In fact, we probably would have hated her. The author did such a good job making Mara likable before dropping that bombshell on us. So even though it’s a pretty bad thing, we’re still rooting for her. Just genius.
This book came out last September and there is a novella called The Snake which I haven’t had the chance to read yet. Now, I believe there will be more books (at least one), but I haven’t been able to find out any information about when it’ll be out. But when I do, I’ll post it!
Note: This book contains some heavier themes including bullying and suicide, both involving teenagers.
Overall Rating: 4
Violence: Heavy. There are a couple of pretty graphic scenes.
Sexual Content: Moderate