Mara finds herself in a different world with a strange boy, old for for his years and slightly unreal, as her companion. Something is wrong and, worst of all, she has no memory of who she is or why she is here. The boy is revealed to be the Messenger of Fear and he takes Mara on a horrifying journey showing her brutal acts that have been committed by people in the world. He demonstrates to Mara how the role of the Messenger is to ensure that people pay for, or learn from, their acts. Eventually he will reveal to her why she is with him and what lies in store for her.
A different book from the dystopian, fast paced, adventure series that have been so popular. Mara does not enter into an adventure: she view acts of savagery or stupidity and she is made to consider why we act the way we do, whether we should be punished for our misdeeds if we are morally responsible for someone’s pain and what form that punishment should take. This is a book which makes you think and shudder – and will make you want to be a better person lest you end up facing your own Messenger of Fear one day. The fantasy world that Mara now inhabits is dark, forbidding, mysterious and cruel. I found what I was reading as repelling as it was compelling and now I want to read the next book.
The next two books in the series are The Snake ( a novella) and The Tattooed Heart.