Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Tattooed Heart, Michael Grant

Pages: 390
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

Other titles by this Author: Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear, Light, BSRK, BSRK: Reloaded, BSRK: Apocalypse, Eve and Adam, Messenger of Fear

He is the Messenger
Be afraid

A group of people were walking slowly up the road towards us. Four of the men carried something, and I could already guess that it was a funeral procession.

“Why are we here?” I asked.

“This is the victim,” Messenger said. “Our business is with the ones responsible. The wickedness we pursue is not murder, but murder’s source.

It is hatred we pursue. Hatred.”

Messenger and Mara serve the balance. They seek out injustice and punish the wicked. But their world is changing and everything depends on the decisions Mara makes. The Messenger’s apprentice is about to face her greatest test…

I bought Messenger of Fear last year with no expectations, only the knowledge that I had enjoyed what I’d read of the Gone series, and it ended up being one of my favourites of the year. The Tattooed Heart was equally as brilliant.

In the beginning of Mara’s apprenticeship with the Messenger of Fear, she was mainly discovering what on earth had landed her in such in punishment, trying to get to grips with the new life she faced and learning the ropes of being a Messenger. In this we see her more sure of herself in the duties she will face, the powers she has the decisions the severe punishments she will have to dish out. Even though her confidence is rising, the surrounding consequences are hitting home. The loneliness and the expanse of time she will be lonely for are weighing down on her, affecting everything she sees as she follows the case of a young drug addict, ODing alone and desperate and a boy riddled with bullets in an effort to protect his female classmates from those wanting to forbid them from going to school.

I really like how Mara’s story runs alongside several smaller plots of the cases she has to follow to determine the guilty party and offer them a game. It allows issues such as abuse, racism, manipulation, rape, morality, prejudice and many others to be discussed without it feeling like it’s thrown in your face, although there are a fair few scenes that are still difficult to read. The realisation that you can never really know what the repercussions or chain reaction even the smallest action can cause is scary and really makes you think twice about what you say and do, especially when it comes to the feelings and lives of others.

Mara genuinely regrets what she did to take her on this journey by this point, but she still has some residual feelings that led her to that place: an overwhelming desire to be loved. And to love in return, of course. I really liked how that played out for Mara. She could easily have taken the route of selfishness and desperation to provide her with what she thought would soften the edges of her new life, but what she actually did really showed just how much she had transformed over the course of the story. It actually even made me well up a little! She suddenly became worthy of getting to the other side of being the Messenger of Fear, in the many, many years when that will happen.

The Tattooed Heart is a touching and bittersweet ending to a fantastic duology and though Mara and Messenger’s story concluded wonderfully, I definitely wouldn’t say no to more from them!


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