The Tattooed Heart (Messenger of Fear #2)

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4.7
 
5.0 (1)
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Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 22, 2015
ISBN
978-0062207432
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The games continue in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's sequel to Messenger of Fear—a haunting tale for fans of Stephen King that combines fantasy with real-world horror stories. Mara has learned to punish the wicked as the Messenger's apprentice. Those who act out of selfishness and greed, and others who become violent because of prejudice and hate, pay the ultimate price. But Mara is constantly reminded that Messengers are serving their own kind of punishment—for every person who is offered justice, they wear a tattoo that symbolizes the heart of the crime. As Mara delves deeper into her harsh reality she will discover that in spite of all the terror she and Messenger inflict, caring in this world is the hardest part of all.

Editor reviews

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Gripping novel full of darkness and delicious characters
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
In this sequel to Messenger of Fear, Mara continues her training to become the Messenger. She discovers more about this dark and complex world to which she now belongs, and she learns the depth of the burden she must carry. Nothing appears in black and white anymore as she and the Messenger delve out punishments, and Mara must decide if her decision is too much for her to take.

What I Loved:
There is something so intriguing about dark stories for me. Give me wicked characters, moral ambiguity, and serious conflict, and I’m yours. This series repeatedly captures me with the rich darkness of the characters and the world. Absolutely nothing falls 100% onto the good or evil side, and it is so easy to get lost in this strange setting where time and space bend as easily as first impressions.

Mara’s journey in The Tattooed Heart begins right where the first novel left off, soon after she discovers why she is the Messenger’s apprentice. Her growth is wonderful, and I love how she continuously questions herself. She starts to acknowledge where she faults but finds conviction in being as true to herself as possible. Her relationship with the Messenger is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time, and the final scenes are prime crying material, full of tragedy, sacrifice, and a strangely perfect kind of peace.

Sometimes after reading a book, I find myself desperate to connect with the characters more. While I love Mara and the Messenger, the seductive, mystical, and mysterious world is what makes me yearn for more the most. There are secrets uncovered in this novel, but it’s clear there is much to learn about this engaging setting, and I can’t wait to find out more secrets.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Occasionally, Mara will say something as if she is sharing this story in the future. The instances between those comments are long, making them feel a bit awkward and out of place. They sometimes come across as an attempt to keep the reader’s interest, but the story is so engaging that it feels unnecessary. However, this is a completely minor note, and I could see this making more sense and fitting in better later in series.

Final Verdict:
The Tattooed Heart stands out magnificently with its dark themes, complex characters, and riveting plot lines. Michael Grant works mysterious magic in this complex story and is sure to leave readers desperate for more.
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Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
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Tattooed Heart
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
First of all, I read anything Michael Grant writes based on his name alone. I think he's one of the King Midases of YA literature--everything he writes is phenomenal. This series, while not my favorite, is still fantastic.

uch an improvement on the first book, but still not quite up to Grant standards. There were still some scenes that felt forced, and the whole Haarm thing felt completely unnecessary, unless it's a setup for book 3. The punishments were, again, horrific and awful, but luckily didn't have quite the psychological effect that the ones in book 1 did. These didn't hit my fears as hard, so *phew*. :) I do look forward to the novella and book 3, though, mostly because the concept is fresh and fun. And scary.

Also, does anyone else see Bradbury's Illustrated Man in the Messenger's tattoo thing? That seems like a massive tribute.
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