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Saturday, October 3, 2015

REVIEW: The Messengers by Edward Hogan

Frances is sent to her aunt's house for the summer in order to escape difficulties at home.  She fights feelings of abandonment against her mother and fears for her brother's safety since Johnny is on the run after punching an off duty police officer in a bar brawl.  Perhaps even more puzzling are the increasingly alarming blackouts.  After which, Frances must complete elaborate drawings of geometric shapes and swirls. She is uncertain as to the meaning behind these episodes until she meets Peter.

Significantly older, Peter is unlike anyone Frances has ever known.  He recognizes her as a messenger like himself; however, Frances is shocked to learn that his messages never bring good news.  In fact, he too draws mysterious scenes following blackouts but ensuring that those depicted in the scenes view these pictures seals them to a deadly fate.  Frances must decide whether to trust Peter or to use her gift to shape her own destiny.

What I liked...

The story is interesting and the fast paced.  It doesn't take too long for the characters to recognize each other as kindred spirits. I found Peter's story far more interesting than Frances. In fact, she was rather irritating at times.  I did like the message based on the outcome--that it is up to each individual to decide one's own fate and whether to use an extraordinary ability to make a difference or not.

What I didn't like...

The Messengers reminded me too much of Lisa McMann's Visions trilogy in which Jules and then others must decipher cryptic visions in order to prevent catastrophic events.  I prefer the McMann series for several reasons: 1) the average teen in the US will find Jules and her friends more identifiable than Frances based on humor, pop culture references and general characterization.   2) The general plot development and story events (a crash, school shooting , etc) are relevant to real world teens.  3) I really couldn't connect with Frances or really any other character. There isn't enough emotional complexity for me. 4) I didn't like that Frances and Peter's relationship was left somewhat unfinished.  I thought her family blowing the whistle on what they thought was inappropriate was realistic but frustrating. 

Overall, I would recommend this as a optional library purchase as well as recommend it for the select teen who liked the Visions books and might have already exhausted McMann's Wake trilogy and wants a quick standalone read.  

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

#visions #fate #death #consequences #resonsibility #YAlit