Monday, July 20, 2015

The Messengers by Edward Hogan

In the Final Destination movie series, people try to cheat death. In this novel, certain people are messengers of death. While one messenger believes death is inevitable once they receive the message, another tries to change the course, hoping that there aren't negative consequences.

Frances has this odd condition where she blacks out and the draws a weird picture when she wakes up. To everyone else, the drawing are abstract shapes but to her, the drawings have emerged as detailed pictures of someone's death. None of it makes sense until she meets Peter who has her deliver a postcard. The day after she delivers the postcard, she witnesses the exact scene she saw on the card. Peter explains to her that they are "Messengers." They draw people's death and have two days to get the person to see the picture (even though the people only see shapes) or else someone they love will die instead. Peter has always delivered the message, but when Frances draws the death of someone she knows, she intervenes and prevents the person from dying. Now she's on a mission with Peter's help to do what they can to cheat death. When Death changes the game, though, they begin to wonder if they really have any chance of making a difference. 

The struggle of being a messenger really pulls you in, although the novel has a slow start. Frances is dealing with a lot of personal issues with a mother that's abandoned her and a brother that's on the run. A lot of time is spent on that and her memories of her brother, and while it seems to drag out the story, its importance does emerge at the end. The story is really engaging and pulls at you emotionally as you realize the sacrifices these people make and the burden they carry. Every picture is a mystery and you're right along with them, hoping that they're successful in solving it. Then, once they get on the path to saving people, the stakes are raising and you're praying for a happy ending. Failure is ultimately devastating to them and to you. I think this novel takes place in England, so there are some language things that seem odd, but nothing that detracts from the story. The only thing I really did not like in the novel was the death of a cat, which seemed a little cruel, although maybe I'm just overly sensitive as a cat lover.

This novel draws you in the with mysteries of a messenger. With a ticking clock over their heads, they're up against Death and you're along for the ride. It is definitely worth the read. 

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