by Eileen Rendahl – This is the second book in the Messenger series, and I’m hoping it’s not the last. The series is fun, set in a world where every sort of supernatural being in literature and myth has the potential to pop up… although Rendahl is wise enough to limit the number that appear at any one time. Too many different types would make it more difficult for readers to suspend their disbelief long enough to immerse themselves in the plot and characters’ lives. After all, this is urban fiction set in Sacramento, not in Fairlyland, so it would be hard to believe that ordinary humans could be unaware of the magical creatures around them if there were one on every corner and under every bed.
In this novel, Melina Markowitz is trying to figure out if she unwittingly played a part in the apparent suicide deaths of two young men. After all, days before they died, Melina delivered a package to each. She doesn’t believe in coincidence and hates the idea of her special abilities and responsibilities being used to kill. What girl likes to be used, after all? In her search for answers, she encounters dark magic based on fear and hatred. Can she find a way to stop it before more people die?
As if that weren’t enough, Melina is also grappling with her new role. The death of her mentor and dear friend Mae (in book one) has left Melina the sole owner and manager of a dojo. Bereft at the loss of her advisor and overwhelmed to have the responsibility of running a business, with all the paperwork and decisions on her shoulders, she also finds herself in the unexpected role of mentor to Sophie, who is a budding Messenger… and a teenager to boot. Can she handle her new life and her changing relationships with the people in her life?
Rendahl intertwines the personal and the professional plotlines seamlessly and makes us care about the outcome for Melina and her friends. I hope book 3 comes out soon. (The publication date should be early 2012, if Rendahl keeps the same time gap this time as between books 1 and 2.) It’ll be a blast to find out what mystery Melina’s world and life will deliver next. (finished 10/9/11)