Review: Don’t Kill The Messenger by Eileen Rendahl

Posted March 9, 2012 by Carmel in / 4 Comments

Don't Kill The Messenger Cover

Title: Don’t Kill The Messenger
Series: Messenger #1
Author: Eileen Rendahl
Publisher: Ace Books
Format: Paperback, 323 pages.
Published: February 28, 2012
My Copy: from Penguin Canada
Rating:Paw RatingPaw RatingPaw Rating

The first in a fantastic new paranormal series about a messenger from the supernatural underworld.

Melina Markowitz is a Messenger, a go-between for paranormal forces and supernatural creatures. Problem is, when a girl’s a go-between, it’s hard not to get caught in the middle…

When ninjas steal an envelope from Melina, her search leads her to a Taoist temple in Old Sacramento, where the priests seem to practice Zen and the art of mayhem. Melina learns from the handsome ER doctor (and vampire) who gave her the envelope that it contained talismans created by the priests to control Chinese vampires, who are attacking gang members to spark a street war.

Although he may look more like a surfer than a cop, Ted Goodnight is dead serious about investigating the surge in gang violence. At every turn he runs into Melina, a very attractive-and very mysterious-young woman. Can Melina enlist his help to battle something he doesn’t even believe in without blowing her cover?

The concept behind Don’t Kill The Messenger is an interesting one but unfortunately for Eileen Rendahl, the delivery was another story entirely. This book is categorized as urban fantasy but the heroine comes across as immature and acts like a teenager instead of someone who’s in her mid-twenties. The dialogue is also repetitive and inconsistent. For me, this novel fell short of the mark because its few redeeming qualities are overshadowed by Melina’s ditzyness. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the story more if I was a bigger fan of YA but that’s not my fault. What I expected and what I received were two very different things.

I liked the idea of designated paranormal messengers for the preternatural world. Werewolves and vampires aren’t usually BFF’s so it makes sense to have a go-between in order to avoid unnecessary clashes. The way that Melina was selected was also very cool. The majority of the side-characters are pleasant and act appropriately according to their age, sex and race. There’s even a drool worthy hunk or two in the mix. Everything is lined-up beautifully for a killer story and then Melina opens her mouth.

I had a real hard time with Miss Markowitz. Her dialogue is all over the place. She constantly switches back and forth between acting her age and being a whinny, spoiled brat. I also found that Rendahl tried too hard to make her main character hip and to use cool lingo. Some of the expressions she uses just don’t fit while as others are repeated several times within the same page. At times it felt like she Googled modern expressions and then just plunked them into the story. I don’t think that Eileen has a good grasp on how a 26 year old acts. There’s no depth to Melina either, I never managed to connect with her on any level. She’s also always looking to others to make her decisions for her. Markowitz doesn’t want to take responsibility for her own actions which frustrated me to no end. What kind of protagonist plays follow the leader for an entire book?

The main plot was also a disappointment. Eileen could have gone in so many directions with the whole paranormal messenger thing. Instead, she decided to go with drug-related gang wars. We’re not even talking about the heavy duty illegal substances here, no, the focus is on marijuana. I know that I live in Canada and that our regulations on weed are a little more lax than in the United States but still. The fact that an all-out gang war broke out and that the big bad decides to use Chinese zombie vampires to come out on top is beyond preposterous. Sure, some people die over this drug but not like this and not to this extent. It would have been more believable had the focus been on cocaine or heroine. There’s a side plot about Kokopelli and his flute that I found way more interesting but it wasn’t explored in detail which is too bad.

Don’t Kill The Messenger has a cute cover, is built around an interesting idea and has likable side-characters but failed to catch my interest in the main heroine department. I just couldn’t get past Melina’s childishness. Perhaps young adult readers will get a kick out of this one but all of you urban fantasy fans out there: stay away!

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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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4 responses to “Review: Don’t Kill The Messenger by Eileen Rendahl

  1. Hmmm the premise did really sound interesting but after reading this review I think the story would probably annoy me – I hate immature female leads! Think I will skip this book instead 🙂

  2. I’m sorry it wasn’t for you. But thank you for the review I didn’t know this book and it’s nice to learn more about it. I don’t think it will be for me perhaps. I hope the story will improve though.