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Hunger & Thirst Theatre presents. MESSENGER #1 a new ancient greek tragedy written by Mark Jackson directed by Hondo Weiss-Richmond March at.
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He nonetheless has some loyalty to Messengers 1 and 3; unfortunately, when Electra tells 2 to tell the Executioner to kill 3 and he does, her lover, 1, is driven to murder 2. Throughout this drama, as we move through the story of The Oresteia , the messengers come and go, express love, comradeship, fear, anger and hope, even as their rulers are oblivious to the personal lives and opinions of their servants. The ensemble acting is so fine that our sympathy lies with them, all fully developed, all compelling.

Messenger 1 is a tragedy in itself. He sees that the future is fully one of murder following upon murder upon murder. The staging is a bare black box, hatched with white diagonals which intersect but are they also diverging? The impact is realism, aided strongly by carefully created costumes Heather Carey , evocative, yet unobtrusive lighting Remy M. Leelike , and sound Randall Benichak which comes and goes with appropriate effect. The direction by Hondo Weiss-Richmond is clean, clear and imaginative.

Messenger #1 | The Art Institute of Chicago

The movement consultant is the talented Kristin Calabria. Paul the werewolf is intriguing. Melina's roommate Norah is sweet but too stupid to live; after 15 years if pretending she didn't know what was going on she waited until disgusting vampires have killed a friend to insist on tagging along and seeing what's going on? At least she got a reality check. The teens are cute too, but again TSTL for insisting on joining the big fight.

I enjoyed the guest appearances by Kokopelli. Overall it was OK. If you're intrigued, get it from the library or book swap, but don't pay full price. View all 3 comments. Ever wonder how all those kick-ass heroines in popular Urban Fantasy got their start? How they actually became kick-ass? You don't usually see the mighty heroine's more humble beginnings - by the time they're heroines, they're usually already there.

Well, Melina Markowitz may just be the answer to those idle wonderings. An unexpected drowning and resuscitation at the age of three marked Melina as a member of the arcane and called her into service as a Messenger She scurries to and fro with messages and items that need to get from Point A to Point B when the exchangees are better off not meeting face to face. With her calling come the nifty perks of better-than-human speed, strength, senses, and endurance She's an admissions clerk at the local ER by night and a part time martial arts instructor by day.

Melina's leading her slightly-more-than-average life with as little effort as possible, when one day a routine drop turns ugly, and she's beset by ninjas, gets her butt firmly kicked, and stumbles onto an insidious evil that's taking over the streets of her town. Try as she might, she just can't seem to push the responsibility of dealing with this evil off onto anyone else - and she tries really hard to do just that - so she's stuck dealing with it herself. But what the heck is she going to do about it? She's just a Messenger, after all!

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With a potential love interest who'd be perfect if he wasn't a cop , a McDreamy-esque ER doctor who makes her drool who'd be perfect if he wasn't a vampire , and a surly but protective bartender who's yummy even though he's a werewolf , Melina is going to find out just how kick-ass heroines get their start as she struggles to find out what's going on while keeping everyone she cares about safe Great premise in Don't Kill The Messenger , and definitely a quick, sometimes humorous, but definitely deadly new urban fantasy premiere.

I liked it quite a lot, and when she wasn't annoying me, I enjoyed spending time in Melina's head. There's much to appreciate here, with Rendahl adding a fresh voice and new eyes to this original UF novel. Points to her for offering a well-worn genre some new blood with some bite of it's own. The plot kept my interest, was paced quickly and smoothly, and was dangerous enough to be truly threatening. There were, however, some problems for me that kept it from being a truly great read. Don't Kill The Messenger is told in first person from Melina's perspective, and I had some problems with the narrative.

Melina doesn't explain much about the world she's living in - the narrative is more about her thoughts on every little thing I can deal with the rambling because that's where the humor really shines, and there were many moments that made me chuckle, but I definitely felt the hit on the lack of world building. I also felt there was a disconnect between how Melina describes herself as "able to kill with her pinkie" at one point and the fact that she gets her butt kicked or gets manhandled over and over More than once she praises her enhanced senses and strength, and every time, they fail her in one form or another.

That's a problem for me, story-wise. A couple of plot problems niggled me, too. I started wondering why, if not delivering a message or package caused cosmic and increasing bad luck for Melina, there were no ill effects of having one stolen from her by those butt-kicking ninjas, and no reason given for why there weren't any a simple nod to the difference between being stolen and being ignored would've sufficed, but it should've at least been addressed.

Or how someone could make exact duplicates of something they've never seen before details withheld to prevent spoilers. There were also a plethora of cultural and pop culture references and I didn't always get them. Mae calling Melina to task for being irresponsible and telling Melina she needs to take a stand was very abrupt, but the issue was compounded by Melina's downright petulant and childish reaction to it.

Nothing about that really worked for me, and while I can understand the necessity of the wake up call, I wish it had felt more organic to the story and that Melina's reaction to it didn't make her seem like a five year old. I was very glad, though, that Melina's ambivalence and blinders-on lack of concern with the world around her as a whole was addressed.

At one point she blithely mentions that she figures something she delivered at one time or another contributed to someone's death Some coping mechanism or thought should've been interjected here, because we've surely read every other thought that passed through Melina's head. To not do so in this case made her seem extremely self involved to the detriment of her character. Those were all annoyances that lessened my enjoyment of Melina as a character and the book as a whole, but there's one big thing that just ticked me off and frustrated me to no end, because it's one of my top three major pet peeves in books.

Melina suffered a severe case of the stupids as the conflict of the book reached it's climax. Everything she did, most of what she thought, and just about in every way possible, she was stupid. There were a few smatterings of a ditzy lack of intelligence through the first part of the book the surveillance camera incident, for example , but towards the end, when relatively mild Messenger girl tries to turn into the Messengernator, the climax in my opinion fell apart.

Several B-grade horror movie cliched no-no's were tossed in, and both Melina's internal monologue and the character's dialogue went really, really wrong. It was an unfortunate turn that didn't quite recover by the end, but the impact was lessened by some good stuff, too - the way Melina's circle of friends started to come together, the interplay between Alex, Ted, and even Paul, and some other things that were positive enough to not forgive I would've happily offered up four stars prior to the Melina intelligence meltdown, though, so it did have an impact.

I would still recommend Don't Kill The Messenger for those who truly enjoy urban fantasy and really jones on fresh story telling, but I would caution those who are sticklers for world building and like their kick-ass heroines smart at all times. Melina's not there - yet - but I definitely think she's moving in that direction. I plan to follow this series and look forward to book two, hoping for more character growth and a bit more world definition. Still, the fresh story, decent secondary characters, and a pleasant amount of action were very nice.

Mar 21, Katie babs rated it it was ok. Melina Markowitz is a very busy woman. Not only is she working two jobs to make ends meets, but has another secret one where she doesn't get paid at all. Melina is known in the supernatural world as a messenger. Those creatures of myth and legend, such as vampires, werewolves and even imps do exist because they expect Melina to deliver packages and other messages to one another.

Melina has no choice because if she ignores this call horrible things will happen to her and she'll get very sick. If Melina Markowitz is a very busy woman. If only her mother had paid closer attention to her when she was three-years-old. Melina fell in their pool and almost died, but because of this near-death experience, she has developed this strange sixth sense and is one of the few in Sacramento, California available for the job. As Melina finishes the night shift at her second job at the Sacramento City Hospital, vampire ER doctor, Alexander Bledsoe gives her a package to deliver to the head of the local vampire governing board.

Melina tries to keep to herself when it comes to the sexy undead doctor, because he could gnaw on one of her arteries if he so chooses.

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She finds it odd that he wants her to deliver something to one of his own, but never the less she does what she's told. Before she can drop off the package, ninjas attack her in broad daylight. Melina should be able to hold her own against them because she's very skilled in martial arts and has been since she's been seven years old and works at the River City Karate and Judo with another messenger who was able to retire. Melina is given quite the beating by these ninjas and they steal the package. She finds out the ninjas are responsible for terrorizing the city, especially the gangs by controlling Chinese vampires called kiang shi that tear gang members, limb to limb and eat their flesh.

Melina witnesses this and places an anonymous call to the police. But because her undercover skills are very lacking, she is confronted by Office Ten Goodnight, who Melina nicknames Surfer Cop because of his good looks. Goodnight is onto Melina and she feels he's watching her every move, although he also seems interested in her in other ways.

Bledsoe doesn't like Melina having a possible romance with Goodnight because she could let it slip about his people, among the other creatures she interacts with. There also maybe a bit of jealousy on his end. Melina is stubborn and refuses to listen to anyone, even when she's given a bloody calling card at the hospital as a warning. She continues to investigate in such places as a Taoist temple in Old Sacramento where the vampires are kept in an old crypt, controlled by a man, with a ring of bell, who can cause more bloodshed and destructions the likes of Sacramento has never seen.

And when a close friend of Melina ends up dead because of her meddling, she turns to Goodnight and Bledsoe to help her stop these criminals before more innocent people die. Don't Kill the Messenger should have been an original, thrilling urban fantasy, but what I read instead was a re-hash of every single urban fantasy I've read over the past few years. Eileen Rendahl does try something different, especially with the heroine Melina, but it didn't work because of her overall lack of a role as a messenger, which is conveniently pushed to the side because of the way Melina stumbles onto this underworld of Chinese vampires.

She really does some too stupid to live moves and I really couldn't get a handle on her motivation, and her thoughts were so scattered all over the place.

She comes across as more of an airhead, where one minute she's focused on something important, and then the next something very silly and immature that doesn't have anything to do with the overall story. Melina's romance with Ted Goodnight had promise, as well as the idea of a possible love triangle including the vampire doctor Bledsoe. Also the sex scenes seem tacked on, and the constant reasons why Melina is such a loner and how she's difficult to get alone with grated on my nerves.

The gruesome scenes with the zombie like Chinese vampires were also boring and didn't shock in anyway. At times I felt that Ms. Rehndahl was trying too hard with her writing because she knew Don't Kill the Messenger had to be different to keep the reader interested.

Because Don't Kill the Messenger didn't hold my attention, I won't be reading the second book in this series. Melina was just too flighty with her thoughts and actions, along with her overall lack of intelligence. This one is a pass. The foundation of this book drove me nuts. Melina is a "Messenger" She lives in a world of Canes Arcanes Vampires, werewolves and assorted mystical creatures, who do not interact with eachother. And Danes Mundanes normal people who have no idea the Canes exist. No one gave her the job, She doesn't have a boss or a handler or even a soulless bureaucracy to answer to.

The whole messenger gig is kinda wacked. Some creature shows up with an envelope or a gizmo or dingus and says "take this to There is no training manual or website. But the delivery fell apart down the homestretch. Each of the Arcane communities keep pretty much to themselves. If it doesn't effect the werewolves they don't care about it. Likewise the Vampires - if it doesn't effect them they don't care about it either.

Melina's last "messenger" gig has gone awry. The Arcane gizmo she was supposed to transport was stolen and is being used to start a human gang war. And since it doesn't effect any of the Arcane communities - they don't care. Melina is on her own. Rendahl did a fine job painting the mc into a corner. None of her arcane acquaintances want to get involved. She has a sweet roommate who doesn't know anything about Melina's messenger responsibilities or Arcane connections.

And a new flame? A cop whom she should be holding off with a 10 foot pole because it's a bad idea for Danes to discover the Arcanes. I was looking forward to the resolution of all the disparate pieces of Melina's life coming together. Until I got down to about 60 pages left in the story and it was like the author said "screw it" It's too much work, I'll just skip over the coming together part.

I flipped back two or three times to make sure I hadn't missed a chapter. One page Melina is an island all on her own. The next page everyone is on her team. Over all I loved Rendahl's voice. And she created great characters. Her vehicle drove me crazy, but all things considered was a pretty fun ride. To view review on my blog: Melina Markowitz is just that, a Messenger.

She is a Messenger or in Melina's words "a glorified gopher. She is the go-to gal when creatures of the 'Cane world want something delivered. Be it a message or possession. Once a child hood tragedy has led to the everyday life not fully fitting in anywhere. Melina is an engrossing Protagonist and a pleasure to read.

She has been 'different' since age three when she died and was brought back. Her life seems to be a string of happenings and not so much as living.

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Melina's complexity is gladly welcomed. Is it weird to say I find her humor, at times dark, refreshing? I'm just that kind of little ray of sunshine. What I particularly like is how Eileen Rendahl weaves this humor into various settings in the novel- from sharing back story to fighting scenes and everything in between.

Don't Kill The Messenger introduces readers to an array of characters and creatures. Melina spends majority of the novel tracking down Kiang Shi, Chinese Vamps, and their evil-doing human puppeteers. Chaos is in her city and somehow she finds herself in middle of it all. Will she be able to reign in the chaos? There is action of all sorts present here: View all 4 comments. Mar 31, Jan rated it it was ok Shelves: I have never read a paranormal romance before unless you count the Sookie Stackhouse books, which I guess kind of are.

Perhaps this is why I don't get the love for this book. I found the juvenile "voice" of the lead character very irritating. Perhaps a more "informal" style of writing is common in paranormal romances; I don't know. I found it incredibly difficult to relate to a year-old lead character who said things such as: I know this book is set in California, but it's not anymore; I'm pretty sure "valley girl" speak went out of style before this character would even have been born.

And don't even get me started on the actual plot. Excuse me while I laugh myself silly. I also thought that her half-hearted, alleged attraction to the Alex character was lazy on the author's part. It was obvious that she was into Ted Goodnight ugh, that name from the beginning and that he was intended to be her romantic lead. The author's attempts to give the book a little extra drama by trying to create this pathetic love triangle was disappointing. I'm giving this book two stars only because it did have a few interesting ideas. In just writing this review, I almost talked myself into giving it only 1.

I think it's safe to say that I won't be reading the I-can't-believe-it's-even-been-written sequel to this book. Melina Markowitz is a messenger. She didn't plan on being a messenger and she isn't always happy to make her "deliveries". Neverthless, she does her job when she is forced to. Who she is a messenger to is more interesting than the fact that she is a messenger. She delivers packages, notes and other important items to members of the "arcane" which includes vampires, werewolves and other "creatures".

Melina screws up one of her deliveries. It's not really her fault but the consequences are hers to Melina Markowitz is a messenger. It's not really her fault but the consequences are hers to bare regardless. She is attacked by a group of Ninjas yes Ninjas and never delivers a vampire to vampire delivery. Because she failed at her delivery, she tries to recover the item. This is where the story becomes even more unique and interesting.


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Melina uncovers more than she should when investigating where her missing delivery went. In fact, she stumbles into a vicious gang war. Not your ordinary gang war but a war involving Chinese vampires and the master that controls them it totally works in this story as weird as it sounds. Melina makes serious mistakes along the way but she also learns about herself and her abilities.

There is a love relationship but it only adds to the story. I loved how unique the entire story was. It's hard to be unique even though you are writing about vampires and werewolves. It seems that some of the authors are unwilling to take risks and they stick with the same stereotypical blood sucking, devilishly handsome vampire mold. The author goes way beyond the stereotypes in this book.

This is why I loved it so much. View all 5 comments. Feb 24, Jess rated it liked it Shelves: I gave this one 3. Okay, so I will give a brief synopsis since it seems that many haven't read this one yet. The main character is named Melina, and she is what's known as a Messenger.

She is the go between for different species, so for example, a vampire needs something delivered to a werewolf, he will request for Melina to do it. This is mainly to prevent fights between species that don't like each other. While Melina is on her way to deliver a pkg. I sort of laughed at that part, thinking it was ridiculous, but it was explained they weren't really ninjas. What she discovers is that the things that attacked her are known as kiang shi Chinese vamps. They are reeking havoc in the city, and Melina doesn't know if she should intervene or not.

What I liked about this book was that it's different. Albeit, a little strange in some places, but I think I'd prefer a little bit of strangeness than a carbon copy of everything else out there. Yeah, there were the vamps and the werewolves, and they are pretty much the same as in every other book. But there were also mention of trolls, imps, and I can say I've never heard of the Chinese vamps who were like undead vamp zombies.

I liked Melina's character. Ted Goodnight's character was cute, but fluffy. I liked the vamp Alex, he was definitely sexy. The reason I didn't really rate it higher was that it was a really slow moving book. Yeah, sometimes I complain when books are constantly filled with action, but this one moved like molasses. I'd like a nice "in between" if it's possible lol. I'm definitely curious about another book, if there is even going to be one.

I would like to see where the author takes the characters and the plot line. I'm really not sure I can be bothered to write a proper review about this. It had some good ideas and it wasn't awful , in fact it was purely mediocre and perhaps that's most of the problem I have with it. There's some good ideas floating around, but there's also a lot of time spent with the character not doing much other than driving around bitching about how she doesn't want to be a Messenger and No-One Asked Her.

Of course in real life I'd have some sympathy for her, but in a 2. Of course in real life I'd have some sympathy for her, but in a book I read for entertainment the Pity Party gets old incredibly fast. I was also underwhelmed with the abortive Love Triangle. I'm not really sure what was going on there since it was the tired old "he's hot, but so is he! Whilst I like the decisiveness of it and hate angsty, tortured love triangles, I can't quite help wondering why it was added in the first place if it wasn't going to play any part in anything.

Things did pick up towards the end, but I'm really not convinced I care enough to try the next one out.

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I think this is a me thing rather than the series on the whole though, I think I've got to the stage where I've read so many similar UF with female protagonist stories that I've had to raise the bar higher than I usually would. Mar 10, C. Burright rated it really liked it. The cast is riveting at all times playing these ancient roles as if the story were occurring today.

The lighting by Remy M. Leelike subtly leads the viewer to the section of the space being used for each scene. It is a notable introduction to Greek drama for those unfamiliar with it, and a gift for those who have sat through stodgy, uninspired and tedious revivals in the past.

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For tickets, visit http: Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Victor Gluck was a drama critic and arts journalist with Back Stage from — He started reviewing for TheaterScene. Errol and Fidel When it features the movie star and the revolutionary, this musical fantasia is quite entertaining.