Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Rage (The Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Rider's Quartet, #2)
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Reading Level: Upper YA
Publisher: Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
ARC, 209 pages
Date Published: April 8, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation,
Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
The thing I love about Jackie’s writing, is that she isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. If the story is about a bulimic girl, you’re going to know it. No, you’re going to feel it. The pain of how you look, the desperation to be just a little thinner, and the salvation that awaits with the final flush of the toilet and your entire lunch washing down the drain. The same goes here with Rage. Once again, Jackie Morse Kessler has depicted an emotional situation with raw honesty.

Missy cuts herself because it makes her feel. It gives her a high, a release like no other. Hurting herself – possibly causing her own death – makes Missy feel alive. I felt that too. As much as it disturbed me and made me want to reach out to Missy and hug her, I also understood her compulsion to dig into her skin. It is quite a feat for any author to be able to take what most consider a tough, touchy subject and make the reader one with it.

Missy’s ventures in becoming War are far different from Lisa’s experience becoming Famine. The first book piques the reader’s interest in the Four Horsemen, but Rage explores who they are and their purpose much more. Missy interacts with all of the Horsemen, and I was more than pleased with the reappearance of Pestilence. Each Horseman is completely different from the next. Their roles are all entirely unique, but the end product is the same for all of them.

Rage is harsh and sometimes bleak, but ends on a hopeful note. Much like Hunger, Rage is a haunting look into an all too common problem among teens. The paranormal aspect is almost an afterthought. The focus of the story is Missy and her cutting. Death, Pestilence, Famine, and War force Missy to examine her life and what she’s doing. And what she has to do to save herself. Jackie Morse Kessler has created another story that should not be passed up.

Opening lines: The day Melissa Miller killed her cat, she met the Angel of Death. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: Violence smashed through societal expectations and exposed people at the core – and at their core, they were all the same. Fury, Missy decided, made people honest. ~ pg. 76

*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Jackie Morse Kessler online:

Buy it online:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | The Book Depository | Indiebound

Don't forget to check out Jackie Morse Kessler's guest post about the horses that accompany the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.


Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

Def not sugarcoated, but very powerful. Thanks for review.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

BrittLit said...

That opening line is terrible...poor kitty! ;) I really need to read HUNGER! ACK!

Bere said...

Excellent review, Nikki. I have not read Hunger yet but I'm extremely interested in doing so. Both sound like really intense and powerful reads. I need to pick these up soon. Thanks, Nikki =].

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