Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, #2)

Summary (courtesy of 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 different 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.

And here's what I thought:  I had been looking forward to this, especially after enjoying the first book in the series, Hunger.  As I expected, this book was filled with wonderfully descriptive writing, great dialogue, and an interesting story.    As you might be able to tell from the summary, as in Hunger, our protagonist has a big issue: she's a cutter.    If that completely turns you off, you might be tempted to pass this one up ---- but for me, it didn't detract from the story, because I thought Kessler handled the issue well.  She doesn't shy away from the discomfort of it all, but she does a good job of explaining why some cutters make that choice.    While that kind of outlet doesn't make sense to everyone, it makes sense to some people.  And that it what Kessler explores here.

Missy was an interesting character to read --- I liked the dry humor she exhibited, even if at other times, I felt her reactions to things were a bit over the top.   In real life, as a teen, I don't know if I would have tried to be her friend (mostly because she's really into soccer and I never .. excelled... at sports.  Ok.  I actually sucked at sports).   And actually, I thought it was interesting that she was into soccer -- I originally wondered how she hid her scars, getting dressed in the locker room and all that.  Most of the time, if there's a character who has an issue like this, she's described as a writer, or a musician, or something more in the arts field, instead of playing sports.  However, as I kept reading, and saw how Missy's feelings about soccer translated into her feelings about other things, it all started to come together. 

It's very cool how Jackie Kessler has decided to tie the mythos of the Horsemen into teen social issues.  I also like that so far, the Horsemen are girls.  Up until these books, I had envisioned them as male (not sure why), and a lot like the Nazgul.   It's an interesting take on War, in particular, in this story.   You might expect War to be all about aggression, and vengeance... but there's a lot more to it than that.    I'm looking forward to what this series offers next. 

Some of my favorite quotes: "...the woman smiled, a thing of teeth and appetite."  (p. 24)   and another.... "There was the peppery smell of irritation, and the mustard spice of slow fury."  (p. 74).  Delicious. 

First sentence:  "The day Melissa Miller killed her cat, she met the Angel of Death."

Thoughts on the cover:  Simple, with the focus on the sword -- perfect for the story (and Missy's focus on the sword). 

I received this book as part of the Book it Forward ARC Tours, and thus, any quotes/page numbers may differ slightly from the finalized publication, due out in April, 2011.


Beverly said...

I am so jealous - I have been waiting and waiting for this one and you have already read it!! I still can't wait - now that I know it's good, waiting will only be harder.

AubrieAnne said...

ok. you have me convinced. I need to go find Hunger and start the series. It sounds right up my alley. i also like how you do your book reviews. Less on the summary and more on your own thoughts. It's very helpful!

also, thanks for finding me on my blog and for you great comment! I am now following!

AubrieAnne @

Katie said...

Awesome review. I just read Hunger not that long ago and was dying to find out more about this one. I also LOVE her covers!

Jennifer said...

I really enjoyed Hunger, especially the Thin Voice. I thought it was a great way for Kessler to show the destructive drive of an eating disorder.

I enjoyed your review and I look forward to reading Rage.

Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

Betty: Reflections with Coffee said...

I am SO looking forward to this book Rage.

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