Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse)
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publication: Graphia; (April 4, 2011)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: What a powerful story! After the incident at the party I was ready to assume War myself. Missy deals with the pressure of high parent expectations, parental neglect, and a real loser of an ex-boyfriend  by cutting herself. The cutting gives her a sense of control and relief. When she is saved from cutting an artery by Death and offered War's sword, she first shuts the door in Death's face.

She also has to continually deal with an ex-boyfriend that she still loves but who only wants to humiliate her. And she teased and harassed by other students at her school. She has learned to seal her emotions away and not look like their comments are hurting her. Her only comfort at school is the soccer team where she is the goalie. But when many of the girls on the team turn against her, she loses her only safe spot.

It takes time for Missy to come to grips with the idea of being War. She talks about it as having a really steep learning curve. But she is strong enough to do the learning. I liked the idea that she has a bit of a crush on Death. I also liked the glimpses of Famine and Pestilence that we got in this story. The whole story is about control. Control is her key to controlling War. She needs to feel that she has control in her life too.

I think that this was an excellent story that could help someone understand what makes a person choose to cut them self. The fantasy setting made the emotions much more intense than a straightforward contemporary novel with the same theme. This is an excellent companion to Hunger. And it makes me even more eager to read Loss.

Favorite Quote:
After a session with her razor, Missy usually felt peaceful. At the very least, she became more focused, able to handle the overwhelming emotions and thoughts that had driven her to the blade. Sometimes, that sense of peace would extend into something rapturous and she'd feel as is she had seen the face of God. Other times, she was left with a simple feeling of quiet, of warmth and solace.
I bought this one. You can get your own copy here.

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