Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler


{Author:} Jackie Morse Kessler
{Publisher:} Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
{Release Date:} April 2011
{Pages:} 228

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.

{My Thoughts:}

If I had a star rating system, of one to five, with five being the best you could get, I think I'd be rating RAGE at 6 stars.

While I did enjoy HUNGER, the first book in Jackie Morse Kessler's series about the riders of the apocalypse, RAGE instantly rose to my list of favorite books -- which is a VERY difficult list to get onto, mind you.

While HUNGER gave us a look at anorexia through Famine, RAGE gives us a look at cutting and self-mutilation through War. And for this, I am forever grateful. I see sooooo much media talk down to cutters, label them with titles such as "emo" (I can go on a rant for hours about that, don't doubt me), and all around don't see the dangerous addictions that real cutters struggle with. It is a battle within themselves, which most people refuse to address anymore from what I've seen. They think it's about the attention -- yet true cutters feel sick at the idea of someone finding out about their problem.

We start RAGE with Missey's cat dying, and her very first glimpse of Death (the horsemen, not the experience) as well as the symbol of office for War -- a sword. But Missey doesn't claim her title until a little while later, when she most definitely needs it.

The references of "needing the blade" are perfect in so many ways, and make Jackie's choice for War being a cutter all the more perfect. As mentioned before, people don't realize cutting is an addiction. So the fact the Missey battles her need for the blade that she cuts with, and later the blade that serves as her symbol of office, went hand in hand together. Further proving just how brilliant I find Jackie to be.

RAGE is also thicker than HUNGER was, coming in at 228 pages this time. While some books and their series don't do so well when they try to drag out the story line, it doesn't feel that way with RAGE. My time with Missey wasn't painful, or forced, or dull. I kept reading and reading, and was horribly bummed out when I was finished and didn't have the next book to read.

The story line is fabulous, and the more in-depth look at the horsemen and characters in general was wonderful. To no surprise, I'm sure, Death is my favorite character for multiple reasons, and getting to see him a lot more as well as watch how he interacts with all of the horsemen. Not to mention his chemistry with Missey was incredible.

To sum it up, RAGE was a dark, but humorous look at another very real problem facing several young adults these days. It lived up to my expectations and then some, giving me more of all the story elements the book needed, and none of the silly stuff it didn't. Again, I say this is the book that the world needs right now. There's a reason I arrange the books at Walmart differently now -- blocking out some of the mainstream, overly lusted after books of little quality, and sitting copies of HUNGER and RAGE where people can see their gorgeous covers and buy them. A perfect read for anyone - male, female; young, old; etc. Hell, if my very picky boyfriend can love it, there must be something to it. ;)

A portion of the proceeds for HUNGER go to the National Eating Disorders Association.

A portion of the proceeds for RAGE are donated to the organization To Write Love On Her Arms.

So check them out, give them a read. Not only do you get some great reads, but you also help some good causes. What's not to love there?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


HUNGER (Riders of the Apocalypse, Book One)
{By:} Jackie Morse Kessler
{Publisher:} Harcourt Graphia
{Release Date:} October 18, 2010
{Pages:} 180

Lisabeth Lewis is seventeen, anorexic...
and the new Famine, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.


When I heard the concept of HUNGER, as well as who was writing it, I was incredibly excited. Jackie has a brilliant gift, and her premise was just the sort of story I've been waiting for. It took me damn near forever to get ahold of a copy of HUNGER (right after it's sequel, RAGE, debuted), but I finally picked up both books whenever my local Walmart started carrying them.

So, was it well worth the wait?

Did it meet my already high expectations?

No, it didn't meet them... it exceeded those expectations.

HUNGER is a painfully real look at a very hard to swallow (excuse the pun) issue -- and I don't mean the Apocalypse. Lisabeth Lewis struggles with her Thin voice, an ever present reminder of how she isn't thin enough, forcing her to obsess over calories, excersize way too much, and eventually attempt an overdose to rid her of her wretched life.

That is, until salvation comes in the form of Death, who bears no only a striking resemblence to a beloved dead rockstar, but also a scale -- the sign of office for the horsemen, Famine, the Black rider of the Apocalypse.

Lisa denies she has a problem for quite some time, as most girls do. But as she sets off into the night to do her job as Famine, she sees what real hunger is. To make any difference as Famine, Lisa must realize what she's doing to herself as well.

HUNGER is the sort of book the world needs right now, and it should be gracing the shelves of every library and every bookstore -- not sparkly Momon propaganda.

It's a smart way of showing the real life horror in eating disorders, without sounding preachy or making it seem "cool". HUNGER shows girls struggling with self image that they aren't alone, while also opening their eyes to just how difficult it is in other places, and that the food they waste is food that could save some child somewhere else. I see HUNGER helping at least some girls to get help. And even if it changes only one life, then that's a damn good step in the right direction.

So, find HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler and buy it now. Stay tuned for my review of the sequel, RAGE, about War, as well as my interview with Jackie herself!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Uhm... Where the hell did I go?

I have returned, though!
Yeah, I know. I'm a failure for disappearing. But in all fairness, life was kinda crazy for a while there.
Anyway, I'm writing up some new reviews of awesome-ness, and hopefully setting up an interview or two. Plus I'll be doing some tweaking to the blog as I go along. As you'll notice, I opened up the polls again to the right. Vote away!

Forgive me, lovelies.