Rage (The Horsemen of the Apocalpyse Riders Quartet: 2) by Jackie Kessler
Published: 8th April 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Graphie
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.
First off, this isn't a light read. It's not something that you can tear through in a few hours. It's a heavy; anguish-filled; epic poem of a novel. I haven't read the first in the series; Hunger and to be honest I don't feel it is entirely necessary whilst it may be preferrable. The writing is hands down the best part of this book. It's almost poetry. The metaphors Kessler employs are so apt and empathetic. I love the description of Missy controlling her emotions by forcing them into a glass jar; and her 'dead' face. One of my favourite, lighter sections was one of the many conversations between Death and Missy:
"I'm trying." "You're dying, try harder"
Onto Death-I just loved him. He looks suspiciously like a certain dead rockstar...and he still sings. Hmmmm. You can sense the tension between him and Missy all the way through; and I love his bizarre sense of humour and his strange ways of helping. Missy was a very empathic character; you really feel for her and her situation. Kessler handled the self-harm issue very well. The book doesn't glorify it, and nor does it come across as a sermon about how one shouldn't do it- it simply expresses the reason why this girl, Missy, feels it's her only choice. The novel shows her internal struggle; her shame; the satisfaction she derives from cutting which she cannot find elsewhere. It shows people don't just do this for attention-that they don't need laughed at, or preached to, they need help. Help and reassurance.
Honestly I really liked this book-though in this sense that word seems a bit ineffectual. The whole book was so raw and full of emotions. I loved Missy's battle with her War alterego; her attempts to stay human when she's so tempted to give in to War's wishes.
I would give this book 4/5 and I would recommend it to older teens. The issues raised in the book probably aren't suitable for younger readers-but the prose is so much like poetry that even if you can't relate to the story you can surely enjoy it as a work of art-which it definitely is.