Novel Review: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Rage is the second book of The Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Jackie Morse Kessler. The first book Hunger (see review here) was okay and started off awesome. Both my daughter and I fought over it, snatching snippets as soon as the other put it down. In the end, Hunger wasn’t the greatest book, but certainly piqued my interest for Rage. Before we go into the review, the blurb 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,Rageis the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

Part of the short comings when it came to Hunger was that the title and idea behind the horsemen didn’t really match the story line. We had an anorexic girl who didn’t really suffer from hunger. Rather the lack of balance in her life and the way she dealt with situations prevented her from leading a healthy existence. Likewise, the horseman Famine wasn’t about inflicting starvation, but rather balancing the distribution of food.

Knowing Rage wouldn’t necessarily be about anger, my mind was more open to the story. Or rather, I had to constantly remind myself that we’re not dealing with the title or the concept of the Horsemen War, but something beyond and loosely related.

Whereas Hunger was about balance, Rage was about control. The star of the show, Missy, seemed more depressed than angry and dealt with her depression by cutting herself. In fact, she worked hard at the flat effect. I questioned at times if she even had the ability to express her anger. So the title missed the mark again, but that didn’t make it a bad book… just something to keep in mind so one doesn’t enter the story with false expectations.

As far as the story itself? Decent. I was horrified with all that happened to Missy. Though I can’t imagine her situation is typical, I know there are girls out there who’ve faced similar experiences. Once in awhile, awful events will even appear in the news. I shake my head and sigh and hope my kids never have to go through something so horrid.

I have to say, Ms. Kessler did a wonderful job putting me inside Missy’s head. I’m such a wimp when it comes to pain, I can’t imagine hurting myself on purpose, much less making myself bleed. So why would someone harm themselves? Well, read the story if you’re looking for some insight. It certainly gave me a new appreciation.

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

is available at:

The Book Depository

Barnes & Nobles

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