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

Sunday Showcase #4

Here we are… Sunday, the day after the Rapture, and I’m still here. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry, but you’ve also missed the Rapture. It’s up to us, the ones left behind to continue to make the world go around in the apocalypse. Ironic I received a book this week which addresses just that–the Apocalypse.

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.

Why I picked it up: Karen at For What It’s Worth, recently finished this book (her review here), and got me curious. After she loaned me Hunger, the first in the series (my review), I was ready to take a chance on Rage also, so I made the purchase.

Available: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

“Grace. That word that finally meant something again. Mercy. Favor. Good will.”

Fed up with play kink, Grace Warner moves to an island that embraces erotic slavery to be with a man she met online. Within hours of her arrival, everything is ripped from her, and she quickly learns play is preferable to the realities of actual enslavement.

Asher Collins has spent the past year mourning and blaming himself for the death of his slave, Darcy. When Grace catches his eye at a showing, obviously abused, he becomes obsessed with buying her and finding a way to atone for his own past sins.

Why I picked it up: I have to admit, I hadn’t planned on reading this one. Though I absolutely LOVED Comfort Food (review here), Guilty Pleasures (review here) wasn’t my thing. When Kitty Thomas contacted me with a review offer, I was little reluctant, since I had the impression she was taking her work more in the direction of Guilty Pleasures. She mentioned individuals who’d been more partial to Comfort Food than Guilty Pleasures have enjoyed Tender Mercies. I agreed to try it. After all, I could stop reading at any time, right? Okay. 🙂 I’ve already read Tender Mercies and enjoyed it. Definitely glad Ms. Thomas decided to contact me. My review is scheduled May 30, 2011 so keep an eye out. Though the link won’t be active until then, I’ll go ahead and post it for people who visit in the future (review).

Available: Smashwords and Barnes & Nobles

Novella Review: Hunger by Jackie Kessler

Not so long ago, my blogger buddy Karen at For What It’s Worth mentioned her latest read, Rage by Jackie Kessler, being a pretty decent work. And since I’m always looking for a good read, I had to check it out. Thing was, Rage was book two and Hunger book one. Karen came to the rescue and offered her copy of Hunger to me. 🙂 The next couple days after it arrived, my daughter and I fought for the right who could read this little goodie. Being the mom and all, of course I won. 🙂 haha My daughter still had her opportunities, spiriting it away whenever I set Hunger down. Enough rambling! How about the blurb from Goodreads:

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

This book started off pretty strong. I’ve never really given much thought to the inner thoughts of individuals with eating disorders. Hunger brought a new awareness to me and in many ways touched home. Despite being surrounded by individuals who loved her, she still felt unworthy because of her appearance. I’ve stood in the mirror many times prodding my growing, squishy belly, wondering if my husband still finds me attractive… loves me as much as when we first met. High scores for the beginning.

Not sure how spoiler like the rest of this review is, so I’ll give you the warning now.

Toward the middle of the book, Lisa stepped into her horseman role–Famine.  I think this aspect of the book missed the mark. When I think of famine, a shortage of food in an area comes to mind. In Hunger, the meaning of famine was blurred to resemble greed more than anything as she turned her anger toward individuals who ate freely or in excess–punishing them because they didn’t have the hangups about food like she did.

I’m really into paranormal, but the further I progressed into the book, the less realistic it became. The mystical aspects reached a point where I stopped believing a supernatural world like the one described existing.

Then I reached the ending–a chance to bring it full circle to Lisa’s issues of anorexia–and the author blew it. This work was a novella, but it really needed a bit more on the back end to have nailed it. For an issue as deep as anorexia, I really would have liked it to be worked out on paper rather than brushed under the rug with the idea she got the help she needed.

Recommendation: Despite the ending being substandard, I’d still recommend this work to anyone who has looked in the mirror and wished the reflection hosted an image other than what’s there.

Find Hunger by Jackie Kessler at:

Barnes & Nobles

The Book Depository

Sunday Showcase #2

Welcome to the second edition of Sunday Showcase. I”m pretty sure I missed last week, but I’m too lazy to go check right now. I do know I’ve received two reads since my last post. 🙂

Mercy in an exile from heaven with shattered memories of who she used to be. She’s doomed to “wake” repeatedly on earth in a new body, each time assuming a new life. During the day she survives in the human world on instinct and at night her dreams are haunted by her lost love, who pleads with her to find him.

But this time is different. When Mercy wakes up she meets Ryan, an eighteen-year-old reeling from the loss of his twin sister, Lauren, who was kidnapped two years ago. Only Mercy and Ryan believe his sister is still alive. For the first time since she can remember, Mercy has a purpose: she can help. So she doesn’t understand why the man in her dreams cautions her not to interfere. But as Ryan and Mercy come closer to solving the mystery of Lauren’s disappearance, danger looms just one step behind.

Will Mercy be able to harness her extraordinary power in time?

The first in a dazzling new series, Mercy masterfully weaves romance, mystery and the supernatural into a spell-binding tale that readers will devour.

Why I picked this book: After reading Unearthly (see review here), my curiosity about YA books with angels has risen. It’s just that simple. 🙂 I requested from NetGalley, and they approved.

Available: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

Why I chose this book: My buddy, Karen over at For What It’s Worth, recently finished the second in this series, Rage. Check out her review of it here. She mentioned it was a pretty decent read, so of course I was curious. 🙂 But you know me, I start at the beginning of the series. Good ole Karen even hooked me up and loaned her copy out to me. I’m actually reading this right now. I read the blurb to my daughter and got her interested. We’ve actually been switching off with it over the last couple of days. I promised her I’d finish it tonight so she could take it to school with it tomorrow.

Available: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository