Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Paperback): 213
Series: Riders of the Apocalypse (Book 2)
Read Next: Loss
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Author: Website | Twitter
Series Reviews: Hunger (2.5★)
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.
This book takes realism and accuracy in fiction to a new level. It highlights all the things that give Young Adult fiction the name of being "too dark" but it does that because its real; these are things that teens face in the deep recesses of themselves and hide from the world. I was unsure of how deep and true Hunger could have been but this book clarified that Jackie Morse Kessler is gifted and dedicated to true storytelling.
As part of the series, this book can still function as a stand alone for someone who wanted to reach out for something their experiencing. In this book, we have our Kurt Cobain rocker, Death who is the one resounding connection through the books. It is his task to replace the Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the rider position opens. Missy's adventure is unrelated and irrelevant to the story in Hunger though it is lightly referenced and gives background to why War is vacant.
When Death enters the scene, we find Missy holding her family's dead cat in her hands, "You have blood on your hands". The mood is instantaneously set to be dark, brooding, and quite appropriately raged. Missy's life is a disaster in her eyes. Love gone wrong, family gone wrong, life is wrong and the only way to fix it is to bleed the bad out. Driven by such intense emotion, Missy wars within herself at the things she has been forced to face. Humiliated by her ex, estranged from her sister, and now empowered by the sword, she really is just trying to sort out the straight path for herself but it is messy and heartbreaking.
These books are incredibly short reads that pack an incredible punch and I would recommend them for anyone who needs to know they are not alone. As a previous self-injurer, all I wanted to do was tell Missy she wasn't alone and I want you to know it, too.
Rating out of 5: