Breath By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse #4)

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Graphia

First Publication Date: April 16th 2013

Blurb:

Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren’t just harbingers of doom—they actually keep life in balance. But what happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal?

Before the first living thing drew its first gasping breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander Atwood is the world’s only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may bring about the end of everything.

This heart-pounding final installment of the Riders of the Apocalypse series looks at the value of life, the strength of love, and how a small voice can change everything . . . forever. (From Goodreads, 21st May 2013)

Review:

This is the the fourth and last book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Morse Kessler. I have reviewed the first three books (Hunger, Rage, and Loss – links will take you to my reviews).

I love this series. I find it such and inventive and unique way of discussing mental health issues for a young adult audience. A series which everyone with an interest in mental health or ‘issues’ novels must read!

In this novel we deal with the topic of suicide. But to make it more ironic Death is the one whom is suicidal. We meet Xander, who is having blackouts, but also may be going ‘crazy’ because Death is sitting on his balcony. So Xander begins to speak to Death, finding out why he is suicidal, whilst Death questions Xander. Why is Death suicidal? And what is Xanders secret?

I can’t really say much more because I may give things away. But I love this series, and this book is amazing! An amazing conclusion that keeps you thinking right up to the end!

5 out of 5!

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Loss By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Loss

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Harcourt Graphia

UK Publication Date: 20th March 2012

Blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors…and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.

In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.

But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world? (From Goodreads, 8th February 2013)

Review:

The third book in Jackie Morse Kessler’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse is slightly different from the first two. Billy has not been chosen by death to become Pestilence but was tricked by the previous Pestilence when Billy was only a child. Pestilence is not dead however but hiding in his past, comatose, and thus unable to do the job he accepted a long time ago. Billy does not want to be Pestilence, but to escape the job he must bring the previous Pestilence back.

Billy enters the memories of Pestilence to find where he is hiding, he must learn about the life Pestilence that has lead, and why he is shirking his duties.

Through this journey Billy begins to understand his life and understand that of the ‘man’ whom has been in his nightmares for years.

This is a fantastic novel with has an amazing journey through the past, madness, illness and all manners of other topics/themes.

I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Fantastic! I cannot wait until Breath comes out!

Rage By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Rage

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Harcourt Graphia

UK Publication Date: 4th April 2011

Blurb:

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.  (From Goodreads, 5th February 2013)

Review:

As with Hunger we see a teenager who is struggling with her life, to deal with the bullying and segregation she receives at school causing her to self harm. After going to a party and being horrifically humiliated she cuts too deep, but death comes and gives her a choice. Now wielding the sword of War Missy beings to release the anger she has been feeling. We are taken on a journey where Missy learns about herself and learns about destruction and war. This is a lesson in control. The one thing Missy has lost. Can she work through her pain without cutting? Can she learn to control her feeling and control the powers she now wields?

Another excellent novel from Jackie Morse Kessler. I read it almost back to back with Hunger (first novel in the series) and they both have similar themes, but both dealt with in a novel way. This series links the Horsemen of the Apocalypse with mental health issues and some of the pains many teenagers face today. It brings together myth and fantasy with today’s issues which I have never seen done before. It is a fresh breath into the world of mental health novels and a twist on some of the often similar novels focused on death and the horsemen of the apocalypse.

A series I recommend to all young adults and those interested in mental health.

4.5 out of 5

Hunger By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Hunger

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Harcourt Graphia

UK Publication Date: 18th October 2010

Blurb:

“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? (From Goodreads, 1st February 2013)

Review:

When I heard someone talking about this series I knew I had to read it. So thanks to my mother I manged to get a hold of books one to three in this series for Christmas. I have read all three and will review both Rage and Loss soon.

Hunger was a really interesting take on Anorexia. Lisa (Lisabeth) is starving herself and is now in the process of swallowing her mothers tablets, but there is a knock on the door. And so begins Lisa’s journey as Famine, one of the four riders of the apocalypse. Lisa sees the the true destruction on starvation and its effects. She sees a different side to the one that she is inflicting on herself. This is a fantastic novel with an interesting twist on an often topic which can sometimes become samey. I have read a lot of books that focus on Anorexia but this is different. It shoes the pain and insecurity that Lisa is suffering but then there is an adventure intertwined which makes the novel stand alone.

4.5 out of 5