Before reading this review or these books, if you have triggers about eating-disorders, suicide, self-harm or bullying, please note that these books and as such this review, will contain mentionings of those subjects.
Series: Riders of the Apocalypse #2
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Graphia Books
Version Read: ebook
Publication Date: April 4th 2011
Category: Young-Adult, Fiction, Health Issues, Mythology
Summary (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, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Famine, War, Pestilience & Death. Some of the most feared figures in religion (the legend is containted in the Book of Revlations in the New Testament of the Bible although they are Famine, War, Conquest & Death in that version) and mythology as it is said they will bring forth a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgement. But are they really all that bad? Not in this series.
Rage is the story of War. But it is also the story of Missy, who self-harms. As with most who self-harm, Missy’s turmoil is well hidden, she really only enjoys herself playing soccer – partly because of the release of her anger that is allows. When she accidently cuts herself too deeply, Death offers her much the same deal he offered Lisa in Hunger, but Missy’s horseman is War.
Of the three protaginsts, Missy accepts her role as War the fastest and without much question. It isn’t until later, when she causes a riot, that Missy takes a moment to think about War’s place in keeping the balance needed within the Horsemen and what the sword that is the symbol of War can really do.
The self-harming issue is again handled excellently. It’s not glamourised, sugar-coated or glossed over. It’s covered in almost graphic detail and really gets to the issue of why those who self-harm do it – to be in control of the pain, of who is inflicting the pain. It also deals with an additional problem that self-harming can cause – well cause isn’t really the right word but its the only one I can think of at the moment – and that is the viewpoint of others, especially peers, that the person who is cutting themselves is an emo/goth or just doing it to get attention.
Interestingly enough, Missy decides to keep War’s sword at the end of the book. She’s still Melissa Miller, but she’s also the Red Rider. She does reveal her self-harming to her parents – who are both so caught up in their own working lives that they haven’t been paying attention to either of their daughters, and don’t realise the Missy and her sister loath each other. Missy is also kept off the soccer team by her coach until she is able to get the proper therapy and help she needs.