ARC Review: Rage

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: April 18, 2011
* I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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 different 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
. [Book Blurb from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]

Review: If I had to use one word to describe the second book in Kessler's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, that word would be awesome. First of all, you don't have to have read Hunger, the first book, to understand this one...which is good cos I haven't read it yet, although, after reading this bundle of awesomeness, I realize I MUST go back and read it.

The cover alone, simple yet powerful, is what originally drew me in. The storyline pulled me in even further. A series about the horsemen of the Apocalypse is a nice break from vampires, werewolves, faeries, zombies, etc. Then, I read the story and was hooked. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't read any books where the main character cuts herself so I was kind of leery about reading it. Self-mutilation is such a heavy topic. Kessler does a good job tackling a difficult subject without making it depressing.

In order to escape the pain brought on by others - ex-boyfriend, kids at school, family - Missy brings pain upon herself through cutting herself. Whenever something hurtful goes down, Missy goes to her little box, hidden in her closet, and lets the blade take her away, if only for a moment. After her ex plays a terribly cruel joke on her, Missy once again goes straight to the blade, only she cuts too deep (purely accidental). Death - a sexy Kurt Cobain look-alike, by the way - gives her a choice: die or except her role as War. Missy chooses the latter and her life is never the same.

I love how strong Missy is. She fights the urge to cut all throughout the novel. She gives in a few times, but for the most part, she's strong enough to fight it. I can't tell you how much I despise reading books with whiny, weak female main characters. I can tell you that Missy isn't that type. Yes she has her weaknesses - the blade, her ex to name a few - but her strengths outshines them. Missy is a well-rounded character and I found myself rooting for her all through the book. The way she takes on her new role without letting it consume her...awesome. Rage gives hope to those in Missy's shoes. I so hope, when it finally comes out, that teens experiencing the same issues can get their hands on it.

This ARC took my breath away. It's set to be published April 2011. Go out and Get. That. Book. Hats off to Jackie Morse Kessler!

Rating: 5/5