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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Rage
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 04/04/11
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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.

Plot: 3 Stars
After reading Hunger, the first novel in this series, I was excited to see what Jackie Morse Kessler would do with Rage. I knew I wanted to read it when I found out it would deal with another tough subject, self-injury, because I would be able to draw on my own experiences while reading. I really connected with Missy and felt what she was going through while I was reading the novel. One part of the novel I didn't completely understand though, was how everyone was so cruel to Missy about her scars and wounds. Maybe I was just lucky enough to not experience the aspect of self-injury in which the entire student body finds out, but I couldn't believe how harshly all of the students in the novel reacted. I guess I expected more than just Missy's best friend to be the only one sticking by her side. But I love the way the author subtley weaves the paranormal aspect into the story. And although the ending isn't exactly what I expected, it did wrap up in a satisfying way.

Pace: 3 Stars
For such a short novel, it felt like it took me a pretty long time to read it. I was on vacation at the time, but we weren't doing vacation-y things all day long. I found that throughout the novel, there were a lot of ups and downs with the pacing. There were a few big, emotion scenes but the smaller scenes between them weren't enough to keep me going. I found myself putting this novel down numerous times in between these big scenes, instead of reading through the smallers scenes to the next big scene. It wasn't until the last third of the novel that the pace picked back up and didn't slow down again.

Characters: 3 Stars
Teenagers can be very mean and judgmental, and the author does a fantastic job of making the teenagers in this novel feel very real. I enjoyed Missy as a main character because I could relate to her from my own experiences as a teenager. Because of this, I feel like I connected with Missy more than I connected with the main character of Hunger due to my lack of experience with eating disorders. Death was once again a very interesting character. I love how the author alludes to him looking and acting like a certain rock star, without ever coming out and saying whether or not Death actually is said rock star. It was interesting to see the other Horsemen, Famine and Pestilance, although I didn't completely understand all of Pestilance's actions. I'm hoping a future novel will clear up some of the confusion. The parents and other grown-up figures didn't work out as well for me. Missy's parents came across slightly robotic. I feel like they should have noticed a little more of the dynamic between Missy and her sister (that they strongly disliked each other), instead of just brushing it off and telling them to kiss and make up. I also didn't completely agree with how the soccer coach dealt with a certain situation.

Cover: 4 Stars
The simplicity of this cover is what works so well. The sword gives you an idea about the content of the novel, without giving away too much. The font choice lets the imagery speak for itself instead of overwhelming the cover. All too often, novels with very short titles will over embellish the title to make up for its lack of length, but the simplicity of this novel's title really lets the sword speak for itself. The colors of this novel also work very well. The color choices work well with the sword, while still giving the cover a dark and moody feel that fits the novel. The shine of the cover works well too. I think that the cover wouldn't work nearly as well if the cover was in a matte finish. The colors wouldn't be as saturated, and the cover wouldn't be as dark.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I borrowed this novel from the local library.

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