Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy Fiction
Publication Date: April 4, 2011
ISBN-13 Book: 9780547445281
Source: Read galley from NetGalley. This is my honest review!
Rage by Jackie Kessler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Missy Miller has a secret that hidden away in a lockbox at the bottom of her closet. A secret, revealed only by the scars hidden beneath her clothes. A sharp edged secret that cuts away at her pain. One night when things are really bad, Missy miscalculates and cuts a little too deep. On that night, Death, the Pale Rider, knocks on Missy's door and bestows her with the symbol of her office, a sword forged in rage and pain and emotion. A sword to symbolize what Missy has become, War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Once more Kessler has done it. She has taken a serious teen issue and successfully wrapped it in the trappings of fantasy while staying true to the issue. In this novel, Missy is a cutter. She cuts herself because the pain of cutting is something she can control when she can't control the world around her.
This novel takes a look at the darker side of being a teen. Feeling isolated and outcast, misunderstood because of the clothing you wear or the way you look. Missy is bullied, and forced to endure humiliation that is beyond what anyone should be forced to endure.
I loved Missy's character. She is constantly at war with herself. She knows she shouldn't cut, but there is no release for her any other way. This novel focuses on Missy's conflicts. She is the epitomy of War. She was easy to relate to, because anyone who has been the unfortunate target of cruel pranks and taunting will know how she feels. That feeling in your chest when it has gone too far and you feel like you can't breathe anymore.
Most of the characters aren't as well developed, but this was Missy's story told from her point of view. I did find the other horsemen to be very interesting, particularly Death who bears "a passing resemblance to a certain dead alternative rock star" (51). Death is at once amusing and frightening. He is a character I really want to know more about.
This was a spectacular novel, and I am impressed with how well Kessler conveyed Missy's feelings. The fantasy element adds to the success of the novel. It makes difficult medicine easier to swallow and allows you the hope that maybe Missy will find her way home.
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