Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse #2) by Jackie Morse Kessler

These are kind of short books, just about 200 pages, and so I decided to fit them in before some books that I had deadlines for.  Plus, I'm planning to go to the Romantic Times Convention the first weekend in May since it will be here in my hometown this year.  And the author will be here, so that is really exciting!  I've been a fan of this author since I read the first book in this series, Hunger.  I think that book was really easy for me to connect to, as I'm sure for many other females because it is about a girl with an eating disorder.  Food/exercising/weight, are all things I've dealt with in my life.  And so it was kind of a familiar struggle to read about.
This second book, Rage, might not be quite so easy to relate to for people.  The main character is Missy.  And she is a cutter.  She cuts because it helps numb or dull the pain.  She felt as the blood ran out of her that it also let out all the hurt and anger she had inside.  But then her boyfriend, Adam, had seen her marks, and he'd called her a freak, and broken up with her.  Which only made her cut more.  But he didn't just break up with her, he told his friends about it, and now at school she had to deal with the boys that called her names and teased her.  But she had what she called her dead face, that she dealt with those people at school.  To ignore them and not let them see her pain.  The story begins on the day she kills her cat.  She doesn't really kill her cat, that freaked me a bit at first.  I was afraid she was violent to animals since the title of the book was rage.  But she had put her cat to sleep, and she felt guilty for it.  That is something I understand because I've had to put two dogs to sleep.  I felt so guilty for the first one, and the second one.  It's such a hard choice to make.  Because could the vet have helped them if you'd spent more time and money?  Or would they have continued suffering?  So the guilt from that also led to Missy cutting more to release the pain.  Well, the day she lost her cat, Death showed up at her door.  It seems as if she had been really close to killing herself with her cutting that day from the description.  He showed up and gave her a big white box.  She didn't want it, was scared, so slammed the door in Death's face and shoved the big box, onto her closet shelf, which for some reason it was now small enough to fit on.
Death is patient, he knows that soon she will decide to take up the sword and become one of the four Riders, she will become War.  And she does, after she decides to go to a party.  She decides to go after her ex tells her he misses her, both in person at school, as well as through texting.  She also has a bad relationship with her younger sister, who is popular, and is not happy having an emo older sister at school.  All these things spur Missy to go to the party.  Where Adam finds her, and kisses her, and brings back all her old feelings for him.  But he's not really back for her, he's back to humiliate her, which he does.  And now she is ready.  She takes the sword and goes back to the party.  Only they can't see her as a rider, but she does what War does, as she walks by she spreads feelings of anger, rage, and war.  Only afterwards Missy is not pleased about it.  She feels horrible for what she's caused.  And it is this war between herself and what she believes to be "War" that she must fight and decide how will she take up the reins.  Famine, from the first book shows up several times.  Both to prod her into taking the job, as well as to kind of help her become a Rider that will help balance the four.  But Famine is cautious, as the one before her was killed by War, and she was almost killed herself before she had to kill the War before Missy.
And there is a bit of a romantic feeling between Death and Missy, as it would make sense that Death and War would go together.
We also get to meet Pestilence in this book, and he is sick, as you might figure he would be.  But the meeting with him I believe is a good bridge to the next book in the series, as the death of War in the first book brought us to this book.
Such a great series.  The issues tackled that lead to the Riders of the Apocalypse are so real and so pertinent to many teens these days.  As a teacher, I have known kids who cut.  I have heard girls that were as skinny as can be talk about needing to diet and lose weight.  All of these things make me sad.  The food things have always been understandable to me.  And with some depression issues I've had, I've recently begun to understand about the cutting as well.  Not something I'd ever do, I hate pain, pass out when I get shots or give blood, but I can understand the need to not feel pain, and how that could be a way to take your mind off emotional pain.  And I love how at the end of the book the author states that a portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to To Write Love On Her Arms, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people struggling with this issue of self-injury, as well as other similar issues.  If you want more info about  this organization, you can go to their website:  TWLOHA.