Customer Reviews for

Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse Series)

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Raw and Heartbreaking Look at Self-mutilation

    After last year's unique and startling Hunger, the start to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, I have been eager to read the sequel Rage. I wondered if it would better than the first one, or lackluster in comparison. Luckily, Rage managed to win me over in one big swoop with not only Jackie's way of writing, but also its honest look at a serious issue- one that affects many lives across the world.

    It all started a while ago.Missy found comfort in a blade, a sliver one with a sharp edge. It gave her comfort and control that she did not receive in real life. However, one night she went too far. It was a bad night, because not only was she caught in a compromising and embarrassing position in front of her malicious classmates thanks to her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, but also there were pictures taken and words said- words that keep circling around in her head. Therefore, she got it out in the way she knew best- cutting- and it left her on Death's doorstep. Only for her to find out she had been expected as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and given a role she is unable to believe- War. With this new role come a sword and a power no 16-year-old girl has faced before. Missy will face not only her inner demons but also the chance at redemption and love- two things she never thought she would receive. Will everything turn out okay in the end? Will Missy squash her problems to the ground, or will she let them get the best of her? Only time and more pages can tell in this captivating read.

    Missy is a girl who in most ways is nearly broken to the point of no repair. She has faced more loss, ridicule, and embarrassment than anyone her age should. Sometimes all I wanted to do was shake her gently on the shoulders and talk some sense into her, to tell her there was a live out there worth living for, and that cutting was never the answer. However, since I obviously could not do that, I supported her the best way I could- I rooted for her. Her path from the start of the novel to the end is not an easy one. It is filled with drama and problems; it will make nearly any reader go through a wide variety of emotions- from sadness to shock to hate to happiness.

    This leads me to the plot.

    The aspect I always love the most about these novels is the fact that Jackie takes such tough and hard subjects (in this case self-mutilation), and presents them in such unique, memorable, and most importantly un-preachy ways. With this novel, particularly, her writing and world building talents improved immensely. The characters and their tales jumped off the pages; the story came to life; and the world of the Horsemen felt like it was right there in front of me the whole time.

    Finally yet importantly, I have to add that I loved the ending. It was anywhere near the "perfect" ending most stories have these days. Instead, it gave me as well as other readers an honest ending. It was hopeful; do not get me wrong, but it also was realistic in the best way possible.

    Startling and unflinchingly honest, Rage packs quite the punch, and let me tell you, if you enjoyed Hunger, you will love this one. I can only the next one will be as good.

    Grade: A+

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Strong Meshing of Worlds

    Whoever could have thought that pairing issues of self-abuse with fantasy elements such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be a good idea? Jackie Morse Kessler did. Her series isn't just good, either: It's GREAT. Last year, I read and reviewed Hunger, which was about an anorexic girl chosen to become Hunger, the Black Rider. Her latest novel, Rage, centers around a cutter asked to take up the mantle of The Red Rider, War. The next book, Loss, will deal with a bullied boy who is tricked into becoming Pestilence, the White Rider. The final book, Breath, revolves around Death, The Pale Rider, though in what way, we don't yet know. I love the way these issues are blended into fantasy novels. Teenagers suffering from such issues who wouldn't read realistic fiction will find their way to the fantasy/paranormal books, find these books, and realize they aren't alone. That in itself is powerful, because sometimes, this is the only way these issues can be heard. They're written in such a way that the novels don't seem "preachy," which allows readers to better connect and feel for the characters. I also admire the way a portion of the proceeds from each book goes to support organizations such as the National Eating Disorders Association and To Write Love On Her Arms.

    Rage is about a girl named Missy who has withdrawn from life after breaking up with her boyfriend. The only time she's able to feel anything is when she cuts. She's tormented at school; because she dresses in a lot of black, she's called foul names such as "cutterslut" and "emo cutter girl." Everything comes to a head at a major party, when life as she knows it is completely and utterly destroyed. Unlike in Hunger, there's more of a balance within Missy. She actually wants to be War and takes up the mantle. She knows that she has issues, that cutting can kill her. She sees that her path leads to darkness. I liked how Missy was focused on more things and knew that what she was doing was wrong, but just...couldn't stop. I also like the way she embraced being a Horsemen right away, but struggled with the nature of what she had to do. Because Missy actually wants to accept her lot, we see much more of her journey. Some of the most powerful images come when she struggles to balance her own wants and needs with those of War, whom she now embodies. This was my favorite part of Missy's journey in Rage. In Hunger, on the other hand, I most appreciated the way Kessler took us through the stages of a disorder, when Lisa didn't even know she had one. She was always denying it and couldn't even recognize that she had symptoms such as a fuzzy tongue, lost hair, etc. that were slowly killing her. I liked different things about each novel, but both were powerful in their own way.

    Death is still my favorite character, and I can't wait until we get to his book. Kessler just finished writing Loss and has hinted that we get to see a completely different side of the Pale Rider. He's her favorite character as well, so I can't wait to see how he shines in book three (let alone his own). I'm so excited to read about his story and find out what makes him so interesting. I really enjoy reading about all the different Horsemen in each book and then seeing them again later on. While some Horsemen change, others stay the same, and it's like returning to well-loved characters with each new book. I can't wait to see where everyone is and how they have evolved in Loss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Sequel That Tops Its Predecessor

    The thing I love about Jackie's writing, is that she isn't going to sugarcoat anything. If the story is about a bulimic girl, you're going to know it. No, you're going to feel it. The pain of how you look, the desperation to be just a little thinner, and the salvation that awaits with the final flush of the toilet and your entire lunch washing down the drain. The same goes here with Rage. Once again, Jackie Morse Kessler has depicted an emotional situation with raw honesty.

    Missy cuts herself because it makes her feel. It gives her a high, a release like no other. Hurting herself - possibly causing her own death - makes Missy feel alive. I felt that too. As much as it disturbed me and made me want to reach out to Missy and hug her, I also understood her compulsion to dig into her skin. It is quite a feat for any author to be able to take what most consider a tough, touchy subject and make the reader one with it.

    Missy's ventures in becoming War are far different from Lisa's experience becoming Famine. The first book piques the reader's interest in the Four Horsemen, but Rage explores who they are and their purpose much more. Missy interacts with all of the Horsemen, and I was more than pleased with the reappearance of Pestilence. Each Horseman is completely different from the next. Their roles are all entirely unique, but the end product is the same for all of them.

    Rage is harsh and sometimes bleak, but ends on a hopeful note. Much like Hunger, Rage is a haunting look into an all too common problem among teens. The paranormal aspect is almost an afterthought. The focus of the story is Missy and her cutting. Death, Pestilence, Famine, and War force Missy to examine her life and what she's doing. And what she has to do to save herself. Jackie Morse Kessler has created another story that should not be passed up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Emotional and Powerful

    WOW! Rage was one powerfully emotional story. This book was definitely summed up well by it's title. Each page of this book dripped with Rage. Melissa Miller raged against her life. Melissa raged against her parents, her friends, her school, her ex. Mostly though, Melissa raged against herself.

    It was a new experience for me, reading about a self-mutilator. I found Melissa very easy to relate to and understand because I was friends with a girl who cut herself when we were in high school. Melissa's character was so well developed, that I really cringed when she was humiliated at the party like it was my own humiliation. I'm sure for some she will also be a hard character for some to relate to, because she is full of so much hate that it's hard to take sometimes.

    I love that Melissa would have an internal struggle between herself and "war" the Horseman of the Apocalypse that she was becoming. War wanted a bloodbath everywhere that she went, and Melissa had to use a lot of control to keep Wars impulses in check.

    This series is really a great way to put a paranormal spin on tough issues. I've never read a book about self-mutilation, or another series about the Four Horseman, so both are completely unique to me, which is another plus!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo

    When I heard a young librarian "book talk" Kessler's HUNGER, I took a chance and ordered both HUNGER and her second novel for teens, called RAGE. I'm happy that I did. HUNGER grabbed my attention with its unique combination of anorexia and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was a powerful book that didn't talk down to teens about a serious issue. RAGE has the same Horsemen of the Apocalypse connection, but its focus is on the subject of cutting. This is another topic that mainly involves teens and young adults. The real truth behind the frightening behavior will no doubt remain a secret to adults, which makes it even more important to let teens know others share their pain. Missy is dealing with multiple issues - a fairly new breakup with her boyfriend, Adam; taunts from classmates about her choice of wardrobe; a younger sister who recently became an annoying freshman; and parents who say they understand but still pile on the pressure. Relief from all the stress is hidden away in a lockbox in Missy's closet, and the evidence of that relief can be found in the form of scars on her arms, stomach, and inner thighs. Missy cuts herself with a razor blade. Just as HUNGER begins, an early scene in RAGE details the visit of a deliveryman arriving at Missy's front door with a mysterious package. She doesn't understand the veiled message from the deliveryman and really doesn't have time to waste, so she grabs the package, slams the door in his face, and carries the box to her room, where she shoves it on the top shelf of her closet. She receives another visit from the deliveryman she comes to know as Death on the night of Kevin's party. When Adam approaches her at the party and says he wants to make things right with her again, Missy falls for his ploy and ends up being humiliated in front of everyone at the party. The only thing she can think about is running home to her lockbox and the release she can gain from the silver blade. Unknown to her family and friends, Missy hides in her room and cuts and cuts until, fingers slippery with blood, she cuts too deeply and she realizes her life might be over. That's when she remembers the package stashed on the shelf above her. When she is finally able to knock it from its perch and open it, she finds out the true purpose Death has for her. Becoming one of the Four Horsemen, "War," gives Missy a glimpse of the power she has hidden within. As she witnesses the tragedies of the world while on the back of her blood-red steed, she learns she has the power to defeat and deal with the stress and pressure that make her miserable. Both RAGE and HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler are worth adding to your collection. Her unusual approach to problems faced by teens today might be just the answer for readers dealing with similar issues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read!

    My goodness, if Hunger didn't capture you, Rage will. Rage is what it is. Filled with lots of anger, jealously, and betrayal. Rage is a great book you will not put down. Missy is a cutter, fueled by the pain that she feels she cuts. After cutting too much, Missie had to make a choice. And she chose to become War.


    Ms. Morse has such a way of writing her books that you not only can you connect and understand the characters, but you feel all the emotions as well. Rage is a great book that is filled with real pain and anger. Missie is a typical teenager with a problem. I like how the reader gets a good insight on Missie and her pain that she feels. As a reader, we get into the mind of Missie and see as to why she cuts. The cutting is gruesome, but it allows the reader to connect and understand Missie. Once Missie explain why she did what she did, I felt for her. I like how Ms. Morse is able to bring the character to a realization of what they are doing through becoming a horsemen. It's like a way to see themselves through their own eyes.


    I love the horseman Death. In this book we get to see and learn more about him. Also we some more clues as to who he looks like. And let me says ladies, he is sooo cute!!!

    Rage is beautiful, haunting book about pain that once you feel it you can not let go. It has a great plot that leaves you wanting more. Ms. Morse has once again, captured me by the heart. It not only let me see and feel cutting, but it gave me a better understanding of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The second Horseman of the Apocalypse books

    Missy Miller is one of those girls you see walk down the hallways at school dressed in all black with goth makeup and a scowl on her face. Beneath all that, however, lies a sensitive girl with real feelings. There are the emotions surrounding her ex-boyfriend Adam, and the struggle to keep from cutting herself with a razor just to watch herself bleed. Oh yeah, there's also the small fact that Death came to visit and wants Missy to be the next War Horseman of the Apocalypse. In one whirlwind weekend, Missy is going to have to shed her carefully constructed image and do some deep soul-searching in order to survive.

    I liked this one more than Hunger. Perhaps it was because Missy's voice was so raw and honest. Perhaps it was due to the fact that her struggle was with rage and anger instead of food and body image issues. Whatever it was, Rage was an excellent, short read. These books are about such heavy topics, and are executed very well. Kessler took care to make Missy's voice sound different from her character of Famine, and I appreciated how solid she kept the other characters of Death and Pestilence from book to book. My only complaint would be that I didn't think the kids who tormented Missy so terribly should have gotten off as easy as they did. Seriously, those guys were CRUEL! This book is short, and an easy read. I would recommend it to teens out there with anger issues, but also to readers who are looking for something a little off the beaten path. Will there be another book in the series? I am still waiting to read from sexy man Death's point of view!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2015

    GREAT READ

    RECOMEND AS I DID WITH BREATH

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Hollow

    The grey kit stalked into the camp quietly, not making a noise. He had dark grey stripes along his spine and tail, and his paws were white. He had ice blue eyes, and his claws and canine teeth were strangely longer than a normal cats. His white ears flicked. (He is mute, may i join?)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    Flamesoul

    He is a tom. He has red and orange fur. He has shining green eyes. He likes to be strange and talk in rhmes. He has no mate but has his eye on someone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Fogheart

    A silver cat with a cloudy white belly and black stripes with orange eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Kiriu

    A large white shecat pad in. Her blood red eyes revealing many murders. Her teeth as long as a sabre cat. Can i join she growls

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Moonblade

    I love your respect for your leader. Do you want to run for deputy tonight?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Darkdeath

    A large black shecat with bloodred eyes. She is a natural killer. She is willing to mate, but forget the lovey dovey stuff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    IrridecentBlade

    Name: IrridecentBlade
    Place: Deputy
    Status: Singlem but not realy looking. I'll know him when I find him.
    Pelt: A dark midnight blue
    Eyes: Golden, but are slowly consumed the more angry she gets.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    gave me a new appreciation

    Part of the short comings when it came to Hunger was that the title and idea behind the horsemen didn’t really match the story line. We had an anorexic girl who didn’t really suffer from hunger. Rather the lack of balance in her life and the way she dealt with situations prevented her from leading a healthy existence. Likewise, the horseman Famine wasn’t about inflicting starvation, but rather balancing the distribution of food. Knowing Rage wouldn’t necessarily be about anger, my mind was more open to the story. Or rather, I had to constantly remind myself that we’re not dealing with the title or the concept of the Horsemen War, but something beyond and loosely related. Whereas Hunger was about balance, Rage was about control. The star of the show, Missy, seemed more depressed than angry and dealt with her depression by cutting herself. In fact, she worked hard at the flat effect. I questioned at times if she even had the ability to express her anger. So the title missed the mark again, but that didn’t make it a bad book… just something to keep in mind so one doesn’t enter the story with false expectations. As far as the story itself? Decent. I was horrified with all that happened to Missy. Though I can’t imagine her situation is typical, I know there are girls out there who’ve faced similar experiences. Once in awhile, awful events will even appear in the news. I shake my head and sigh and hope my kids never have to go through something so horrid. I have to say, Ms. Kessler did a wonderful job putting me inside Missy’s head. I’m such a wimp when it comes to pain, I can’t imagine hurting myself on purpose, much less making myself bleed. So why would someone harm themselves? Well, read the story if you’re looking for some insight. It certainly gave me a new appreciation.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    riveting and emotional

    Jackie Kessler's story of Melissa Miller is one part gutting, one part touching with a sprinkle of violence. Even though I haven't experience first hand what Melissa is going through, after reading this story I can't help but understand it better. Jackie Kessler does a great job of allowing the reader to view the world through Melissa's eyes and to experience her pain and her shame. There were times that I felt as though I was walking in Melissa's shoes, I account this to great storytelling. Now, having read this book, I'm not going to go around saying I know what it is like to be a self-injurer. However, the narrative gives you a glimpse into the life of one, and a realistic one at that.

    On the fantasy side, I appreciated Melissa as War. The analogies between the two different blades that she uses were interesting, and allowed more insight into Melissa and what she felt. The story happens over a short period of time, there isn't much dialogue but for the story, this works. I had a bit of trouble understanding the relationship between Melissa and the Sword, but that was cleared up in the end.

    This isn't a happy-go-lucky kind of book, while it touches on fantasy a lot of the issues it talks about are real. I can see this book (and series) as a great discussion piece on the things that teens (and some adults) deal with but might not necessarily want to say out loud. It's recommended reading, but not something to take lightly.


    [review of arc via netgalley]

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  • Posted May 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    I still love the idea behind this series. It's a very unique way to present topics that aren't talked about very happen.

    I actually really liked Missy's character. I may not understand the need for self-mutilation, but Missy gave it a face. How it makes her feel was very descriptive. In the end, I felt like I really had a grasp on why Missy did it. She really put on a brave front for the rest of the world, buy behind closed doors it was an entirely different matter. I liked the inner dialogue's she had about the locked box, how the blade made her feel, and trying to keep herself from turning to it.

    I also really loved her as War. It taught her a lot about who she was and how to control her pain. It was also ok for her to feel it in the first place. I also liked how her personal mood affected how others felt when she took the place as War. I think my favorite parts were her interactions with the other horseman. I really enjoyed learning about Pestilence.

    What really bothered me about this book was others reaction to Missy's cutting. It seems the whole school know about Missy and her problem. Only one of them seems supportive of her in any way. They call her names and treat her not as someone who needs helps, but as an outcast because of it. I found that odd. What upset me the most was her soccer coach's reaction. While I understood this reaction was what lead her finally take up the mantle of War, it was poorly done. I disliked her being called a bad influence.

    I will finish this series and very interested to see what Pestilence does!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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