Friday, 29 April 2011

Review: Rage - Jackie Morse Kessler

Published: April 8th 2011, Harcourt
Pages: Kindle copy
Series?: Yes, this is the second installment. Loss (book three) is due out in 2012
Acquired: Obtained via Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

My review: Wow. Rage is certainly an upfront novel. Whether you love it or hate it, I guarantee you'll finish with a strong opinion either way. Personally, I loved Rage. It's a relatively short novel but it definitely packs a punch. The story opens with our protagonist killing her cat so that sets the tone for what's to come... Dark!

Melissa is a troubled girl in a horrible situation but I think Kessler does a good job at not trying to force the reader into pitying her - I like that readers are allowed to make up their own mind. I felt awful for Melissa after the 'party' incident but, generally, I really didn't feel too much empathy for her. There was just a little something about her personality that grated on me - I get that she's not supposed to be the most likable character but I didn't bond with her at all and that did make it hard to care about the outcome of the novel.

I did feel that it's the plot of Rage that makes it a great book as the plot itself is so, so strong and well researched. The writing was a little repetitive, especially when it came to Melissa thinking about self-harming. Okay, how many references are there to kissing in this book? A lot. Melissa thinks about the blade kissing her skin, the blood kissing her skin, her face kissing the grass, Death's finger kissing her face etc etc. It just became a little less effective after reading the same metaphor so many times so I wish there had been a bit more originality in the language used.

Death is a great character - he reminded me a little of the Doctor in Doctor Who. Towards the end of the book he almost became too quirky for me but he did come out with some brilliant one liners. I definitely want to read Hunger soon to learn more about Famine and I can't wait to see Pestilence's back story when Loss comes out next year.

First line: 'The day Melissa Miller killed her cat, she met the Angel of Death.'

Plot: 5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 15/20 (B)


  1. What was the first book in the series? I am intrigued now.

  2. Hello love, the first book is called Hunger :) x

  3. I have this on my netgalley. Great review.

    I started it, but I couldn't really get over her killing her cat. I'll probably pick it up again though. I enjoyed Hunger, it was incredibly weird though. I have to get used to the author's writing style, it's a little jarring with all the POV shifts in Hunger.


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.