Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

Published: March 20, 2012
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 272
Received: for honest review via Thomas Allen & Son

Fifteen-year old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on. Things change drastically when Billy learns that years ago, he'd been picked by Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now it's Billy's turn to wield Pestilence's Bow and spread sickness through the world. He uses his new power to lash out at his tormentors... and accidentally causes an outbreak of disease. Horrified by his actions, he wants nothing more than to be rid of the Bow. For that to happen, Billy must track down the previous White Rider, who is hiding in a place where even Death cannot go.

By the time Billy finds the man who had tricked him so long ago, the White Rider is completely insane - and is poised to unleash a plague that would make the Black Death look like a summer cold. And only Billy can stop him. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground - and the courage to save the world?
I went into this book really looking forward to learning the background story for Pestilence and I wasn't disappointed. I absolutely loved the first two books in the Riders of the Apocalypse Series, Hunger and Rage, and was happy to see that Loss lived up to my expectations.

Billy's story is a mixture of emotions - the anguish of being a teen who is bullied day in and day out, the frustration of being a babysitter to his grandfather who has alzheimers and awkwardness he has about liking a girl and not feeling comfortable acting on it. Poor Billy can't get a break and then just when things feel like they couldn't get worse Death crosses his path and tells him he is supposed to take on the mantle of Pestilence. Apparently the nightmares he's had as a child about a creepy man in white were really true and as a child he agreed to take the crown and become the White Rider when it finally time.

Through Billy's fate we actually get to learn the history of the White Rider (or at least the current White Rider) and it is quite the amazing tale. Jackie Morse Kessler has a way with words and brings you through a few different snippets of time helping us to see how ravaged the mind of the White Rider really is. I suppose after seeing and doing the things the Pestilence has had to do, I might go crazy too if I were him.

Billy finally learns to stand up for himself by going through the motions and being pushed into a journey he didn't think he could handle. I think he even surprises himself a little along the way. I think I love this series because it shows how the teenagers finally figure out their lives, accept who they are meant to be and are able to redeem themselves in the real world all thanks to learning from their alter egos, the Riders of the Apocalypse.
Humanity's imagination is both its greatest achievement and is greatest disappointment.-quote from finished copy of Loss (page 150)
Breath is coming April 16, 2013 - pre-order your copy now.

About the Author:
Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)

Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of any of the Riders of the Apocalypse Series will will be given as a donation to charities that support the causes mentioned in the books. Check the books and charities out here.

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