By Jackie Morse Kessler
Available now from Graphia
Read my interview with Jackie
I think I'm the opposite of most people. I prefer RAGE, the second Horseman of the Apocalypse novel, to its predecessor HUNGER. I understood Missy more. Missy's going through a rough time: she's broken up with her boyfriend and her cat just died. Then her boyfriend betrays her. Her method of dealing is to let it all out by cutting. Even before Death makes her the new incarnation of War, she's already trying to find a healthier method of self-control.
Missy also spends less time traveling than Lisa did. One battlefield is enough to let Jackie Morse Kessler's description shine while allowing things to remain focused on Missy and her problems. Her issues feel less like an analogue for the world's issues. Instead, the damage of one person relieving her anger is amplified.
The part I was most unsure about was Death and War's relationship. Death's relationship with the previous Wars was sexual. He's got a type. Missy's attraction mostly seems to be based on his looks. Kessler managed to make me mostly like their relationship. but I felt uncomfortable with it for awhile. I like my couples to see each other as people.
I had issues with Missy's sister too. Missy doesn't know where her sister stands and by the end of the book I wasn't sure either. Part of that's the first person point of view. Part of it is that the sister seems to want Missy to quit, but she also says some incredibly cruel things. Some of her actions could be loving, but she sounded so callous.
Overall, I thought Missy was a well-defined character and her emotional arc was clear. Those who are looking for a true urban fantasy novel probably won't like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series. But if you enjoy real world issues combined with fantasy, Kessler's work will be right up your alley.