March 20, 2012

Review: Loss

Book CoverRiders of the Apocalypse (Book 3)
By Jackie Morse Kessler
Available now from Graphia (Houghton Mifflin)
Review copy
Read my reviews of HUNGER and RAGE
Read my two interviews with Jackie

I've been reading the Riders of the Apocalypse series since the beginning and I think that each one is better than the last. LOSS tells the story of Billy Ballard, bullied at school and caring for his grandfather with Alzheimer's at home. You may be wondering how bullying connects to Pestilence, since the other issues explored in the series have tied tightly to the Horseman. In this case, there isn't much of a connection because Billy doesn't go through the standard succession process. The current White Rider tricks him into the position.

Billy's grandfather does bring disease into the story. Jackie Morse Kessler explains in the afterword that she intended for the Alzheimer's to be a larger part of the story, but it just didn't work. I can only be thankful; lately I keep running into dementia story lines and I would prefer to avoid them at the moment. Billy's relationship with his grandfather is realistic and touching.

I loved how Kessler wove myths and legends into Pestilence's past. At first the inclusion of King Midas and Robin Hood seemed odd, but those passages really worked. In HUNGER and RAGE, the minor characters were often too slight. But LOSS is as much the incumbent White Rider's story as Billy's. The two are simultaneously the same being and very different people.

Death continues to be a delight and I cannot wait for BREATH, the conclusion to the Riders of the Apocalypse. LOSS can be read as a standalone, but I do recommend picking up the whole series.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that is an interesting point about Billy being tricked into his position and that's why Pestilence seems a bit forced unlike the previous books. I've seen some other reviews mention the disconnect but couldn't figure out the why myself. Personally that was one of the reasons why I didn't like this one as much. Rage remains my favorite but I am very anxious to see what happens in Breath!


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