Riders of the Apocalypse (Book 3)
By Jackie Morse Kessler
Available now from Graphia (Houghton Mifflin)
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.