Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rage by Jackie Kessler

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. 

Jackie Kessler’s story of Melissa Miller is one part gutting, one part touching with a sprinkle of violence. Even though I haven’t experience first hand what Melissa is going through, after reading this story I can’t help but understand it better. Jackie Kessler does a great job of allowing the reader to view the world through Melissa’s eyes and to experience her pain and her shame. There were times that I felt as though I was walking in Melissa’s shoes, I account this to great storytelling. Now, having read this book, I’m not going to go around saying I know what it is like to be a self-injurer. However, the narrative gives you a glimpse into the life of one, and a realistic one at that.

On the fantasy side, I appreciated Melissa as War. The analogies between the two different blades that she uses were interesting, and allowed more insight into Melissa and what she felt. The story happens over a short period of time, there isn’t much dialogue but for the story, this works. I had a bit of trouble understanding the relationship between Melissa and the Sword, but that was cleared up in the end.

This isn’t a happy-go-lucky kind of book, while it touches on fantasy a lot of the issues it talks about are real. I can see this book (and series) as a great discussion piece on the things that teens (and some adults) deal with but might not necessarily want to say out loud. It’s recommended reading, but not something to take lightly.

[review of arc via netgalley]

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