Monday, April 18, 2011

Blog Tour: Jackie Morse Kessler's Rage (Review and Interview!)

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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.


After last year’s unique and startling Hunger, the start to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, I have been eager to read the sequel Rage. I wondered if it would better than the first one, or lackluster in comparison. Luckily, Rage managed to win me over in one big swoop with not only Jackie’s way of writing, but also its honest look at a serious issue- one that affects many lives across the world.

It all started a while ago…Missy found comfort in a blade, a sliver one with a sharp edge. It gave her comfort and control that she did not receive in real life. However, one night she went too far. It was a bad night, because not only was she caught in a compromising and embarrassing position in front of her malicious classmates thanks to her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, but also there were pictures taken and words said- words that keep circling around in her head. Therefore, she got it out in the way she knew best- cutting- and it left her on Death’s doorstep. Only for her to find out she had been expected as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and given a role she is unable to believe- War. With this new role come a sword and a power no 16-year-old girl has faced before. Missy will face not only her inner demons but also the chance at redemption and love- two things she never thought she would receive. Will everything turn out okay in the end? Will Missy squash her problems to the ground, or will she let them get the best of her? Only time and more pages can tell in this captivating read.

Missy is a girl who in most ways is nearly broken to the point of no repair. She has faced more loss, ridicule, and embarrassment than anyone her age should. Sometimes all I wanted to do was shake her gently on the shoulders and talk some sense into her, to tell her there was a live out there worth living for, and that cutting was never the answer. However, since I obviously could not do that, I supported her the best way I could- I rooted for her. Her path from the start of the novel to the end is not an easy one. It is filled with drama and problems; it will make nearly any reader go through a wide variety of emotions- from sadness to shock to hate to happiness.

This leads me to the plot.

The aspect I always love the most about these novels is the fact that Jackie takes such tough and hard subjects (in this case self-mutilation), and presents them in such unique, memorable, and most importantly un-preachy ways. With this novel, particularly, her writing and world building talents improved immensely. The characters and their tales jumped off the pages; the story came to life; and the world of the Horsemen felt like it was right there in front of me the whole time.

Finally yet importantly, I have to add that I loved the ending. It was anywhere near the “perfect” ending most stories have these days. Instead, it gave me as well as other readers an honest ending. It was hopeful; do not get me wrong, but it also was realistic in the best way possible.

Startling and unflinchingly honest, Rage packs quite the punch, and let me tell you, if you enjoyed Hunger, you will love this one. I can only the next one will be as good.

Grade: A+

Rage is now out!

Source: Publisher
I also had the chance to ask Jackie a few questions about Rage and some other things so without a further ado...

LCB: In your opinion, what are the top three reasons why readers should consider picking up Rage, your latest release, the next time they see it in stores or online?

JK: 1. It takes a hard-hitting look at self-injury; 2. It has the Horsemen of the Apocalypse; and 3. Death plays the guitar. :)

LCB: Death playing the guitar is enough of reason to read it, in my opinion! Anyhow, Rage tells the story of Missy, a teen who faces problems surrounding self-mutilation, which leaves me to wonder why you gave her this particular trait? In addition, do you have any advice for others who may be going through similar problems to Missy’s?

JK: When I finished writing HUNGER, the first book in the Riders of the Apocalypse (in which an anorexic teenage girl becomes Famine), my agent said to me, “Which Horseman are you writing about next?” Based on events in HUNGER, it made sense for the Horseman to be War. In my series, War carries a humongous sword, which is her symbol of office. When I thought about the sword, making the connection to another sort of blade — in Missy’s case, a razor — came quickly. That’s when I began to research self-injury.

I’m donating a portion of proceeds of RAGE to a terrific organization called To Write Love On Her Arms . This non-profit group is there for people who are coping with depression, self-injury, addiction and suicidal thoughts—it is there to offer support and to help people find treatment options near them. TWLOHA is there, ready to listen to anyone who needs to talk. As the organization says, your story matters. :)

LCB: Very cool! To Write Love On Her Arms is such a great group! Rage is the second addition to the Horseman of the Apocalypse series, which leaves me to wonder the follow: what is your favorite aspect of writing this series, and what inspired you to switch up who the main characters are with each book?

JK: I’d had the idea for HUNGER for 10 years, so when I finally sat down to write it, it all came pouring out. I had no idea that Death was going to look (and sound, and sing) like Kurt Cobain. It just happened. That was very fun—and now I know exactly why he looks like Kurt, and what his story is. And I can’t wait to tell it! **rubs hands gleefully** So as a series, I’d say writing Death’s character throughout is my favorite part.

I knew when HUNGER was done that Lisa’s story was complete, and that I wouldn’t be revisiting her and James. Therefore, I needed a new protagonist for RAGE. It took me a while before I discovered Missy, and longer before she opened up to me.

When it was time for me to start writing LOSS, which is about a bullied teenage boy who is tricked into becoming the new Pestilence, it made sense for the protagonist to be male because the White Rider, whom we’ve seen in both HUNGER and RAGE, is male. Consistency rocks!

LCB: Consistency does rock, and I love seeing all the crossover characters! Since becoming an official teen author with last year’s Hunger, have you experienced any noteworthy ‘rock star’ type moments? If so, do you have any you would like to share?

JK: LOL — well, just the other week, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine and I, and a boatload of other people, got kicked out of a dinner party in a hotel room for, apparently, being too noisy. At 9:30 pm on a Saturday night. In Los Angeles. (!!!) We didn’t even break any of the furniture! But at least we ate before Security told us to leave. (Priorities!!!)

LCB: haha, that's hilarious and defiently rock star-worthy! Anyhow, Rage’s release date was April 4. How did you spend the day?

JK: Working at my full-time day job, and then going to my favorite local indie bookstore, Flights of Fantasy in Colonie, NY, and doing a reading/signing/Q&A about Rage. :)

LCB: What is up next for you, book-wise?

JK: I’m currently working to finish writing LOSS, the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse (goal finish date: THIS THURSDAY!!!), and then before I start writing the fourth and final Riders book (BREATH, which is Death’s book, yay!), I have an idea for a middle-grade (tween) book that I want to write for my boys. :)


YAY, I can't wait to read Loss and Breath, especially Breath, as I'm eager to see things from Death's point of view! Anyhow, thanks so much for stopping by Jackie!

Also, as part of the tour Jackie's hosting an awesome contest. Here's all the details you need to know.
Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.
Jackie's next stop is In Bed with Books. Be sure to check it out! To find out more about Jackie and her books, head on over to her website.


  1. Fantastic review and interview, Lauren! I was a big fan of Hunger when I read it last year, and my copy of Rage has just been dispatched. So excited to read it. And it's great to get some information about the next couple of books. Breath wil be epic, I'm sure, as Death was my favourite character from Hunger.

    Thanks for this!

  2. Great review & interview! I didn't end up liking RAGE as much as HUNGER, but I see your point of view. I think I just could never truly connect with Missy.


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