Friday, March 16, 2012

Early Review - Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse, Book 3) by Jackie Morse Kessler (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 272 pages
Publisher: Graphia
Release Date: March 20, 2012
ISBN: 978-0547712154
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and it tells the story of Pestilence. I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. It was a bit different than the previous two books, but still a good addition to the series.

Billy has it pretty rough. He is constantly beat up at school, he is forced to take care of his grandpa who has Alzheimer's, and he just can't seem to get a break. That is until Death gives him Pestilence's Bow. As Billy starts to take revenge on his bullying classmates, he realizes that what he is doing is wrong. There is a bigger problem here and if Billy can't help to reign Pestilence in, then whole world may be destroyed by a horrible plague.

Unlike previous books in this series Billy doesn't have a self-mutilating disorder (like anorexia or cutting) but he does have anxiety problems. His life seems to be about loss; lost opportunities, a lost father, his grandfather's loss of health, and Billy's loss of indepedence in trying to take care of his grandfather. His life is also filled with disease of sorts: his crippling anxiety and his grandfather's debilitating disease. All this ties him to Pestilence. Through Billy we learn Pestilence's story and it is one rife with loss and disease as well.

Billy must figure out why Pestilence has gone mad and try to get Pestilence to resume his duties. For not only can Pestilence spread disease but he is the Conqueror of all illness as well. If Billy can't figure out how to get Pestilence to take up his duties the whole world may be facing the Apocalypse.

As with all of these books Death is my favorite character; he is funny and is something different from all the other Riders. Billy was also a very good character and my heart went out to him. He situation really sucked and I really feel for any kid whose been bullied that bad. I wasn't quite as engaged with Billy as with the characters in the previous book, possibly because he was a boy and I couldn't relate to the bullying thing, but he was well done and I think he will ring true for a lot of YA readers out there.

As with all previous books in this series a portion of the book sales goes to a cause, in this case the fight against Alzheimer's. Kessler also talks about resources where bullied kids can find support in the Afterward.

Overall a solid addition to this series. This is different from previous books in that it is more about Pestilence's problems than Billy's; but the two characters have issues that tie them together nicely. There is a lot of symbolism in this book and a lot to think about. I love reading about the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the troubling teens who become/help them. I can't wait to see what is next in this series. Highly recommend to YA fans.

This book goes towads the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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