Loss (Review)

Book cover for "Loss" by Jackie Morse Kessler.Title: Loss

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 272

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: E-book version purchased from Kobo Books

From the cover:

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors…and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider, and stop him from unleashing something awful on humanity — something that could make the Black Plague look like a summer cold. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground — and the courage to save the world?

(This is the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series, after Hunger and Rage.)

I was really looking forward to reading this book. Back when I read the first two, they were brand new. I never finished the series because I moved overseas and wasn’t getting review copies anymore, so I forgot all about it. But then when I remembered, and realized that the series had been completed, I snapped up copies of the final two books!

Sadly, I wasn’t super impressed with Loss. It started out really strong, showing the life of a bullied teenager who also has to help take care of his elderly grandfather with Alzheimer’s. I was really into it, and loving where it seemed to be going. Partway through the book, though, I felt like it started to lose its focus. It was often confusing, and I guess that was the point – to show the turmoil going on inside the previous White Rider – but it was a bit too much. I shouldn’t be that confused while reading a YA book. Also, I felt like it kind of lost the plot to do with Billy’s problems, something that I felt was a real strength of Kessler’s writing in the previous two books.

Having said that, the book delved into a bit more of the mythology of the Horsemen, explaining a bit about how they work and how they pass on memories from one to the next, so that was kind of cool.

I still enjoyed reading Loss, I just felt like it wasn’t as strong as Hunger and Rage were. But maybe you’ll feel differently than I do, and I really love the concept of the series, so perhaps still give it a try. It’s your call.


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