Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Published: October 18, 2010
Publisher: Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547341248
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 177
Source: NetGalley
Series: Horsemen of the Apocalypse #1
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.” 

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? 

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

Hunger was not was I expected. Not in the least. In some ways this is a good thing, in other ways, not so much.

Death was a fascinating character, but unfortunately, he's the only secondary character who really stood out to me. Lisa was a great protagonist, if only because she was so flawed you couldn't help but feel for her. When I first realized that a girl with anorexia was going to be Famine, I found it ironic. (As did some characters in the story) But now that I've finished reading it, it makes perfect sense, and I loved the way Kessler intertwined mythology and real life, serious issues. 

Lisabeth didn't just fall into the role of famine out of a case of back luck, nor was she born into the role. Her actions and her choices in life lead her to that position, and I think that's something that sets Hunger apart from your typical paranormal/fantasy.

My only real issue with the story is the lack of action. Even if I hadn't gone in expecting action out of the apocalypse (I admit, I totally did) there still wasn't much action for a story about anything. It is beautifully written, and well paced, so perhaps the short length is what created this problem for me. 

I don't really understand the apocalypse aspect of the story, either. I assume the world must be in the middle of the apocalypse, but Lisabeth doesn't seem to address this issue in any way, whatsoever. Which I guess is understandable in a way, considering the real issue in Hunger was her struggle with an eating disorder, which I think Kessler captured perfectly. Still, I can't help but feel as though the story was lacking something, plot wise. 

4/5 Stars

Language: Mild
Sexual content: References to sex

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