Sunday, April 17, 2011


by Jackie Morse Kessler

Grade: To Own
Story: Lisabeth Lewis has an eating disorder, and then she becomes Famine.

I love Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse books so much. They are a subclass of my perhaps even greater love for Death books. That is the main reason why this book is "To Own". I can put it with Pratchett's Thief of Time (which I still need to buy) and Pratchett's and Gaiman's Good Omens, and then add Mort and Keturah and Lord Death as Death books. I really wish I liked The Book Thief more. I mean, everyone else in the world seems to adore it, and its Death character is really great. I also wished I liked Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics. His Death is one of the most original and awesome Deaths around. But I really don't. Like them, I mean.

Anyway. Back to the book in question. I quite liked this Death. As it says in the book, "Pestilence sighed. Death, he'd learned long ago, was weird". He was described as sexy twice, which almost put me off him. I'd much rather this was shown subtly instead of stated like that. But anyway. I still liked him--he is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death after all.
The one part where I did appreciate the use of the word "sexy" was here (pg. 62):
"Lisa liked their accents. Maybe British or Scottish or Australian; she couldn't tell. But definitely one of those places, where the words all rolled up and down hills and language turned into something sexy." Oh yeah. Definitely.

Otherwise, it seemed to me a tasteful handling of anorexia. But what do I know.
And the whole thing was a little short. I could do with a lot more fleshing out, especially of the other Horsemen. Especially of Pestilence. People never show Pestilence enough. (Although Pestilence in Good Omens was the awesomest.) War is always some big lady with a sword and an attitude. Death is always wise and calm and in control--and in this case, wisecracking. But Pestilence in this one was rather mysterious, and I'd like to know more about him. Pestilence is supposed to work well with Famine, apparently. Death himself says so. But he was weird and gross and claimed he was a philanthropist--but was he?--and he certainly didn't seem to get along terribly well with Famine.

So we'll see how Rage is when it comes in at the library. I definitely want to read all of the next three when they come out. And own them if they're not worse than this one.

(See reviews of the next books in the series: Rage, Loss, Breath.)

P.S. Death shows up on my Top Ten (Or So): Anthropomorphic Personifications of Death.

No comments: