Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Title: Hunger
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
Pages: 180
Publication Date: October 18, 2010
from Goodreads:
“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?
An anorexic girl takes the job as Famine, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Faced with the power to destroy, she ends up discovering that she needs help. 
Doesn't that sound awesome?  The plot certainly sounded cool to me when I first opened to page one.  But it turned out that this book was just okay.  Not good, not great, just okay.  The idea of the plot sounded fantastic and moving and made me want to read it all the way through.  But the plot itself- there was just something off.  I'm not entirely sure what was off for me, but I'll try to explain the best I can.
The style and wording did not really speak to me.  I think it would have been better if it had been in first person, rather than third person.  At times, I really didn't understand Lisa's motives and couldn't really relate to her because I was never really put into her situation before. 
I felt that the beginning was off.  The beginning opened on a scene where Lisa is in her bedroom staring at her Scales that Death had just given her and wondering what to do with them.  That scene didn't feel right.  I had gotten the notion that I had just walked in on a movie twenty minutes late.  I felt like I had missed something.
The main character, Lisabeth, had too many flaws.  I just didn't like her.  I mean, obviously, I know every character has to have a flaw- but it seemed that she had too many to count, to the point where she became annoying.  She didn't redeem herself until the way end, when she found her strength and admitted to her family and friends that she needed help.  Death was cool, but I got the feeling that I had read someone like him before. It turned out that he was exactly like Hades, the god of the Underworld, in Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.  Hades is described to act like a rockstar, just like Death was using the souls of dead rockstars to complete his persona.  Though I liked, both Death and Hades, I just didn't like how similar they were.
I am, no matter how I felt after reading this, looking forward to the second book in the series, Rage, just to see how that plot turns out because the idea of this plot sounded really awesome and unique and then- wasn't.  I recommend, however, this book to readers who like short stories, dark tales, or religious themes.

Writing Style: 2

Cover: 3

Plot: 3

Characters: 4

Ending: 4

Overall: 3

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  1. This book was simply amazing. I have never read a book like this one. While I was initially not expecting much out of such a short story (174 pages), I am completely amazed at how many emotions this book made me feel.