Saturday, April 27, 2013

When Death Wants to Die

In the final book of the Riders of the Apocalypse series, Jackie Morse Kessler writes about the final horseman, the Pale Rider... Death. And Death has been having a very difficult time lately. In Breath, he contemplates the most final act he can ever choose- his own death.

Death never gets a day of rest. The job is continuous, exhausting, and there is never a day of relief. As he visits his riders, especially War, his handmaiden and companion, he realizes there is nothing to compel him to keep going with this interminable life. Death is suicidal. Of course, that means if Death goes, the entire world goes along with him. It signals the end of the world, the beginning of the apocalypse. Death is not human, but that doesn't mean he doesn't experience emotions like the people he guides and works with. But there is one piece of unfinished business... a boy and a chocolate bar. 

Xander's biggest worry in life is finally telling Riley he is in love with her. He has been trying to tell her for years, but he can't find a way to get the words out. But when Death arrives on his balcony, he has a lot more to worry about. As the boy who gifted Death with a chocolate bar, he is the young man whom Death owes. But the story is more complex than a simple debt, and when Xander realizes Death's suicidal tendencies, he knows he must do something to stop the end of the world. And sometimes, all people need is someone to really listen to them.

I am not sure how to really express my feelings for this final book in this series. I loved the first and second book. They were raw and gritty and phenomenal. Then came the third book. It wasn't as powerful as the first two, but it was OK. All three had serious situations, the characters had a lot of soul searching to do, and that is what made the books simply amazing. But this book lost the situations and focused solely on the soul searching, and honestly? It got a little old for me. I can't say I disliked the book, but I can definitely say it wasn't my favorite. That doesn't mean it didn't end the series fairly well, but I expected more from Kessler, especially after her first two books were so controversial and REAL.

But still, this isn't a bad series. I think the first two books are the best, but it is important to know this book can't be read without having read the beginning of the series. You just won't understand all the dynamics between Death and the Riders. I love the idea of Death becoming suicidal. It just blows my mind with twists and paradox. How is that possible?? So, there was definitely a redemption out of this story, and if you read the first three books, you simply must read this one too. 

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