Main Characters: Lisabeth (aka Lisa), James, Tammy and Suzanne, Lisa’s parents
Main Premise: Lisabeth has an eating disorder. And Death comes to her to have her take up the mantle of Famine. She ends up with the scales of famine, and learns that she needs to find balance. She struggles with her “inner thin voice” which is always telling her she’s too fat and she can’t eat. She doesn’t realize at first that by taking the package from the mysterious delivery man (Death in disguise, sort of) that she has taken the first step towards accepting her role as Famine.
She continues to have trouble with her disorder. She and James (her boyfriend) get into an argument and he and Suzanne confront her. Tammy (who also has an eating disorder) is the only person Lisa believes understands her. While out riding her horse (who she has named Midnight and loves pralines) she causes famine and meets War. Since, War always follows Famine apparently. She is disgusted with what she has done and her Thin voice gains more power over her.
She ends up meeting Pestilence and learns a little about balance and the ability to help as Famine instead of hurt (which, honestly, confused me). Finally, she ends up having a conversation with her mother and almost kills her mother. She realizes she doesn’t want to do this and rides off to a far away place and helps a starving community no longer be starving. This is problematic for War however since she always wants the fight that follows famine. Famine and War fight. And Famine kills War.
Then Famine/Lisa tells Death that she doesn’t want to be Famine anymore. And Death simply lets her out of it and lets her go. Lisa then admits to her father that she needs help and she gets sent off to a clinic. We end with a scene with Lisa eating dinner with her parents, Suzanne and James.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Death likes to masquerade as a rock star. He has a sense of humor. He is surprisingly compassionate. He spews lines of rock songs, he plays a guitar and he is often referred to as the Pale Rider. War rides the Red Horse. Famine the black one. The mantle of War is now vacant. Death brings the tools of the mantle to the person he chooses and the person needs to accept the role or die (see my note below though…).
I admit that I am confused as to the overall arc of this series. And I am confused by Death telling Lisa that she can die or be Famine and then when she doesn’t want to be Famine anymore he just lets her out of it and she doesn’t die. Maybe I missed something (although it would be hard to do that given how short the book was).
Review: I will say this again: I am confused as to the overall arc of this series. And I am confused by Death telling our main character that she can die or be Famine and then when she doesn’t want to be Famine anymore he just lets her out of it and she doesn’t die. Maybe I missed something (although it would be hard to do that given how short the book was).
This book was not what I expected. It was a trip through the mind of someone with an eating disorder. Although it wasn’t as horrible as I would have expected (especially after seeing at the end that the author says she suffered from an eating disorder when she was younger) it to be – for a story trying to convey some of the horrors of an eating disorder.
I am also lost as to what the overall purpose of the series is. Some series have one story arc without smaller stories which are solved in each installment (think Alyson Noel’s immortal series) and some have stories within the stories (think Harry Potter or Percy Jackson). Here, I have no idea what the overall story arc is. And, to boot, the individual story was confusing and inconsistent. I was taken back by Lisa’s ability to reject the post as Famine and then simply go back to life as usual. Seems like we really didn’t accomplish much.
The writing at times was excellent. The character of Death was really quite amusing. But this was overshadowed by the times where the writing was the opposite of excellent and the plot holes. We don’t know what the Rider is supposed to do. Is the series supposed to be about bringing the Apocalypse? It would be a natural conclusion given the title of the series and the fact that, you know, we have the Four Horsemen here. But, I don’t get the sense that this is the case. It appears that we are supposed to guess that there simply must always be a Rider. But I don’t know. I would like to see where this story arc is going.
It’s hard to say much about a book so short. Given my issues, I am a little bummed that I just spent $8 for a book that (i) was almost as short as this review, (ii) really doesn’t seem to give me any clue as to where the series is headed, and (iii) really gives me only one character that I like and that character happens to be Death.
I am already half way through with Rage and am sad to say it seems to have the same trend. But, I will reserve final judgment until I am finished.