Thursday, 21 April 2011


Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publishing Company: Graphia
“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 on anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Travelling the world on her stead gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home- her constant battle with hunger and the 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 awesome new power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power- and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

The review:

I picked this up because I heard about it through another book blogger and thought it looked interesting. I didn’t realise how short it was when I bought it. I thought it would be quite heavy on the anorexia, but I think it was done well how the author balanced and made a comparison for Lisa being anorexic to her being Famine. That sounds vague and obvious, but if you read it I think you’ll understand the comparison between ‘the Thin Voice’ and War.

I don’t think this is the best book I’ve read, that may be because of how short it was (177 pages which includes a 3 page Author Note), but something definitely made it not as good as I expected, shall we say. However a lot of bits were done really well. The plot flowed and sounded natural for the most part. And though it’s a fantasy book, the real parts, like Lisa talking and dealing with anorexia, denying it, constantly going through what is obviously a traumatic and hard experience, it was real and you can feel the pain in the writing. And then there’s the parts with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Some parts of that I thought were well done, like the first Famine strike, it was scary because it was done in a way where it was unnerving to read, where this anorexic girl gets furious at people because they’re eating. However some parts weren’t great.

What I love about the writing of this book is it’s blunt and to the point. There were some points where you feel sick to the stomach because the imagery is brutal and blunt and disgusting, but it’s true. It’s not romantic language, and it doesn’t try to be something it’s not, which I love because a lot of authors either gloss over these images or just say things like ‘they threw up’, so it’s refreshing in a way to see someone not shy away from what it is.

Ok, for characters. I’m going to start with my favourite character in the book, Death. He’s funny, honest, and in my mind he’s hot and rockstar, but he’s also smart and always thinking. At one point, Lisa asks him what he looks like in his original form, and he says ‘If no one’s watching, who says I have a form at all’ which was something that stuck out for me from the book. I found this Death to be interesting and not cliché. It’s nice to see him in a different way, without the crazy black cloak get up.

The main character Lisabeth was interesting. I didn’t like her as a character but I didn’t dislike her. I think to an extent I could relate to her, because she couldn’t feel happy with the way she looked, and a lot of girls struggle to deal with weight and looks. I loved the way you could see her begin to trust herself and slowly getting over her anorexia because she’s Famine.

I before about the Thin Voice and War being the same thing, I’m gonna talk about that, but I’d like to say this is how I interpret it and so others may not see it, and also it could be classed as spoilery so if you don’t want to know, skip it. So basically, in my mind, there was a huge similarity between the character of War and the Thin Voice. The Thin Voice is basically Lisa’s motivator to diet and keep loosing weight and it’s constantly putting her down, telling her she’s fat so that she looses more weight, and War constantly called her mouse because she was weak. The two voices basically stand for the same purpose in Lisa’s life, to put Lisa down, to keep her feeling bad about herself, and because this is what you see from it, you begin to think as the world she sees as Famine in more of a literal sense. War is the element in her life holding her back and telling her she’s not worth it. I think that’s why the fight scene we see is so rewarding, we see Lisa becoming a new person and embracing herself.

My rating:
Setting: 3.5 out of 5
Characters: 4 out of 5
Plot: 4 out of 5
Writing: 4.5 out of 5

Thanks for reading x

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