{Review/Giveaway} BREATH by Jackie Morse Kessler

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as well as more guest posts and interviews with Jackie!

Stop by The Book Smugglers tomorrow for the final stop on the tour!

Check out today's interview with author Jackie Morse Kessler!

Haven't read the previous books in the series yet?
Check out my reviews!
(and my exploration of the mythology in LOSS!)

Check out my previous interviews with 
Billy from LOSS
Jackie Morse Kessler!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

XANDER ATWOOD HATED HEIGHTS. Always had. Ever since he was a kid and chickened out of jumping off the high diving board at the community pool--much to the irritation of the kids behind him who had to make way as he climbed down the ladder, shamefaced--Xander staunchly preferred for the ground to be within easy reach. Going to the top floor of buildings was fine, as long as it wasn't in one of those funky glass-walled elevators. Driving over bridges gave him fits. Airplanes were right out.  Let others soar with the eagles; Xander was perfectly content with an ant's-eye view. / So the fact that he was leaning over the balcony reailing of his parents' apartment building, thirty floors above the street,was a very big deal. / "So," he said. "Want to talk about it?" / "Not really," replied Death.
(pg. 1, US e-ARC edition)

Today's review is hard because I'm talking about not only the final book in a series, but also the most complex.  BREATH is on another plane of existence, both figuratively and literally, when compared to its predecessors.  In HUNGER, RAGE, and LOSS, we watch the horsemen step into their new roles.  In BREATH, we discover just how different the Pale Rider is from his companions.  He created them; they wouldn't exist without him.  They are him.  Death is the one and only.  His skin may change, but he is always himself, unlike the horsemen who come and go over the centuries.  Death has always been the most fascinating character to me throughout this series, and in BREATH, I got answers beyond my wildest dreams revolving around the truth beyond, not only the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but so, so much more.

I can't really mention a summary with this review without giving a lot away.  This is the enigmatic story of the Pale Rider, Death, yet his origins are different from the ones we've seen up until now.  Needless to say, like the prior books in the series, BREATH deals with tough issues.  One of the stand-outs about this series is the fact that it has a way to reach teens who aren't into contemporary novels, one who prefer fantasies.  I wish every school library had a copy of these books and that health classes would use them when talking about eating disorders, self-mutilation, bullying, alcohol abuse, depression, suicide, etc.  Any teen who's into fantasy would be much more interested in this series than they would something like GO ASK ALICE or SPEAK.  I was never interested in those books, either, but I would have picked these up if they'd existed when I was still in high school.  Readers of the series will be intrigued by the origins of Death and the Four Horsemen as the book ties up loose ends, especially as characters from previous novels come back into BREATH (Sometimes in new and unexpected ways!).

These books just get better and better.  Each one has been my favorite in the series, and BREATH is no exception.  It's so imaginative and unique!  The mythology Jackie Morse Kessler has researched and given life to in creating Death is vast.  Her creation story is admirable and complex, captivating me the same way I was with LOSS.  What's amazing about this is the way so much of the book is a conversation, in some ways, a "tell" and not a "show," yet it feels so natural, not like a criticism at all.  This is the way the story has to be told, and Kessler weaves it into other elements to create a story where pages can't be turned fast enough.  I wouldn't read BREATH without reading the prior three books in the series.  You can, but there are elements that won't really make sense if you do, and BREATH won't be as powerful.  BREATH is our reward, and Death is better than ever--scarier, too.  There is so much more to him than we ever knew, and he truly steals the show in his own book.  It's the perfect way to end the series, and I can't wait to read more books from Kessler in the future.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Sammy Yuen is an amazing cover designer.  I've loved so many of Sammy's covers, and have raved about all four of the Riders of the Apocalypse covers.

Check out Sammy's website; you'll be surprised at just how many gorgeous covers you'll recognize (From authors such as Scott Westerfeld, Orson Scott Card, Lauren Kate, and Rae Carson to tease you!)

This cover is so perfect to me.  If Death were to have a symbol the way the other Horsemen do, the Möbius strip would be it!

This is perhaps my favorite cover in the series.  I can't really tell you why, but something about it keeps me captivated and constantly staring.  I would pick this up at the store, be sad to realize it wasn't the first in a series, and then scoop up all four books because they were all so gorgeous-looking!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: Out April 16, 2013
Publisher: Graphia / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Received: For Review

Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren’t just harbingers of doom—they actually keep life in balance. But what happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal? 

Before the first living thing drew its first gasping breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander Atwood is the world’s only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may bring about the end of everything. 

This heart-pounding final installment of the Riders of the Apocalypse series looks at the value of life, the strength of love, and how a small voice can change everything . . . forever.


You could win...
A set of all four books in the
Riders of the Apocalypse series
and posters!
This giveaway is US only, ages 13 and up.

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