Mythological Mondays: The Mythology in LOSS

Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. Leave a comment for us all to see! It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales (because I’m too lazy to do a separate fairy tale feature…). It doesn’t even have to be every Monday. I’m sure there will be Mondays when I skip,, uh, recently?^^;;;

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories. 

In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world. 

But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

From Goodreads

LOSS is the third book in Jackie Morse Kessler's Riders of the Apocalypse quartet, though you don't need to pick up the previous two novels in order to read it. The book officially comes out tomorrow and Jackie has been running a blog tour all month.  Come back to A Backwards Story this Saturday for an interview with Pestilence, my review of LOSS, and a special giveaway stop!

Today, I wanted to point out some of the awesome mythology unique to LOSS.  It delves much more into the world of fantasy and lore than its two predecessors did.  For example, the White Rider was King Mita when he still walked Earth as a man.  King Mita, of course, is the real person, while the legend he left behind was a man named King Midas.  The legend states that the king turned everything he touched to gold.  In reality, he was able to balance life and death, health and sickness after a plague left his kingdom devastated.

Another fun mythological component was the addition of the Robin Hood lore.  The White Rider thinks he can escape his role in bringing on the end of the world by hiding in the Greenwood as Robert Hode after seeing the man succumb to sickness.

I loved seeing the "reality" of tales we still tell now and the way they were infused so completely into the backstory of the White Rider.  It was amazing and not someplace I was expecting Kessler to take us, but I'm so glad she went there!

Kessler weaves other tales into the White Rider's life as well, creating a layer story as a teenager named Billy dives into the Conqueror's memoies in order to escape picking up the mantle of Pestilence.  Plus, of course, the whole series is centered around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which is a supremely cool concept in and of itself.

Come back on Saturday for a full review!


  1. I reall need to start reading this series...

  2. I so have to read this series! I didn't even know about it until lately when the reviews for this one started appearing!!


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