BREATH by Jackie Morse Kessler


From the "Riders of the Apocalypse" series, volume 4
Age Range: 14 - 18
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Death speaks, and Xander Atwood listens in this conclusion to a gripping, if uneven series.

Xander has been accepted to colleges, welcomed a baby brother and finally worked up the courage to ask out Riley Jones. Or has he? The day after an alcohol-fueled party, Xander wakes up to find Death on his balcony. Xander hates heights, but he leans out to coax Death off the ledge to tell his story. Neither Death nor Xander is a reliable narrator, but Death’s cinematic celebration of human evolution and Xander’s booze-induced memory loss make for a riveting read. Unlike the other self-harming teenage horsemen—a cutter War, anorexic Famine and bullied Pestilence—the Pale Horseman is a deity. He recounts the creation and the evolution of mankind and confesses his loneliness and suicidal impulses. If Death dies, this world might too. Suicide, binge drinking, anorexia and other destructive behaviors are still a focus, and the tidy conclusion mimics an after-school special, but ironically, Death is a more fully realized and human character than his fellow Horsemen ever were.

Death and his riders strive to bring balance, and Kessler (Loss, 2012, etc.) begins to achieve it in this series conclusion. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 16th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-97043-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Graphia
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013


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