Hunger is the first book in Kessler’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse series. It revolves around Lisabeth, an anorexic and suicidal, seventeen year old girl. After a failed suicide attempt, Lisabeth is visited by Death and told that she is the new Famine. As Famine, Lisabeth gets an odd set of scales and a seriously cool horse which is capable of transporting her all over the world in a matter of minutes. Of course, the next day, Lisabeth assumes it had all been a dream and tries to go on as normal.
Unfortunately, normal for Lisabeth is a dark and scary world where her inner Thin voice is constantly berating her and monitoring ever calorie taken in or burned off. Her friends are beginning to notice her slow starvation, but when they confront her, Lisabeth gets angry and feels more isolated. The only person who understands her is Tammy, a bulimic who supports her in her disorder.
When Lisabeth discovers that the visit by Death hadn’t been a dream and that she really is Famine, she has to learn her new role before either A. more innocent people suffer from hunger or B. she gets killed by the Horse(wo)man War who hates her.
Since I actually read the second book in the series first, I can tell you that these books are amazing! The writing is fresh and solid. Kessler is able to put the reader right into the minds of these girls, so that we experience every emotion right along with them. I’ve never had an eating disorder or been into self-mutilation as in Rage, but I feel like I have a good understanding of the inner voices that drive these girls to do these self-destructive behaviors.
While both of the books in this series were bruttally honest and graphic, I think they are appropriate for most teen readers. In fact, the lessons they teach about the sufferers of these issues are invaluable. Unless a teen is immature for their age, I think these are great books for them to read.
I also love the world or the take on mythology that Kessler uses for this series. I’ve never given the Horsemen much thought before and the idea that they are beings that exist in the world all of the time and not just at the time of the Apocalypse is new to me.
Overall, I give Hunger…
Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks
Supernatural Elements/World Building - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Dakota Fanning (Lisabeth), Kurt Cobain (Death), Sarah Allen (War), Christopher Heyerdahl (Pestilence)