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(Riders of the Apocalypse #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  4,204 ratings  ·  904 reviews
“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 an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger,
Paperback, 177 pages
Published October 18th 2010 by Harcourt Graphia
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Laura No it's definitely not glamorized. In particular, there is one scene with a bulimic character that is very effective and powerful. …moreNo it's definitely not glamorized. In particular, there is one scene with a bulimic character that is very effective and powerful. (less)
Zombieslayer⚡Alienhunter Could definitely be viewed that way. Each book in the series (Riders of the Apocalypse) is about a different Horseman. This one was about Famine, and …moreCould definitely be viewed that way. Each book in the series (Riders of the Apocalypse) is about a different Horseman. This one was about Famine, and I believe the next one is about War.
Reading this one on its own would be fine, since the next book isn't really a sequel. (less)

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Nov 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya
five stars for INtent, three stars for CONtent.

so the premise of this book is that an anorexic teenage girl is chosen to fill the office of Famine. yeah, Famine - as in four horsemen of the apocalypse Famine. that one. awesome, right? as someone who de-voured all of piers anthony's "incarnations of immortality" books as a teen, this is right up my alley. (incidentally - for fans of that series - did you even know that a "new" one came out a few years ago that he self-published?? Under a Velvet
Jackie Kessler
What can I say? If I didn't love it, I wouldn't have written it. :)

HUNGER was brewing for 10 years before I finally sat down to write it. And then it all came pouring out. It was cathartic. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

A portion of proceeds will be donated to the National Eating Disorders Association. So if you buy this book -- thank you for helping to make a difference!
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
I am confused as to the overall arc of this series. And I am confused by Death telling our main character that she can die or be Famine and then when she doesn't want to be Famine anymore he just lets her out of it and she doesn't die. Maybe I missed something (although it would be hard to do that given how short the book was).

This book was not what I expected. It was a trip through the mind of someone with an eating disorder. Although it wasn't as horrible as I would have expected (especially
"Thou art Famine,yo."

How can you not love a book that has that line in it?It's impossible!
When I first read Hunger's summary, I thought that that is the book for me.I love the Four Horseman/Apocalypse/Harbinger stories and I was so excited to read this,I can't even tell you!To be honest, I was expecting it to be more to the paranormal/supernatural side and it-surprisingly-wasn't, and thank God for that because I find that the matter it approaches is way more important than any paranormal story,
Rachel Caine
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I got tremendously lucky and had an opportunity to read an advance copy of HUNGER. I can say without exaggeration that I *loved* this book. It was fierce, uncompromising, fun, shocking, private, painful and beautiful, and I feel very privileged to have seen it early.

Jackie's written a book that is as intense as anything I've ever had the good fortune of reading, and I think that in addition to being a great book, this is also a very personal book, full of raw power.

I wish I'd written it.

"My job?" Lisa said as Death helped her to her feet. She was a seventeen-year-old high school junior in the suburbs; she didn't have a job.

"Thou art Famine, yo," Death said. "Time to make with the starvation." (pg49)

Realistic but unique? Funny but dark? Hunger sounds promising right?

It does – Kessler's book certainly has an exciting premise. The basic overlay of 2010’s popular debut is simply a twist that incorporates teenage eating disorders into the biblical myth of the Horsemen of the Apocal
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it
HUNGER makes WINTERGIRLS look like TWILIGHT . . . but worse. Just throw in a little Apocalyptic lore and you're good to go!

It's really interesting to get inside the head of a girl with an eating disorder. Jackie really knows what she's talking about; she actually went through it herself. (Not for long, but it happened!) Overall, I just loved it, from the Famine aspects and the eating disorder aspects. I just loved the whole thing from beginning to end.

The only thing that angered me a little was
Mike Mullin
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Insane genius in a slender paperback. I read it at one sitting and cried my way through the end of chapter 17 and most of chapter 18. If those bits don't make you cry too, you may not be a parent or child. Easily ranks with Before I Fall and You as one of the best books I've read this year. ...more
Jan 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I don't normally set expectations for things because if whatever it is doesn't live up to those expectations, you have no one to blame but yourself. So outside of reasonable expectations, I don't go into things like, say, most books, all ramped up for it thinking it was going to be something great. Usually. Unfortunately I did that with this one and, sad to say, my expectations were not lived up to. My bad.

I guess going in the concept I had brewing of an anorexic girl as Famine was beyond what t
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, arc
Hunger is a compelling tale that eloquently captures the mindset of a person suffering from an eating disorder. From page one I found myself captivated by the text, unable to put it down to eat. There's something almost ironic about admitting that.

Readers are introduced to Lisa, the new Famine. I've always been interested in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They're one of those concepts that are fun to talk about, but nobody every really explored further, much to my chagrin. When I heard Larissa
Jan 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Rating: One and a Half
Frankly, I think I wasted my time with this book. The premise seemed so interesting and after I read about it on a book blog, I decided to check it out at the library.

I like the way the author was able to get inside Lisa's head to show us how her mind worked. I found it very believable and easy to relate to. The was also a message, albeit not very stong, against eating disorders and such.

But what was wrong?

Well, first of all, I was irked by the author's intrusions. She wo
Feb 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Heather by: Tiffany's b.o.b pick
This book read like a very bad after school special or Lifetime movie of the week. The narration was overly preachy. I couldn't help but think it was meant to be a collage essay on the pitfalls of eating disorders, the hunger in the world, and how wasteful humans are when it comes to food. But,with the added element of sci-fiction.

Lisabeth Lewis was one of the most annoying characters. I include the Four Horsemen in that statement as well. Kurt Cobain as one of the horsemen took this book to a
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, 2010, netgalley, fantasy, ya, arc
Original review at One More Page

I cannot imagine myself having an eating disorder. I love food too much, and I can't imagine not eating. Of course, when I lost all the extra weight, I was careful to follow my nutritionist's advice and keep myself well-fed to keep my metabolism up. I guess I'm blessed enough not to be too conscious of how fat/thin I look, and that I had good friends and people around me who always kept me in check.

But that doesn't mean that I have never had encounters with any ea
I would not give this book to an at-risk child or teenager, for all that it is essentially a cautionary tale about eating disorders with some fantasy trappings. The author clearly intended something good, but the execution and writing were not strong enough to make this anything other than horrible and offensive to both feminists and mental health advocates. She clearly researched the physical symptoms of the disease, but seems to have skipped over the mental* and emotional.

In fact, this entire
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hunger is almost like two books in a small (180 page) package. There's the paranormal fantasy with a somewhat unusual premise, and then there's the YA issue novel. They only barely come together as a whole, and it's the issue aspect that makes this book worth reading.

Lisa is anorexic, and in denial. Her turning point comes when Death (here cast as essentially Kurt Cobain) gives her the job of Famine. Yes, the Horseman of the Apocalypse. It was this fantasy aspect that I felt was a little weak. I
Kiki Z
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2-5-stars
I liked this book well enough to check out the second one but I was expecting something totally different. It's upsettingly graphic about eating disorders, the whole Famine schtick feels like either a metaphor or an extended hallucination, and the story seems too self-contained for a series, making me think the entire thing will be this way. I expected a fantasy where people learn they are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but this wasn't really that at all. ...more
I deem it unnecessary to be forlorn if you are plumpish or whatsoever, as long as you’re not excessively fat. Trust me; looking healthy is much better than looking sickly. Do you even think you’ll look good without enough flesh or curves to fit into your clothes?

According to statistics, In the United States alone, it has been estimated that 8 million people have an eating disorder—7 million goes to women while the remaining 1 million goes to men. One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia,
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was okay. Definitely a very poignant depiction of anorexia that was very effective. The lack of any overarching storyline is what made this two stars instead of three.
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In this novel, the author writes a modern story about a teenage girl struggling with anorexia and ties her story to the biblical mythology of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Seventeen year old Lisabeth is anorexic and while she thinks she's in control of it all, she's really spiraling further into trouble. No one seems to understand her anymore--not her parents, her best friend or even her boyfriend, and she feels as if everyone is sabotaging her road to happiness. The only one who doesn't ...more
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
What a bad-ass premise. A teenage girl, Lisa, is dealing with depression and anorexia and is summoned to be one of the Four Horseman of the Apocolypse. Guess which one? Famine. Duh.
Through her adventures as Famine, she sees the gluttony as well as the starvation and poverty in the world, which gives her some perspective on the nature of humans, as well as her own fears and desires concerning food. Lisa finds her own strength and her ability to spread destruction as well as aid to others. She lea
Brynne Shelton
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I didn't expect to like this book so much. I just got it from the library because lately I've had an obsession with the Horsemen of Apocalypse. But I related to Lisa in a way I wouldn't have expected.

I'm not sure about the length though. I mean it's nice not to have trudged my way through relational angst that authors think might have to do with character development or something, but I don't know, it seems like there could have been... more. A lot more. At least more Death, because he
Janie Johnson
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was another pretty quick read for me for the end of July, which was exactly the type of book I needed. This was kind of like a YA Fantasy and I did not expect it to be exactly what I read. It was such a different view of eating disorders. I have never read anything like it. Now there were of course some rushed parts, it was little predictable at times, and sometimes also pretty unrealistic, but I did really enjoy this one. It was an engaging story even though I think there could have been m ...more
Anna 'Bookbuyer'
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I've definitely never read an ED book like this. Very different. ...more
Chapter by Chapter
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
"If you have ever looked in the mirror and hated what you saw, this book is for you" ... Upon opening the book, and seeing that message I was already hooked.

The premise of this book is what initially caught my attention. Actually, the premise of all the books in this series is what caught my attention. Troubled teens being turned into the Riders of the Apocalypse? Sounded like a pretty cool idea to me.
Jackie Morse Kessler opens the eyes of the reader into the world of eating disorders, providin
Wicked Lil Pixie (Natasha)
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Hunger follows Lisa, a teenage girl who doesn’t want to admit she is anorexic. She calorie counts & sometimes doesn’t even eat. Lisa has been trying to hide her food issues from everyone around her, even her boyfriend. But after a nasty fight with her boyfriend, Lisa tries to kill herself but Death comes to her & appoints her Famine. At first Lisa thinks it was a hallucination due to the drugs she used to try & kill herself, until she sees her horse & a mysterious scale appearing everywhere. One ...more
La Coccinelle
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. I thought the premise sounded interesting (an anorexic teenager who becomes Famine... how fascinating!)... but ultimately, I wasn't that impressed.

I could never relate to Lisa, or to any of the other characters in the book, for that matter. I think part of the problem was the writing. It was third-person omniscient, and there was way too much telling (and not showing). As a result, I always felt there was too much of a distance between the chara
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Why I read this: Since my teens I have had a fascination with the book of Revelation and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are very much a part of that book. So it was a given when I heard there would be a book series based on the Four Horsemen I was intrigued. Add to that dealing with hard teenage issues and I was definitely in.

How is the novel driven: Character, this is all about Lisabeth and her coming to terms with her own self and her problems.

My thoughts: A fascinating and short book. Bu
I was best friends for many years with a woman who was a recovering anorexic. She no longer counted calories feverishly or exercised four hours every day, but having a "fat" day or being bloated would bring her down harder than anybody I've ever met. Very occasionally, you could see her weigh in her head the amount of calories in a food and perhaps how long it would take her to work it off before she caught herself. Kessler does a great job of highlighting how exhausting that must be, to always ...more
Little Bee
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I discovered this book in a random search of recommended books on Goodreads. From then, I actively sought out this book, but could not find in the bookstores. So I ordered it on Amazon. It took approximately 4 days to read, shorter if I had more time to donate to it.

This story has a powerful message, and I admit, there were times I felt it was TOO much. But overall, I am glad it was TOO much at times, because in real life, outside of the stories, it can be MUCH worse for REAL people. Lisa is an
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Incarnations of Immortality, the next generation? 3 21 Apr 03, 2011 08:00PM  

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Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with ...more

Other books in the series

Riders of the Apocalypse (4 books)
  • Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse, #2)
  • Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse, #3)
  • Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse, #4)

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