First Lines: When I open my eyes, all I see is darkness. Can’t move…can’t speak…can’t think through this jaw-grinding headache.
On a recent run to the library, I loaded up on a number of YA books I’ve been meaning to read for some time. A couple were new, a couple were older. This was one I was like, “Eh, I like Rossi as an author and this has been on my list a while. Let’s go.” Besides, I can’t say I’ve ever read a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse story before.
Gideon’s only goal for the last year has been to be a US Army Ranger, but everything changed in a moment. Recovering from an accident that definitely killed him, Gideon finds that he has bizarre new powers and a metal cuff that appeared on his arm. His death has turned him into War, one of the four horsemen. Over the next few weeks, he joins forces with the other horsemen, Conquest, Famine, and Death, as well as the girl who brought them all together to stop an evil intent on destroying the world. But they fail. Now, bloodied, bound, and drugged, Gideon is being interrogated by the authorities in what has turned into an international incident. To save his friends and the girl he likes–and, you know, the planet–he needs to convince government officials that the world is in danger. But will they believe him?
Let’s start with this: this is a very unique story. Not just with the whole four horsemen thing (although that is definitely cool), but even the chronology of the story is different. We get the story kind of backward because it’s told through Gideon’s recollections rather than in actual chronological order. So it gets interrupted sometimes and a few times Gideon kind of spoils what happens because, well, he knows what happened and he just hasn’t told us yet. Yeah, it sometimes makes it a little harder to follow the story, but it was also a unique way of telling it all. And I kind of liked it.
I also liked getting to know all of the horsemen, though I will add that I didn’t think they all got fully developed. They all have a background that we get to know and they all have unique personalities to help them stand out against each other, but I didn’t really feel like we got to know any of them really well besides Gideon. But in a way, this didn’t really bother me. Gideon, for one, isn’t exactly the most observant character when it comes to human qualities. He’s very drawn into himself and coldly observing what is going on so he can react and take action when needed. It’s part of who he is. So it sort of made sense that we didn’t know these characters as well as we would like because even he doesn’t really know them. And besides, the story doesn’t exactly revolve around all four of them. Gideon’s the one telling the story, so it’s mostly about him.
But I did really like how his character was developed. Gideon is a very angry person (*cough* War *cough*), but there’s a reason for it. And it was really cool to see how his past tinged everything that happened and who he is. But really the coolest part is his military background because that sets him apart from a lot of other narrators. It makes him methodical and emotionless while also showcasing how smart and kind he can be. It was a really interesting combination and I was drawn into it.
The action of this was pretty good, though it took a while to really get rolling. With the strange narration being told in reverse and the lack of action, it took me a few days to really sit down and start reading this. I kept putting it off in favor of doing other things. There were some moments that felt jolting, but mostly it was ok.
Overall, I thought this was definitely one of the more unique stories I’ve read this year, even if it had a few minor issues.