Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)
Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren't just harbingers of doom, they actually keep life in balance. But that happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal? Before the first living thing drew breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and time again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander is the world's only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may being about the end of everything.
Breath is an honest and intriguing look at life, death, love, and choices. When someone makes the decision to die, what happens? What if that person's death would being about the end of everything?
Throughout the series, Death has always been there, sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background, always with some kind of agenda or plan. But now he's smack in the middle of everything. He's the fearless leader that gets tired of life, tired of dealing with the living and the dead. Tired of everything. What will be the factor that keeps him going, if such a thing truly exists?
But there's also Xander, curious curious Xander, whose life flickers and beeps around him as he tries to talk Death off a balcony. What does Xander want out of life? And why is he so important? Why will he be the one who decides the fate of the world? There is a connection, certainly, between Xander and Death, and it left me still wondering about some things long after the book was over.
The exploration of the origin of the Four Horsemen was something I'd been looking forward to. They'd always been mysterious voices shrouded in pain and purpose, and this book served to answer some questions. The return to characters in previous books was also welcome.
What if the future you hope for isn't the one that ends up in front of you? Life is filled with possibilities, and hope exists in many forms. What we make of life, what we choose to do with the time we're given, is up to us, but sometimes we can't just stand around and wait. Sometimes we have to make the choice that will keep things moving forward.
As important as life and death are to this book, love is also important. Support, affection, care. Evidence that we are not alone, that someone is right there standing beside us, behind us, taking that next breath with us.
This book is the last in one of the most honest and heartfelt series about life, death, pain, and love that I've had the pleasure of reading. These books have had a way of making me remember all the pain and heartache of high school, but also the potential and the support. With this series, I realize that at no point during those dark teenage years was I ever alone.
(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)