Breath by Jackie Morse Kessler
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death, Life, Hope
Death is depressed — after uncountable millennia of being Death he no longer finds life worth caring for, and a teenager named Xander Atwood is the only one who can bring him back on his feet. Kessler does a great job of weaving Death’s past and the other Rider’s presents around Xander’s story; his friends are realistic and it is nice to see the other Riders in action. It was fascinating to see Death act so human and see a human boy try to save him. However — Kessler broke one of my absolute most stringent writing rules (if you do not want to know a partial about the ending, don’t read on) and made the entire story a dream sequence in Xander’s comatose head. This is a real problem for the story as throughout the book Death reveals the origin of himself, the Riders, and before his suicide he asks each of the Riders whether they would like to remain Riders or go back to their lives, and each Horseman’s story is tied up neatly by the end—so when Death tells Xander that he made it all up, you are left believing that the Horseman and Death himself never actually got their redemption.