Billy Ballard is the school punching bag, the running joke among a group of boys. He is weak, he is powerless, and he will never fight back. His whole life he has had nightmares about a mysterious man and horse from his childhood, not knowing that those dreams would lead him to his destiny. Billy Ballard is Pestilence, but will he fight for his destiny? Will he fight to become the White Rider?
Very few series are as gripping and imaginative as the Riders of the Apocalypse series. As with the previous two installments, this book captured me from the opening lines. With bullying being a problem of national scale, I found this book to be very timely and appropriate. So many children are bullied as Billy is, and so many people turn a blind eye. So many of us have felt this pain, which really allowed Billy to be relatable. I found him well developed as a character, one with whom I deeply sympathized.
In terms of the storyline, I did find the plot slightly less clear than the previous books in the series. The concept of the White Rider being divided into two entities seemed out of tune somewhat with the feel of the series. Also, the author mentions that her original ideas for the story focused on Alzheimer's and Robin Hood, shades of which still appear in the eventual incarnation of her story. I found both those aspects of the story quite confusing and out of place. It was if the story was battling itself, which may have actually been intentional, much like the two aspects of the divided White Rider battle each other. I loved the extreme symbolism surrounding the colors of white, black and red, this was much more intense than it had been in the previous books.
I think this is an incredible series. While this book is not my favorite of the series so far, it is certainly worth the read.