Ivy-Jean is a teenager in high school, but that is where the similarities to others in her year end, she is tall with dark hair and spiders for friends, but she is alone, bullied and called names all the time she is out of the house, but when she is at home, she is a disappointment to her mum and usually her dad is nowhere to be found. She does have the responsibility of picking up their mail, but gets annoyed when she has to redeliver mail. To her neighbour whose mail always seems to get mixed up with her family’s, even though they live on completely different floors. As she gets home from school as usual, she has made some new spider friends, whom her mum attacks and kills before IVy-Jean can relax, this is followed by another confrontation with her mum about getting into trouble at school and her lack of friends as she rushes out to go to work, but this day is different, today she decides that to hell with federal law, she is going to open her neighbours mail and see what is inside, little does she know that as she reads the words on the page, she is going to be getting into a whole heap of a new kind of trouble.
As her last remaining spider friend of the day crawls onto the letter and walks around underlining the word “Come” and as soon as the word is out of Ivy-Jean’s mouth, there is a thump on the wall in the corridor outside her apartment, followed by the door exploding inwards and a young guy about her age walks through her door dressed in boots, dark pants, a red silk shirt and a cape bearing a huge broadsword bigger than he is! However, when he introduces himself as “War, the second Four Horseman of the Apocalypse” and that he is at her service, she cannot believe her eyes or ears, thoughts flow through her head, but no matter what she cannot believe that this is real and when he mentions her neighbour, Ivy-Jean realises that he is assuming that is her, but no matter what she says he will not listen. As the conversation carries on he insists that she calls the rest of the Horsemen and that they should go look for them, it is at this point that another figure emerges out of nowhere behind her, they are pale, grey and almost skeletal looking with a voice that sounds like winter frost and a cold breeze which accompanies it, that person then introduces themselves as “Death”.
As no other Horseman has appeared after this latest summoning, Ivy-Jean, War and Death go on a hunt through the city to find the remaining two, amid Ivy-Jean trying to understand what is going on while trying not to get herself killed on the city street, it is an anxiety inducing mess. At one point during their walk, Ivy-Jean’s spider, now named Spinderella jumps onto War’s face which startles him and sends him reeling into a woman and consequently breaking her arm, but when she starts spouting insults of all kinds at him, War asks permission to smite her while she is being helped by a passerby, when she says yes, War is in his element and the next thing she knows there are two piles of ash where the two people used to be, when War is questioned on this, he just replies that the man’s soul was evil and needed to die as well. As Ivy-Jean is processing this, War and Death spot a familiar face staring people down in a restaurant nearby and this is where she meets Famine, a woman who is beautiful and obsessed with food waste and how it is destroying the planet, when they find her, she is about to kill a restaurant manager, but Ivy-Jean manager to convince her to stave off doing it and retreat so they can find the final Horseman. It is at this point that they realise that something is off when their leader, Pestilence and the final Horseman who is actually taller than Ivy-Jean and looks like he is a gift from the gods with blonde hair and the strong face of an angel, turns up in her neighbor’s apartment and this is where they find out the mistake that the other three have made and the reality of Ivy-Jean’s responsibilities as the Summoner are laid out before her, as well as the consequences if she cannot complete her task.
As they talk out what needs to happen, it is decided that they need to enroll into the local high school, and observe what the youth of the era think of the world and see it through Ivy-Jean’s eyes, however, this doesn’t go quite to plan and the Horsemen bar Death end up enrolling in after school classes and becoming more entwined with the mortal youth than they should be, but can Ivy-Jean keep them on the right path, or will she fail both herself and those closest to her? This is a fantastical and unusual telling of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse tale while bringing it into a modern setting which will keep you laughing and reading throughout.
Reviewed by @roxsannel