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The Rapture - Liz Jensen

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Liz Jensen / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2010-01-04 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

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      16.10.2010 17:46
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      An apocalyptic thriller

      The Rapture, - The Christian belief that forms a major part of current Evangelical and Fundamentalist teachings, whereby Jesus will come down from Heaven to Earth to save individuals both dead and alive and take them with him back to Heaven; A notion which is found in the bible, though ambiguous in time, definition and location but supported by several passages. Gabrielle Fox is a psychotherapist, confined to a wheelchair by a relatively recent car accident, who has low self esteem and should have had counselling. Bethany Krall is a 16 year old girl who murdered her mother and is institutionalised after being effectively abandoned by her father, a spiritual preacher who believes she has the Devil in her. Together these two characters form the foundations to this book by Liz Jensen, which was published in 2009 and is Jensen's 7th offering. Fox returns to work after a traumatic life changing experience, to Oxsmith, a hospital for disturbed children. Here she finds that nobody is willing to talk about her predecessor Joy McConey or her swift exit from the hospital, nor are her files on Bethany Krall readily available. With Art Therapy being her expertise Gabrielle initially works with Bethany as she would any other patient, until she understands that Bethany is nothing like other patients. With her calming vulnerability, Gabrielle makes an unusual heroine, however her "Wheels", also her nickname thanks to Bethany become her friend as she learns to accept who she is and how life doesn't need to change completely due to her paralysis. Determined to learn more about Bethany she probes in therapist talk and is quickly dismissed by the 16 year old. Bethany who receives regular doses of Electroconvulsive Therapy on a regular basis and begins to crave "volts" proclaims to predict natural disasters and with a history of correct predictions Fox looks to other professionals for support. She meets physicist Frazer Melville a forty something year old with no children and an ex wife. Dr Melville in turn also believes that Bethany can predict the future and between them they conjure up a plan to inform the relevant people of the forthcoming Rapture, a disruption of the sea bed caused by a rig currently channelling Methane from the earth. As the physicist introduces his colleagues into the fold Gabrielle feels excluded and her vulnerability becomes apparent as she becomes paranoid about the closeness of Frazer Melville and his female colleague Kirstin Jonsdottir PHD an expert on the contents of prehistoric mud. With both the key characters losing their jobs due to their belief in Bethany Krall the story quickly develops and the chapters fly by. Bethany's character is volatile, unpredictable, aggressive and violent. The danger of the 16 year old clashes (and also compliments) entirely with the vulnerability, emotion and confusion Gabrielle experiences throughout the book. Whilst Frazer Melville is also a slightly troubled soul, his concentration on his work sees him through, relatively easily. Jensen writes this novel in such a way that it picks up pace. I found the chapters initially hard work at 15-20 pages a go, however as the story developed I failed to notice the length and it became a real page turner. The story is told by Gabrielle, she narrates it in the 1st person, which gives the reader an insight into how she sees and feels. She refers to Frazer Melville either as the physicist or by his full name, just as she refers to Ned as The Climatologist and Kirstin is also often referred to by both her first and last name. I found this slightly odd but it added to the insight into Gabrielle's thoughts. The only person she refers to regularly by first name only is Bethany. This indicates her attachment to her patient, which develops throughout the book, but isn't glaringly obvious. There is a fair bit of strong language, spoken by Bethany and only Bethany, throughout the book but it adds to her character and makes the unpredictable child more realistic. I found that I was really drawn to both Gabrielle and Bethany in different ways and at no point did I feel I disliked either character. There is so much in this book as it takes on a natural disaster and the frantic build up. Religion plays a huge part, as the title would suggest but other themes include; disability, child abuse, scientific teaching, moral obligations and the identification of trust and respect. I would wholly recommend this apocalyptic thriller. I read several reviews before buying it and found them to be very contradictory, so I think that the themes may have had a part to play as well as people's personal views on religion. As someone who is very open minded to all aspects of religion and non religion, I read this book with no preconceptions and no ideals or expectation. I think this was important else fault may have been found in the details of religion. I also learnt a lot. I had never heard of the Rapture and found that by the end of the book I was keen to look into it a bit more away from the fictional characters and explore it from the real believer's point of view. This lead me to believe that the detail and atmosphere Jensen creates is actually fairly accurate to that which is in print over the internet. Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon just short of £5 (or for 50p in the charity shop which is where I purchased it). (Also on Ciao)

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        15.08.2010 22:52
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        Great read - Recommend

        The Rapture - Liz Jensen Gabrielle Fox is the psychologist that is assigned to the case of a severely disturbed girl called Bethany Krall this young girl is adament that she can foresee and accuratley predict future natural disasters. Although disturbed she manages to start to convince those around her that what she is saying can and will happen. This novel manages to get the reader to think on rather modern themes and current worries that of global warming and the general idea of mankinds misuse of the naural world and the consequences that can result from such misuse. The added dimension to this story and that which moves it away from other natural disaster novels is that it also addresses the extent to which faith can drive us. Its religious grounding and focus is on that of the long held belief in a so called apocolyptic "Rapture" in which the righteous will be saved from destruction and Bethany Krall is the vehicle in which mankind can survive. And its on this basis that Gabrielle as well as the reader is slowly and surely dragged into the midst of a tense psychological thriller, and into world on the brink of global ecological disaster. A gripping and intense read.

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          02.07.2010 15:24
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          A disturbed mental patient begins seeing visions of a terrible future....

          After some very mixed reviews both from friends and fellow reviewers on here, I was in two minds as to whether or not I would enjoy this eco-thriller with pre-apocalyptic overtones but, seeing as how I got it on a buy one, get one free offer in WHSmiths, I figured I had nothing to lose in giving it a go. It was a descision that, as yet, I have not had cause to regret.... That is not to say that this is not a book without its faults ~ the ending is a bit sudden and though the idea of incorporating a disabled psychotherapist as a lead character is a brave one, you get the sense in places that the author forgets her heroine is in a wheelchair. There are a couple of instances where she appears in her wheelchair after only having been lain on a sofa a few paragraphs before and in another scene, she is carried up several flights of stairs with no mention of what is done with her chair only for it to appear several sentences later with no explanation! People who are paralysed will no doubt be in conflict over this novel; in one respect it is good that a person with no use of her lower half has been thrust into the spotlight with this story but it is not handled very well and you get the impression that the author has little experience of people who are in this way disadvantaged! Still, it certainly gives the story a different slant and is a challenging and inspirational move that would be nice if other authors could follow... The main crux of the plot is thus: a young girl incarcerated for the murder of her mother in a mental health institution for several years has begun to develop shocking visions following the use on her of Electro-Consvulsive Therapy. A previous therapist has left the employ of the institution for becoming too involved and Gabrielle Fox has been brought in to replace her. But as Gabrielle studies Bethany's predictions of natural disasters, she begins to see startling correlation between them and real events. Many of the phenomenen that Bethany has predicted has recently come true and suddenly Gabrielle finds herself following in her predescesor's footsteps in more ways than one! But who will believe her? With startling and shocking predictions of one possible future that we as a race can look forward to, this is an intelligent body of work set in our near-future that is chock-filled with pseudo-science but is no less chilling for all of that! The title refers to The End Of Days as preedicted in The Bible that Bethany becomes convinced will shortly come to pass and, as the thriller progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that Gabrielle and those who take her seriously are racing against borrowed time. Not to prevent the ultimate global disaster that is destined to follow....but to survive to face the aftermath of destruction. This is a fairly easy read and quite gripping but there are moments towards the end where it does get a tad predictable in places and a bit over-tired. Nonetheless, if you like fiction that makes you think and challenges your perspective of the world then this is worth picking up. That said, there are some great descriptive moments that echo the movie The Day After Tomorrow for their devastation and impact and lift this just a small notch up above its closest competition. Just don't expect too much because this is no classic but it IS still a good read that is ideal for reading whilst on holiday ~ either sitting on a beach or just in your back garden! If you are looking for something more in-depth, you might want to check out Trevor Hoyle's earlier novel, The Last Gasp!

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            24.05.2010 20:14

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            quite dull

            I bought this book because, along with the picture on the front, the blurb looked very intriguing . Along the way paralysed psychologist, Gabrielle Fox is assigned to a young girl Bethany Krall who stabbed her own mother to death with a screwdriver and claims to be able to foresee terrible natural disasters and ultimately the apocalyse. Along the way she gets help from a physicist Frazer Melville and falls in love with him. Sounds interesting? However I found the style of writing too long winded to read naturally, the characters were very wooden and I felt no empathy for them. The love story didn't quite gel. The sci fi aspect didn't quite work either because it wasn't too different from reality. The religious aspect was a bit too much for a relaxing read. And I really don't see how Gabrielle being a paraplegic added anything at all to the plot. The story could still be the same if she was able bodied. It seems that Liz Jenson tried to cram too many p.c. aspects into one tale. The only interesting bit was the science and the fact that it really could happen. But on the whole, a very dull book.

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            12.04.2010 22:56
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            Not one I'd recommend.

            ."The Rapture is the gathering together of all Christians up into the air at the time of the return of Jesus Christ." says Wikipedia. It goes on to say that believers in the rapture of the church no longer make predictions regarding when the event will actually happen, due to a reference from Matthew 24:36 where Jesus is quoted as saying: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." So to find a mentally disturbed and violent teenage girl predicting such events makes a very compelling story indeed: queue "The Rapture" by Liz Jensen. After a car crash that left her paralysed from the waist down - a crash that also killed her boyfriend and her unborn child - psychotherapist Gabrielle Fox makes the decision to move from London to the coastal town of Hadport to take up a post at a secure unit for troubled teenagers. One of her charges is 16 year old Bethany Krall, who at the age of 14, stabbed to death her Evangelical Christian mother with a screw driver. An unsteady relationship then develops between Bethany and Gabrielle, Gabrielle constantly questioning whether she can help a girl like Bethany when she cannot even "fix" herself and Bethany constantly pouring scorn onto Gabrielle; making fun of her "pyschobabble" and referring to Gabrielle as "Wheels". Underpinning this whole relationship is the uncertain surroundings of why Gabrielle's predecessor, Joy, left her job. Things all become clear when Gabrielle's rantings about natural distasters start to come true; it appears Joy left because she made it clear that she believed Bethany's stories, and after thinking that Bethany's predictions are just coincidence, Gabrielle soon realises that the odds of all these events happening on all these dates are more than just luck. When Bethany announces that she needs to get out of the institution because it will become submerged in water after the worst disaster ever seen, Gabrielle and others need to take drastic action to warn everyone that this appears to be no hoax... I have read many reviews of this book applauding it as an excellent piece of writing and so although it wasn't something that I'd usually read, I found myself looking forward to finding out what it was all about. I so desperately wanted to agree with others about the brilliance of the book, but I find myself almost thinking the opposite. There are things that I liked about this book and many things that I found clever, interesting and different from other books out there right now, but some things didn't quite work with me. What I did like about this story were some of the characters and the way in which they were developed. Bringing in a "heroine" such as Gabrielle was a superb move by the author, who has made a refreshing change to the typical heroines we would see in stories like this. Gabrielle as I mentioned in the introduction, has recently been paralysed from the waist down due to a car accident. She readily admits that a portion of the blame lays with her for the accident, so we already have a pyschotherapist who by nature is intent on analysing everything about herself and unable to help herself move on from that time in her life. Aside from dealing with the guilt of her partner, Alex and her unborn child dying in the accident, Gabrielle's constant questions are about her role as a woman; her capabilities sexually and lastly her sexual attractiveness to men now that she is wheelchair bound. Coupled with Bethany's constant disdain, Gabrielle is one insecure character, and initially I found it pretty hard to warm to her at all. Despite her problems, I found her insecurities very wearing at times so much so that I at first found her irritating. However, once other characters were introduced, Gabrielle is developed more sympathetically. Fraser Melville, a physicist, shows Gabrielle that he sees more to her than her wheelchair and that he is powerfully sexually attracted to her. Not only this, the story takes a more serious and dramatic tone once Fraser and his team get involved and take Bethany's story seriously. I really enjoyed reading about these scientists battle with what Bethany was saying and their belief in all things scientific and it made for very interesting reading, even if at times I did become a bit lost in all the technicalities! Luckily, these technical aspects didn't need to be fully understood to enjoy and follow the story. There was one point where Gabrielle returned to her irritating self towards the end of the book - at that point, the story was meeting a very climatic point, but I found her personal issues and her relationship with Fraser were getting in the way of the stories enjoyment, and not only that, she came across as self involved and annoying. Lastly, the most important and the most interesting character has to be that of teenage Bethany Krall. I thought the authors depiction of this little murderess was pitched perfectly, and I spent most of the book tipping between hating her and loving her. Her character really brought some life into the story, the physical description of her was vivid, language used and her outlook on life made it really easy to understand her and I could see how she could have been a typicall teenager if life hadn't gone so wrong for her. It is not until the latter half the book that the reader begins to fully understand the life Bethany had before she committed murder and it is then that my outlook on Bethany is tinged with a little bit of sympathy. The way in which Gabrielle warmed to her also helped to reinforce my sympathy and understanding in such a complex character. Having said all this, the characterisation is really the only part of this book that I enjoyed fully. Although I thought the premise of the story was really interesting, I felt that the book at times didn't live up to the hype surrounding it. Firstly, I felt that it took ages to build up to the action of the story. I understand there is a need to build up the characters and although this was done well, it was to the detriment of the flow of the story - the genre that this book is in really does need to keep up a continuous flow of action and create suspense and I found that this was severely lacking. There is a point in the story where the action is coming to a head, and this happens about half way through, at this point the book really did feel like a thriller and I was caught up in the excitement of it all. However, I felt that the story then when downhill and I found myself less and less interested in the ending. Although this book has a serious message attached (underpinned by the authors note at the end) regarding the dangers of an environmental disaster in our world of increasing global warming, it wasn't until the end chapters that this really started to have the impact on me that it should. Without spoiling the story, there are some very dramatic scenes in which I found quite scary - but I felt that this danger wasn't conveyed convincingly throughout the story and thus didn't build up a great deal of suspense. Likewise, I felt a bit deflated when it came to the ending of the book - but obviously that isn't something I can discuss without ruining it! Having thought about it now, I can see that any other ending wouldn't have done the book justice but it did leave me wanting...more. I suppose that could be seen as a good thing! Lastly, I found that a book full of scientific fact mixed with religious beliefs would have had some kind of proper explanation for Bethany's visions. Throughout the book, we are told that the electronic "treatment" that she is receiving is causing this side effect, but it's a reason that just seems weak to me. I am the type of person who needs something solid, but I found this really hard to swallow! I found that this reason was really lame and I would've liked to have had a proper reason. As you can see, I have several issues with this book as a whole, although undeniably it is a well researched book with excellent characterisation and a interesting angle. However, for me this didn't really live up to the hype and I found myself disappointed by the end of the book. In one newspaper review, Liz Jensen has been compared to Margaret Atwood - this surprises me - in my opinion, she wishes she could write that well. The story may have been there, but the writing and involvement in the suspense was severely lacking in my opinion.

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              03.02.2010 22:38
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              Maybe you'll get on with it better than me!

              To begin with I must say that this is not my usual style of book by any stretch of the imagination. I was wandering through Waterstones and had already found two books for a 3 for 2 deal and this ended up being the third as it intrigued me. This is the story of the apocalypse, or the story of global warming, or the story of corrupt businesses not taking enough care to check for catastrophes that are just waiting to happen. But most of all it is the story of evangelical Christianity gone badly wrong, an insane teenager correctly predicting the dates of natural disasters and a psychologist torn between belief and disbelief, whilst trying to come to terms with being in a wheelchair after a horrific car accident. ===Plot=== Gabrielle Fox is a professional psychologist, or at least she was until a car accident with her boyfriend left her permanently paralysed from the waist down. She is now attempting to rebuild her career as a psychologist during a merciless summer of biblical heat and destructive winds. The first new case she is assigned to however is Bethany Krull, a teenager who is violent, delusional and insistent that she can foresee natural disasters after being given ECT treatment. The issue becomes far more complicated though when Bethany's predictions start coming true, even down to the exact date that they were going to happen on. But who's going to believe a teenager who's locked up in a mental institution for murdering her mother? The answer to that by the way is: Not many. And Gabrielle Fox also has the issue of Bethany's previous psychologist, Joy McCony, who truly does believe in Bethany's ability to predict these disastrous events but went one step further. She had come to the conclusion that Bethany was evil and she wasn't just predicting events, but was actively and deliberately causing these disasters. Needless to say she found herself immediately dismissed for health reasons. But this leaves Gabrielle in an even bigger fix, because throughout the novel she slowly begins to believe that Bethany is able to predict disasters after event after event falls into place, and she doesn't want to look just as insane as her predecessor. Equally, she is beginning to feel like a murderer by default as she has had knowledge of events that have killed thousands of people, and she could have warned them. This is where the third main character, Frazer Melville comes into the picture; a physicist who listens and believes but is equally as powerless as she is. A rather random and slightly weak love story emerges between Gabrielle Fox and Frazer Melville which I suppose is both meant to be some light hearted relief, as well as to give us some empathy for Gabrielle. Once those two meet, talk and start a relationship the true story really begins, and where my brief plot synopsis ends. ===Characters=== I've already introduced the three main characters, and there's not a lot more I can say about them without ruining the plot of the novel. What does need to be said though is that it is very difficult to empathise with most of the characters, they seem to be very thinly written, without properly formatted background, emotions or motives. Although I found the plot interesting and wanted to keep reading to the end, the characters as a whole were one of the weakest parts of the book. Bethany actually seems insane for a large amount of the book, and an attempted sympathy vote is only introduced far too late on in the book, Gabrielle is not developed enough for a main character and Frazer is just an annoying character. To really enter into the world of a novel you have to have the ability to be able to emphasise with the characters, or at least one of them, and this is impossible with this particular novel. ===Themes=== However interesting the plot of the novel is, this is a book based on themes and issues which it is trying to bring to our attention. Evangelical religion: This is a very well done critique about the dangers of Evangelical religion, of belief without reason and the belief in evil being able to possess people. Religion in itself is good and it brings a large amount of comfort to people, but there is something scary and potentially dangerous about fundamental, evangelical religion. There is a major difference between belief in God, allowing yourself to take comfort from it but being able to rationally discuss your faith, and a fundamentalist view which allows for no rationality or discussion. It is that fundamentalist belief that is being discussed in this book, Bethany's father is a preacher who truly believes that his daughter is evil, and who believed this long before Bethany killed her mother. But that is not the only danger that is being critiqued in this novel; the title of the novel is 'The Rapture', and the reason for this is the evangelical's immediate response to the news of natural disaster being predicted by a teenager was that the rapture was coming. Because of the way they saw these events they wouldn't try to save themselves or their children, because this was God's will. There was also an interesting theory approached in the books which I have only ever heard once before, (unfortunately by a religious fundamentalist who really winds me up, so I'd just dismissed it as a nutcase argument by a thoroughly annoying fanatic). Back to the case in hand though, the argument is that life is full of hardship and pain and therefore we should not bring children into a world where we know that they are going to be hurt. This view suggests that we are playing God by having children, and we cannot blame God for suffering when it is our fault for bringing vulnerable young children into our world. Go figure. Science: This novel also explores the use of science and how it can be used to prove what at first glance does not appear to be provable. But again this book is also showing the dangers of believing entirely in science and not allowing yourself to entertain the possibility that there might just be something else out there that cannot be proven. This is the pit that many of Frazer Melville's contemporaries fall into as they believe that he is disturbed due to his mothers death. This is also how Gabrielle Fox's superiors think. As an author, Liz Jensen has walked this line very carefully indeed, and has shown that at their extremes both science and religion can be very dangerous indeed. Global Warming: At least in part this book is being used to show what the possible consequences of us using the earth in the way we have. However it does not seek to patronise, lecture or educate; Liz Jensen is just putting forward a possibility which states is slim, but makes quite freaky reading. ===My reaction=== Wow, for a book I just picked off the shelf as a spur of the moment decision, I was glad I did. It was interesting, and at times gripping reading. It covered several issues that I am deeply interested in, and had a plot which made me desperately want to find out what happens in the main story, but also to the main characters. So far it seems perfect. BUT (and yes, you knew there had to be a 'but'!), it didn't touch me. That may seem like a trivial point, but to me I find it essential. Something was missing all the way through the novel. I didn't empathise with any of the characters as they all seemed too extreme or just lacking any real character. Another issue which I found was that it was so full of science that I didn't fully grasp it (science has always been my weak spot!) and it just seemed to lack proper emotion. Liz Jensen does attempt to fill in this hole with the love story between Gabrielle and Frazer, but this appears to weak, forced and put in for the sake of a love story and some light heartedness. I don't know, in theory this book should tick all the boxes for an interesting and enthralling read, but I left it finding that I had never truly entered the world of the novel and feeling somewhat cheated. But that may just be me. I think at least part of my reaction is that this is one of the first books I have read in the past 4 years in which I have not been able to find a single quote to put into my Common Place Books. These are basically notebooks with quotes, paragraphs or even pages of books, TV shows or films that have struck a chord with me. But they are mostly full of parts from books, and it is exceptionally rare that there is nothing in a book which I feel is worth writing down. ===Conclusion=== This was a good book, but it is not a great book by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps it will be been a more enjoyable read for those of you who have more than a basic understanding of science, which is something I lack. But although I found it to be interesting and I enjoyed reading it, I was left feeling that I'd missed something and that whereas usually I can completely immerse myself in the world which the author puts in front of me. For some reason I felt like an outsider peeking in.

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                22.01.2010 15:18
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                A good and uncomfortable yarn

                "Never underestimate the hypocrisy of governments...the selfishness of a tribe...the human capacity to think wishfully...and in the short term" I read a rave review of this in a recent Guardian Review and ended up buying it the next day. It sounded intriguing - a literary eco thriller involving crazy evangelists and a psychotic teenage prediction making goth. I hadn't read anything by Liz Jensen before and knew only what I read about her on the book's jacket - 'acclaimed author of six previous novels', previously shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award and for the Orange prize three times. This is the second of three apocalyptic books I have read/am reading this month; I recently finished 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy, and currently have Margaret Atwood's 'Oryx and Crake' on the go, so if you don't hear from me for a while, it may be that I am busy digging a cellar to fill with tinned beans and bottled water, although, given the propensity for climate change induced natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and tsunami's perhaps I should be building an ark. The story begins in the near, hotter, future. Gabrielle, a psychologist not long recovered from an accident which has left her paralysed, moves from London to a new job near the coast in an institution for disturbed young people. Here she finds herself therapist to the infamous Bethany Krall who murdered her own mother. Bethany likes to predict disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and the like, but as these phenomena are becoming common in a world increasingly affected by climate change, no-one takes much notice of her, especially as her predictions are often accompanied by biblical ranting - she was brought up in a family who were part of the new 'Faith Wave', an increasingly popular fundamentalist Christian group who preach the idea of intelligent design and with who her father is a Minister. Before long it becomes clear that Bethany is predicting real disasters, with dates. A physicist, Frazer, gets involved, and begins trying to find a rational explanation for the predictions, (mathematical research about Van Gogh's paintings are used as a starting point, apparently the swirls in some of his work mimic turbulence in nature with great accuracy, particularly in pictures produced during psychotic episodes in his life). The hope is that people will listen when they are warned of Bethany's latest prediction, "the big one", " It's something new. No-one's seen it before. It starts in one place and it spreads everywhere. Too fast for anyone to do anything about it." The Rapture is plot rather than character driven, but the standard of the writing is such that the characters are still sympathetic, even the initially twisted seeming Bethany turns out to have good reason for her behaviour, (without suggesting there is ever a good reason to murder your mother!). I have worked in the mental health field and with people with disabilities and in my opinion both these themes, which run throughout the book, were dealt with competently. It reads a bit like a movie and I can see why it has been optioned by Warner Brothers. It's pacy and exciting, although a touch formulaic, especially when it comes to the love story which is the only thing about the book that I feel is deserving of criticism. Without going into too many details, all I will say is that part of it became utterly predictable and I was irritated by the cliched romantic machinations. Despite this I was still gripped by the overall storyline and read on in a rush to see how it all turned out. The scariest thing about this book is that although it is set in the future it could very easily be today. The Copenhagen climate summit is mentioned briefly as having 'failed to deliver'. Depressingly, the book was published before the summit, but clearly there was never going to be any other outcome. This might be billed as a futuristic page turning thriller but it is also believable, meaning it doesn't do the job of many thrillers and provide us with pure escapism, it's too uncomfortably close to the truth. The seasons have become meaningless, a European heatwave has morgues bursting at the seams with old people, 'natural' disasters are becoming commonplace, the world is world falling apart while people continue to do everyday things; go to work, watch tv, buy croissants... read thrillers...write reviews. It's not just Rome that is burning but almost everyone is in denial. Bethany watches a hurricane on tv, "Here comes the good bit", she says as a world famous monument is destroyed. The apocalypse is being televised. A quote from a leader of the 'Planetarian' movement in the book; "In times past children and grandchildren were seen as a blessing, a sign of faith in the future of the gene-pool. Now it would seem that the kindest thing to do for our grandchildren is to refrain from generating them", the kind of thing a lot of people say these days. Overall, with the exception of the romantic complications, The Rapture lived up to my expectations as per the review I read. I think this book has a truly broad appeal, with something in it for those who like thrillers, chick lit, the supernatural... I could go on. It's a cracking story which is both well written and trashy at the same time. If it wasn't for the dodgy love angle I'd have given this five stars, but it's still well worth a read. Furthermore; we are all doomed. I'm off to dig that cellar...

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