Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Rapture - Liz Jensen

In a merciless summer of biblical heat and destructive winds, Gabrielle Fox's main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her career as a psychologist after a shattering car accident. But when she is assigned Bethany Krall, one of the most dangerous teenagers in the country, she begins to fear she has made a terrible mistake. Raised on a diet of evangelistic hellfire, Bethany is violent, delusional, cruelly intuitive and insistent that she can foresee natural disasters - a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion. But when catastrophes begin to occur on the very dates Bethany has predicted, and a brilliant, gentle physicist enters the equation, the apocalyptic puzzle intensifies and the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator, or could she be the harbinger of imminent global cataclysm on a scale never seen before? And what can love mean in 'interesting times'? A haunting story of human passion and burning faith set against an adventure of tectonic proportions, "The Rapture" is an electrifying psychological thriller that explores the dark extremes of mankind's self-destruction in a world on the brink.

I never would have read this book if someone hadn't lent me a copy but I ended up enjoying it far more than I expected! Although it took me around 60 pages to get into the story (others have also commented on this) it ended up being an incredibly fascinating and compelling read. The idea of the "rapture" or the "apocalypse" is a tricky topic to write about convincingly by Liz Jensen seems to have managed it well. I particularly felt that the way that she handled the Christian aspect to the story was appropriate - unlike many other authors, she doesn't place the blame on Christianity, nor does she suggest that all Christians are like Bethany's parents. This, I appreciated. I found Gabrielle a difficult character to warm to at the start but I ended up rooting for her and really feeling her hurt throughout the story. Despite this, I did feel that she should have just confronted Frazer rather than jump to conclusions. Such a typical woman! All in all, this book might not have had the most appealing characters on the world, nor was it easy to get into because of the unsettling nature and confusing discussion of scientific matters - yet I ended up loving it and couldn't wait to read more each day. Definitely recommended! 9/10

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