Review: The Rapture by Liz Jensen

October 21, 2009 Doubleday, Literary Fiction, Review, Thriller 17

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (August 11, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0385528213
  • Source: Publisher

    Sixteen-year-old Bethany Krall is a patient at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital.  She was committed two years ago after brutally murdering her mother.  Bethany’s last psychologist was forced to take a mysterious health-related leave of absence.  She has been reassigned to Gabrielle Fox, a wheelchair-bound art therapist.

    Bethany claims to have the ability to predict natural disasters.  These visions occur immediately following electo-convulsive therapy.  Bethany’s claims have been ignored up until now.  Gabrielle begins to make note of some of the predictions and when a few come true, she feels the need to report it to someone.  When Bethany begins seeing visions of “the end”, Gabrielle knows she has little time to act.

    Gabrielle meets Frazer Melville, renowned physicist, and mentions Bethany’s “gift” to him.  She is desperate to understand the likelihood of such natural disasters occuring.  At first, like the others, Frazer is skeptical.  But a devastating disaster occurs and he can’t help but be convinced.   In a strange turn of events, Gabrielle and Frazer start a romantic relationship. 

    Gabrielle and Frazer are eventually able to convince experts of Bethany’s ability.  They form a team and quickly determine the impending cause of the end, a natural disaster so catastrophic it will have world-wide repercussions.  But will they be able to stop it? And if they can’t,  how can they save themselves?

    Jensen does an outstanding job with this apocalyptic thriller. Bethany’s character is so brute and abusive,  yet I felt sympathy for her.  She is obviously unable to control her “power” and is forced to be a victim to her “disease.”  Gabrielle certainly has her own demons to contend with.  She’s still healing, physically and mentally, from the car-accident that took away her mobility.  As the first person narrator, Gabrielle’s character is the one with the most depth.

    My only complaint would be the tempo of the book.  There was a bit of a lull in the middle of the book and I’m afraid this may dissuade some readers from completing it.  The middle segment of the book isn’t fluff, though.  It provides the reader with information that adds definition to each of the characters and delves a bit more into Bethany’s history. The ending does not dissappoint and definitely suggests a sequel.

    I should also note that while the title refers to a Christian/Biblical theme, I would not label this as Christian fiction.  Religion is definitely an underlying theme but is not at all pervasive.

    Also be warned that this book will haunt you for some time. It is a cautionary tale about what could happen to civilization if we are not careful about how we treat our planet. I literally could not get this book out of my mind after completing it.  I dreamed about it, I think of it several times throughout the day.  So, I do suggest that you pick up and read it, but be prepared for a lasting relationship!

    17 Responses to “Review: The Rapture by Liz Jensen”

    1. rhapsodyinbooks

      I didn’t like this book as much as you did, but I loved, loved, loved having a protagonist in a wheelchair. And it wasn’t a focus either, it was just a characteristic. That compensated, in my view, for many of the aspects I didn’t like as much!

      • Jenn
        Twitter: jennbookshelves

        It was strange. I was certain I wasn’t going to like this book, that it wasn’t going to wow me. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the dynamic of the two female characters. I’m not certain, but it really hit home with me.

    2. Kay

      Ooh, it sounds really good! I have this on my TBR pile, so I might think of reading it sooner than I expected. Although after reading “Life as we Knew it”, I might not need another haunting book right now! Anyway, great review. I hadn’t read much about it yet, so it’s good to hear you enjoyed it.

      • Jenn
        Twitter: jennbookshelves

        And Life As We Knew Itis on my TBR pile! I agree, you should probably attempt to read a lighter book before delving in to something so deep.

      • Jenn
        Twitter: jennbookshelves

        I did talk about this a great deal on twitter, didn’t I!? I think I enjoyed it because it was an ever-evolving piece of writing. It definitely kept me on my toes!

    3. Becky Workman

      Thanks for the review! I’ve got this book sitting on my TBR pile, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’d like to get my whole pile completed by the end of the year, so I’ll move this up in line!

      • Jenn
        Twitter: jennbookshelves

        Yes, you definitely have to be in a certain frame of mind to read it. It’s a bit bleary so I wouldn’t advise that you read it if you are having a down day!

    4. Jenners

      This totally sounds like a book that will be made into a movie someday. And I read your previous post with the teaser from the book and it sounds pretty darn serious!

    5. amy s.

      Very cool. I just added it to my TBR list. I’m always looking for books that I’ll be dreaming about or thinking about for days. Yeah!

    6. Lenore
      Twitter: lenoreva

      This has been in my pile awhile now, and I need to get to it soon! Hopefully before the year is out – sounds like a good Christmas read 😉