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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic thriller
Gabrielle Fox, the main character, is unlike any other heroine I have read about. She is very vulnerable after having survived a traumatic car accident. Her career as a psychotherapist leads her to a job in a psychiatric hospital for troubled teenagers. There she meets Bethany, a 16 year old who has murdered her own mother and who also seems able to predict natural...
Published on 19 July 2009 by kehs

versus
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rapt - in parts
There are some great things about 'The Rapture'; the themes and ideas are intriguing and Liz Jensen has a powerful command of metaphor. Sadly though, I don't feel 'The Rapture' managed to be the sum of its parts.

Set in the near future, the author has created a credible world, poised on the brink of disaster. Jensen's extrapolations are pessimistic, bleak and...
Published on 16 Jan 2010 by Quicksilver


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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic thriller, 19 July 2009
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rapture (Hardcover)
Gabrielle Fox, the main character, is unlike any other heroine I have read about. She is very vulnerable after having survived a traumatic car accident. Her career as a psychotherapist leads her to a job in a psychiatric hospital for troubled teenagers. There she meets Bethany, a 16 year old who has murdered her own mother and who also seems able to predict natural disasters. Gabrielle has the task of discovering if Bethany really can tell the future or whether she is a very talented manipulator. Even given Bethany's crime and appalling attitude, I found myself warming to her character. The fact that she comes from an Evangelical background, her father being a preacher man, is crucial to the plot. As an open-minded atheist I found the religious thread that runs through this story absolutely fascinating. I feel that whatever your thoughts on the Bible stories, this book will give you some intelligent food for thought. There is a lot of technical talk, but don't be put off by this as most of it can easily be understood by the context.

The author has included a note at the end of The Rapture in which she explains the intent behind her story. Jensen's writing is so eloquent that I was compelled to discover how the story ends, what would become of Bethany and uncover exactly how she knew of the forthcoming disasters. Along the way I felt the pain and emotional traumas that both Gabrielle and Bethany suffer. Both are fragile in their own ways and in need of love and care. This is a hard hitting topical storyline that made me sit up and listen to the message that Jensen is trying to get across. The ending blew me away and left me feeling that we really must pull together as a race and look after our planet.

To sum up, this is a captivating apocalyptic thriller set in the very near future. It's an extremely intelligent piece of work from Jensen, and she must have put in an incredible amount of hours of research to create a terrifyingly plausible storyline in The Rapture. It was a haunting read and one that I will be thinking about for a long time.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rapt - in parts, 16 Jan 2010
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
There are some great things about 'The Rapture'; the themes and ideas are intriguing and Liz Jensen has a powerful command of metaphor. Sadly though, I don't feel 'The Rapture' managed to be the sum of its parts.

Set in the near future, the author has created a credible world, poised on the brink of disaster. Jensen's extrapolations are pessimistic, bleak and sadly plausible. The religious tensions created by the human race reaching its 'End of Days' are well handled, and the analysis of our collective psyche makes for provocative reading.

The two central characters are doctor and patient. Bethany is a young manipulative psychiatric patient, who brutally murdered her mother. Gabrielle, her psychologist, would be a fairly run-of-the-mill character, were it not for the fact she is paraplegic. This gives Gabrielle an unusual fragility, and deep insecurity that is pivotal to the plot's machinations. During therapy sessions, Bethany starts to accurately predict a series of cataclysmic events that she says will lead up to an apocalypse.

Bethany's character is something of a cliché; a wounded and angry young woman, but the novel's premise allows Jensen to ask some interesting questions. What would happen if a psychotic killer could accurately predict the end of the world? Who would listen? Would anybody take the predictions seriously? Conveniently, Gabrielle has recently started dating a climate expert, who can't help but take an interest.

It's from here that things start to go wrong with the novel. With the world hurtling towards Armageddon, it seems only a band of guerilla physicists can keep it at bay. Implausibly well equipped guerilla physicists. It just doesn't ring true. Neither do the actions of some of the peripheral characters. It's hard to explain how without giving away important plot points - but too many things happen just to advance the plot or create tension, instead of events unfolding naturally. (By way of analogy - if a fifty pound note had been left on a bench in a crowded shopping centre, should 'The Rapture's' characters need it to be there later on in the day, it would have still been there.) Too many times, I found myself thinking, 'Hang on, why wouldn't...'

To exacerbate the problem further the action sequences are rather clunky - Jensen's prose is beautiful, but at times her gorgeous description detracts from what's actually happening. It seems rather churlish to berate a novel for being too descriptive, but sometimes with a thriller, short and direct is the best. Overall I finished 'The Rapture' rather disappointed, not because it is a bad novel, but because it could have been a great one. This is a book that aims high, but doesn't quite reach its target.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'If I didn't know back then that turbulence obeys specific rules, I know it now, 3 Aug 2009
By 
purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rapture (Hardcover)
'That summer, the summer all the rules began to change, June seemed to last for a thousand years'.

The novel opens with a masterly evocation of a desperately hot summer when 'the sky pressed down like a furnace lid'. It's the near future and weather disasters are becoming far more frequent as the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable. Except it seems that someone may be able to predict the weather disasters... Gabrielle Fox's adolescent psychiatric patient Bethany Krall seems to be tuned into weather after her ECT treatment. Gabrielle has had a break from work after the car accident which killed her lover and left her in a wheelchair. She is vulnerable to Bethany's taunts of 'Wheels' but is starting to rebuild her life with the new job and new man Dr Frazer Melville.

Jensen interweaves her eco/psychological thriller with a love story and juxtaposes the scientific reaction to the apocalyptic conditions with the religious response of 'The Rapture'.

For me, she managed all of these strands very well. I read the novel in one sitting and was surprised that I hadn't hear of so skilful an author before. Since then the book has been chosen for Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and seems set for commercial success.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this....., 16 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
I expected great things from this book having read some of Liz Jensen's previous novels which I thoroughly enjoyed and there were really good reviews on Amazon and in the weekend newspaper reviews. This just didn't do it for me - it seemed to me to be written as a vehicle for a blockbuster American movie and I had to keep reminding myself the story was set in the UK. The character of Bethany was quite chilling but the others were under-developed and I found it difficult to care much about them - especially main character Gabrielle Fox who was just annoying. I managed to finish the book (this morning) which shows that it did grip me enough to want to find out what happened at the end but I really rushed the last 100 pages because I can't wait to get on to something else. I realise from reading the reviews on Amazon that a lot of people really enjoyed this book so perhaps it's me - but I don't recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started off OK but then degenerated into unbelieveable madness, 9 July 2011
By 
Manda Moo (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this book and did enjoy the writing style, but it was one of those that annoys you with little things as it goes along. It was a while ago that I read it so I can't remeber everything now, but for example: why did the main character call her love interest by his first and last names throughout - she had certainly slept with him and so should have been on first name terms really.

The book was even heading for a 4 star at one point, and then the end came. It was just so unbelieveable that I couldn't cope and skipped pages to get through all the waffle to find out what happened in the end.

I wouldn't recommend this, sorry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd, bordering on the pointless, 24 Aug 2010
By 
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
What an odd book! It seems unfair to describe it as bad... but then I wouldn't really call it good either, despite all the quotes on the backcover extolling its virtues. Someone lent it to me while on holiday and seeing they raved about it, and I was in their villa, I felt obliged to read to the end. Which was an easy enough task round the pool, the prose flies by... it's just that it failed to engage or excite me on any level.

The problems begin with the two main characters - Gabrielle and Bethany. I found neither of them likeable. Bethany is just plain crazy and woefully underdeveloped; Gabrielle bitter and obsessed with sex. Next the plot was a bit thin, in fact it sometimes felt as if I was reading a book that had some scenes missing. Nothing was quite developed enough. In places it was just embarrassing - the whole Gabrielle/Frazer misunderstanding (and its reliance on people not communicating) could have come directly from a soap opera - and you expect more from a novelist who's been shortlisted for the Orange Prize three times.

The writing was also odd. In places it tried too hard, seemed to stretch language to its limit - a 'sky gags on its own density' for example or the flash of a camera is 'like a fossil star'; in others it was cliché ridden eg 'someone paces like a panther'.

In summary, if you find yourself on holiday with a couple of days to spare it might be worth picking up but if you've got something more pressing to read I suggest you start on that. Spectacularly average, bordering on the pointless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise that didn't quite work for me, 9 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
This book left me with mixed feelings. The idea is so interesting as a psychotic teenager seems to be able to predict calamitous events heralding the end of the world as we know it. Bethany, the teen, is definitely not a likeable character, even when we come to realise the reason for her psychosis. It was all a bit far fetched. Her therapist, Gabrielle who narrates for us is still dealing with her own trauma which has led to her facing the future paralysed from the waist down and reliant on a wheelchair. Her supervisors seemed to think she returned to work too early and I couldn't help agreeing.

Gabrielle meets a physicist at her first event at her new workplace who is a specialist in the field of Bethany's predictions and furthermore knows more world experts in the area - what's the chances? It was this relationship that I found intensely annoying in the book. The physicist falls in love on the spot with our Gabrielle and from that point on she persists in calling him by his full name, Frazer Melville - oh my goodness, how annoying!! Who does that in real life?? Plus there was too much information about their sex life. I'm not a prude if it's relevant to the story, but this felt voyeuristic and uncomfortable and had absolutely nothing to do with the coming-apocalypse-based story line. It just seemed thrown in there as a a bit of titilation (pun intended - there's an awful lot of information about Gabrielle's breasts). Frazer is an annoying character who keeps Gabrielle in the dark too much and in turn she is an annoying character who completely goes on to blow everything out of proportion - drawing the curtains at night whilst she's stalking him outside is obviously a sign of an affair rather than a sign of shutting the night out.

All in all, disappointing. A great idea gone as mad as the British weather in this book and by the end, out of control. Shame really as it had great potential - I especially liked the mix of science versus religion as the panicking population get carried away on a 'Faith Wave' and getting 'rapture-ready' to be saved by God - a really interesting premise that didn't quite reach its potential for me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overhyped and ultimately disappointing, 7 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
This is the first Liz Jensen novel I have read and I was partly persuaded to buy it by the very positive reviews the book has received on this site and elsewhere. I also decided to give "The Rapture" a go as I enjoy novels with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic themes and this book appeared to provide an interesting take on this genre.

The novel opens strongly. The opening sequences are intriguing, wryly amusing in places and generally very well-written. Jensen lines up a potentially fascinating interaction between Gabrielle Fox, a psychotherapist paralysed and traumatised in an horrific car accident, and Bethany Krall, a teenage patient of Fox's who has been remanded in a secure psychiatric hospital after brutally murdering her mother. However, from the first meeting of these two characters, I was disappointed. The dialogue between the two is uninvolving, as Krall works out Fox very easily and Fox has little insight or real understanding to give Krall.

The book then shifts focus, firstly to Fox's romantic life and then to a wave of natural disasters hitting the planet with alarming regularity. "The Rapture" is set in a near-future where global warming has begun to wreak dire havoc on humanity and Krall seems to have some kind of connection to the chaos engulfing the planet. From this point onwards, the psychiatric hospital backdrop is abandoned and with it is lost, in my view, pretty much everything that "The Rapture" had going for it in its early chapters. When Fox finds herself mixed up with a cast of characters attempting to prevent the natural disasters, the writing really begins to flounder distractingly. The unfolding events are unconvincing and a struggle to read through. A book that had started with such promise sadly ended up being a real chore to finish.

I am sorry I didn't like this novel as I thought it was going to be great. I really wanted to balance the favourable reviews here with my own view of this book, as in my opinion "The Rapture" simply does not deliver and is really not as entertaining and accomplished as it should be, nor is as worthwhile as other reviews suggest.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 26 Oct 2009
By 
Mad Sez "Sarah" (Derbyshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rapture (Hardcover)
This is a personal taste issue, but for me there was too much emphasis on the 'natural disaster theme' (especially towards the end) and not enough on the psychological elements of the story. I thought there could have been a lot more exploration of what lead Bethany to murder her mother, and of the issues Gabrielle had, particularly in reference to her affair with a married man prior to the car accident that left her paralysed.
All in all, disappointing; however if you are interested in apocalyptic disaster stories then I'm sure you will like it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great set up and characters - let down by unrealistic plot development, 21 Mar 2010
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
This apocalyptic eco-disaster book started oh so well, but for me, it lost its way.

Set in the near future - the world is very much as we know it, but post a "faith wave" and global warming has continued apace, Jensen sets up a fascinating situation with some very well drawn characters. A psychotic young girl, Bethany, institutionalised for stabbing her mother to death has very specific "visions" of natural disasters following some scary electric therapy. These are very specific and have all come true, but who will believe a young, clearly insane, killer?

In rolls a new therapist (literally as it turns out as Dr Gabrielle Fox is a paraplegic recovering from a car accident) to take on her case after Bethany's last therapist has left in mysterious circumstances. Fox's area of specialisation is in art therapy. Can she reach Bethany?

Bethany's father is a minister in the growing fundamentalist faith movement that awaits The Rapture, when God will save believers prior to the Earth entering natural disasters. Bethany appears to foresee just such an event.

This is a terrific set up and I was enthralled for the first 100 pages or so, wondering how this was going to pan out. Sadly, I suspect that Liz Jensen may have had the same concerns. When Gabrielle meets a physicist, Frazer Melville (who annoyingly is always referred to as either "the physicist" or by his full name - even when they are supposedly in a relationship) and gets him involved, things get murkier. The love story bit is interesting, but it's in the attempts to solve the issues and save the world that it all gets so ridiculously far-fetched that I became so disappointed in the book.

Frazer Melville (oh good god, she's got me at it now!) finds a group of like-minded and ridiculously well equipped fellow scientists - sort of ninja physicists - and there are some glaringly obvious gaps in their options. It's plain silly. The ideas are all there, but the execution is just daft.

That said, the characters are well drawn and there are some lovely comic asides, my favourite of which was "the moment is so exquisitely appalling that it could be bottled and sold as a generic life-deterrent".

I'm torn between a three star and a four star rating for this. It's not a bad book by any means, but it could have been so much better. For just plain daftness though (in the guerilla physicists rather than in the nature of the eco threats and religious reactions) , I'm veering to the lower rating.
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The Rapture
The Rapture by Liz Jensen (Hardcover - 1 Jun 2009)
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