Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: The Rapture by Liz Jensen

Publication date: Aug. 11, 2009 (Doubleday)

Tags: adult, apocalyptic, science fiction, psychological thriller, paralysis

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


30-something-year-old Gabrielle Fox, wheelchair-bound after an emotionally and physically scarring car accident, works as an art therapist for some of Great Britain’s most mentally disturbed juveniles. One of her patients is Bethany Krall, charged with murdering her mother with a screwdriver. Bethany likes to talk about forthcoming geological disasters with scientific accuracy.

At first Gabrielle professionally ignores Bethany’s babble. But when Bethany’s predictions match up with real-life events and seem to point to a disaster of apocalyptic proportions, Gabrielle can no longer ignore her paranoia. Together with a few believing scientists, Gabrielle struggles to convince the rest of the world that a psychotic girl with murderous tendencies actually holds the key to preventing the annihilation of the human race.


THE RAPTURE is an unusual though frighteningly scientifically plausible take on the apocalypse. It is not an easy read: Gabrielle’s colloquial narrative takes you right into her head, which may or may not be effective, depending on the reader. The first half of the book builds slowly, as it focuses more on developing Gabrielle and her relationship with the physicist. Bethany is supremely dislikable all throughout, but more so at the beginning.

Even with these minor complaints, however, Liz Jensen writes a story that’s full of scientific accuracy in a way that sucks you in. Apocalyptic tales only work when they’re done intelligently, and both THE RAPTURE and its author are well aware of and accomplish that. While I found the pacing of this novel a little odd—too slow in the beginning, too quickly building to its climax towards the end—it is still a masterfully suspenseful read in the end.

THE RAPTURE is not for the faint of heart, and it focuses more on Gabrielle’s emotional damage and the apocalyptic possibility of Bethany’s predictions than the actual psychological aspects of their relationship. However, for those who love speculative fiction and similar geological horror/thriller movies, this will be a good read.

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - It's quite interesting. I love the science-y-ness of it: the vectors making the shape of a tornado. Very cool! This would definitely grab my attention at the bookstore.


  1. It sounds like a very cool book! Great review. :)

  2. Your review leaves me with mixed feelings, but the book does sound intriguing. Being set in the UK, and having a scientific background does rather tip the balance for me, so I will probably look out for it.

  3. The great thing about a good review ... I don't feel bad not reading books that don't interest me ! 1. I've got far too many to ever finish as it is and 2. I kinda feel like I've already read it - or at least gotten the main thrust.

  4. Nice review! Sounds like an interesting book. I might want to read this one.

  5. Sounds interesting, but it would probably give me nightmares... especially if it's scientifically plausible.

    Here's an award for your lovely site:


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