Review: The Rapture by Liz Jensen

The Rapture - Liz Jensen

 I was watching some dumb program about people who are preparing for doomsday. They are stock piling food and weapons and learning now to create their own power sources and generally being really weird with it. I thought wow, these people are wasting their lives preparing for something that's not all that likely to happen. I haven't created any kind of plan for the apocalypse, I've never even given it a second thought. The Rapture by Liz Jensen creates a nightmare image of the end of the world. A highly original, theatrical possibility into what could happen at the end of days.


The story goes that Gabrielle Fox, recovering from her own dramatic and life altering event which has confined her forever to a wheelchair, meets the disturbed 16 year old Bethany Krall through her work as an art therapist. Bethany is batshit crazy. But she has visions of impending disasters. And as the disasters begin to occur for reals Gabrielle puts her career and life in danger to alert the world of what's to come.


There's an incredibly uneasy atmosphere throughout the story. An edge to the description and the dialogue that creates an uncomfortable feeling. Like everyone is on the very edge all the time. There's a lot of hate and bitterness throughout, from every character and through every situation. Gabrielle acts as narrator and she has her own reasons to be constantly seething which are revealed piece by piece as the story progresses. She's an interesting, and not altogether likeable character. She's suffered many blows and is harbouring a lot of guilt and pain. She is wonderfully developed and very believable. I do very much enjoy the way the Jensen weaves her characters and drips their history and story to the reader, one drop at a time. Makes for a very tense but engaging read. There were many times when I couldn't stand Gabrielle's insecurities and her insistence to skirt around the truth, her lack of straight talking particularly to her love interest, Frazer Melville was infuriating. But hey, that's life! It's not always easy to say what we want to and need to say.


Bethany was fabulous. She was mental, but circumstances had created her insanity and it was as easy to feel sorry for her as it was to feel repulsed by her. The inventiveness of her visions provoked by her ECT was great.


The science described throughout the story was interesting and it had obviously been very well researched. It was equal parts scary and enthralling to read about Jensen's idea of how we will all meet our demise. An ocean of flames?! Eek!


There were so many themes explored in the book - the irresponsibility of energy companies, the aftermath of life changing events, child abuse, global warming, religion gone mad, what it means to be human - it really was a very thought provoking and interesting book. My only issue with it was the pacing was a little tedious at times, and some of the characters were slightly slow on the uptake but aside from these very minor complaints I really enjoyed The Rapture in all it's intense, fascinating and frightening glory!