The cover was what first drew me to Rapture a few months back- the mysterious man with red eyes. Not one to as of late to read the synopsis but the flames licking the red eyed guy, and title held the promise it was going to be about angels and demons. Phillip W Simpson didn't disappoint. Not only did I get what was an assumed promise but I got my paranormal fill as well as a new POV to ponder about the coming apocalypse.
I'm not sure which is harder, to write a story about the apocalypse, read one or write a review on one. You are always treading water and it's a touch and go subject material. It's a subject matter both completely terrifies me as well as fascinates me. I'm an honest person so one would could assume how easy this must be. It's not. Considering I'm going to one of the many left behind (yes, I believe in the trinity, God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I just don't feel the connection) it a subject I prefer to broach in private. Being that Phillip W. Simpson interpretation of the Rapture/ Tribulation is clearly marked for entertainment purpose I could beat that nagging feeling that just maybe he wanted his readers to think just a bit, subconsciously anyway.
I had a cross mix of feeling when it came to the characters. Some had a place while others you question, pondering a meaning of a deeper reason later in the series. Sam is the central Character and as the story unfolds you can't stop yourself from feeling love for the selfless character.
Surrounding Sam throughout with past glimpses are Hikari and Aimi. Abandoned on Hikari doorstep when he was just an infant Hikari is more than a father to Sam. He is also his sensei. Preparing Sam for life after the Rapture during the Tribulation when Sam full of so much faith he could move mountains will be left behind. He must face and battle the demons of his heritage while protecting and ushering the new believers heavenwards. All while knowing he will not be allowed in heaven because of his demon blood.
Aimi the sunshine breaking through a cloudy day in Sam's world. With flash backs we witness the relationship blossom and her faith mature. We watched them grow from step-sibling to friend and finally unconditional love. Two years Sam's junior at sixteen Aimi was blessed with the ability to look beyond outer appearance and see the man that so clearly wanted, needed and deserved to be loved.
Father Rainey, his nephew Judas Joshua, I get the importance of their roles and Grace- not so much. God does nothing in secret He gives witness assuring no room for doubt. But honestly, Rainey was a priest. I found the test and judgmental prayers Rainey put Sam through was pointless. It was as if Father Rainey was testing the authority of Gods' word. And unlike Sam I saw Joshua coming at the end of Chapter Four. However, I didn't get the point of Grace. Unless she is a representation of the ones he will fight for and in the end loose anyway. Her sudden disappearance after all that Sam went through to save her makes me wonder if she will have a role in book 2 as Aimi surprised us in the end.
The stand out moment for me in Sam's life was the Rapture. Experiencing it through Sam's eye's was beautiful not the terrifying reality it will be. And I was blown away with the twist in the end when facing the anti-christ born to take his place. I have to say, I didn't see that one coming.
My chief complaint is not much of a complaint. It's a little obvious where the author found inspiration for this story. Upon beginning to read I was immediately reminded of LaHaye and Jenkins Juvenile version of their successful Left Behind Series. As I continued to read I was reminded of Steven King's television version of The Stand. Though "Rapture" stood its own ground I could see where the author drew inspiration from. The way he blended past memories with the present was seeming effortlessly.
I was a bit heart broken in the end when Sam found himself in the same position from the beginning. Alone. I plan on continuing with book 2 to see how Sam deals with the rest of the tribulation and what the devil has in store. Will his faith remain strong or will he fail the test.
What more can I say, you must READ!!
Our Favorite Random Quotes:
“Sensei, why can’t I go to school?”...
“I am truly sorry, my son. I know this is hard but you have another purpose. A greater purpose. Something far more important than playground games and making friends. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.”
“You know, school’s not all that great,...I’d much rather stay here at home with you and Papa.”
“Stained-glass windows glowed faintly in the moonlight streaming through, illuminating the sculpture of Christ on the cross that hung above the altar. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Then the sculpture seemed to move, and Christ’s body twisted on the cross to look directly at him. ...Jesus, the son of God and his saviour, seemed be smiling at him.”
“Part of you isn’t demon,...You’re all human – you just have those horns for decoration.”
“The feeling made him wonder what he would have become if only he’d been allowed to live a normal life. Sports, he knew, would’ve suited him. He was bigger, stronger and much faster than most boys his age. Football was probably the game for him. He liked watching Joshua playing at quarterback, imagining what it would be like to be in his position. To hear the crowd cheering as he made a pass, to feel accepted by his teammates – they were experiences forever denied him. It was nice to daydream though.”
“The way he looked at me? Sam, you need to understand. Josh and I are friends. That’s it. He might have feelings for me – though I don’t think he does – but I do and always will, view him as a friend.” She put one small finger under his chin and lifted his face up to hers. “Besides, there’s room for only one man in my heart.
“You really are pretty stupid sometimes, you know that? I think you must be more man than demon.” With that, she stormed off. Sam sat where he was, feeling bewildered. “Did I say something wrong?”
“He sank to his knees, absolutely full of despair and sadness. For a long time, droplets of blood continued to fall into his lap.”
“His scream was more of a roar, pouring out of him in a great torrent. Screaming for his loss, venting his pain.”