The Rapture has occurred - the end of the world. The faithful have risen up to Heaven. Those left behind are in a living hell.
Armed only with his swords and his wit, a teenage boy wanders this post-apocalyptic world alone, separated forever from everyone he loves. Cursed by his demonic heritage, he must now embark on a quest that will take him across the US to the City of Angels. There he will confront his destiny. There he must fight to save a friend ... and for the souls of the living."
Earthquakes, Tsunamis, plague, famine. Animals mysteriously dying. All the signs are there. The Rapture is coming. How would you survive in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic world? A world whose conditions now mirror those in Hell. A world where Demons emerge at night to take those who remain to Hell. Read Rapture before the Rapture. Be prepared.
My Review: Sam has known his entire life he was different. Hikari, his mentor, Sensei, and father-figure, raised and trained him in the confines of their private home. He refers to Sam as his "ward" to the outside world. In public sight, Sam wears a cap or a hood to hide his bloodline. As a half-demon, half-human, he's battling his nature - and tells of it, like the horns protruding from his black hair or inhuman eyes. His only daily interaction aside from Hikari is the Sensei's daughter, Aimi, who Sam is sure he loves. Trained as an amazing warrior, it isn't clear until he learns of the Rapture what his destiny is: to protect the innocents left behind from the demons savaging the Earth, and to destroy the most horrifying prophecy in the Bible.
Strongly founded in the terrifying prophecies of the New Testament, especially the Rapture most thoroughly described Revelations, this book is one of the most unique post-apocalyptic YA books I've seen yet. Fast-paced and engrossing, it kicks off with Sam about to face hoards of Lemure - a type of demon that is unleashed in churches after the Rapture to literally drag you to hell - and doesn't slow down. Multiple-sword-wielding Sam is determined to fight against his nature, his tempters, and the very blood that runs through his veins. Aimi tells him he is not a beast but a man - a good man, and he is determined to be just that.
Reading this book, you grow to adore and pity Sam. Despite his fervent beliefs, inspiring morals and courage, and half-human heritage, because of the demon that raped his mother, he is convinced that he will never be allowed into Heaven. Aimi and Hikari were gone - he had always known they would be taken, lifted up with the Rapture. As it happened, he hoped and prayed, but found himself left behind to deal with the earthquakes, fire, brimstone, bloodmoon, and inescapable ash. Knowing he can never go where his loved ones are means knowing he will never see them again. It seems to burn every time he saves one more person, willingly prepares to martyr himself one more time, does some courageous and scary thing only because he knows its right. In spite his proficiency and skill at traveling alone, these qualities cause him to pick up seemingly loyal companions like Josh and Grace along the way. His first non-Aimi human teenage friends.
Rapture molds this terrifying and fascinating post-Rapture world invested with the creatures of Hell itself. Dynamics are sewn in amazing layers and details permanently are embedding an awe-inspiring picture of a world of ashes in your mind. On another level, it seems to have you evaluating yourself as a reader: what if that was you? Would you be strong enough? Adding to its uniqueness, some of the best parts of the book are in perfectly paced hindsight, and the impressive detail, facts, and culture is flooded into the world-building, somehow mixing a warrior's side of Japanese ways and Christian prophecy essential to the religion. YA literature hasn't seen anything like this since Left Behind.
Precessing each chapter is a haunting, quote (often biblical) and each sub-section (in the .Mobi format, anyhow) is divided with an image of gray flames. Every chapter began and ended with a gripping hook, and each managed to individually reshape the readers' view of the overall story. Both the pacing and writing was fantastic - when I began reading, I didn't stop until I finished the entire book. I loved it, and I've already recommended the read to several people! This is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2011!
It's very clean, aside from minor things (Succubi, a swear once or twice - definitely not a problem) but has an amazing darkness and intelligent concepts, making it a perfect fit for all YA readers. The religion addressed is in no way offensive - if your religious (Christian, at least), it definitely adds to the enjoyment of the book and appreciation of the concepts, and if your not, it doesn't take away, which is perfectly executed.
I recommend for all post-apocalyptic and dystopian readers, and readers who enjoyed: The Thirst Series by Christopher Pike, The Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, Looking For Alaska by John Green, and The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfield, as well as any fans of Hanna, Priest, Electra, Underworld, Legion, I Am Legend, I Am Number Four, The Walking Dead (TV), and Jericho (TV).
Highly recommended! Go get yourself a copy!
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