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The Book of Rapture

2.75  ·  Rating Details ·  261 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Three children wake up in a basement room of a large city hotel. They have been drugged and taken from their beds in the middle of the night. Now they are here. Alone. Where are their parents? Who can they trust?
Paperback, 268 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Fourth Estate (GB) (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 16, 2010 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2011
I nearly didn't read this because there were so many poor reviews.

More fool me for almost listening to other people. I loved it.

I thought it was quirky and genuinely unsettling. It got me thinking - sometimes it's nice to read something that doesn't do all the work for you.

The small chapters with accompanying quotes really worked, and I felt like I was reading something quite different.

A dystopian take on 'Room' perhaps?! Gemmell does it again!
Dec 08, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Rarely have I read something so poetic and beautiful as this book. I was stirred, touched and changed.
Sep 21, 2009 Witso75 rated it it was ok
Nikki was trying to teach us a lesson in this book..... science versus religion, the innocence of children which can overcome all adversity and quotations from famous people and bibilical references to ponder. I just didn't buy the story. She was a little over the top with her sentimentality and descriptive lingo.
You have to be in the right mood for this book its a bit intense.

Oct 17, 2009 Danya rated it it was ok
Not sure... I suspect it might be one that will linger.
Beaulah Pragg
Apr 19, 2012 Beaulah Pragg rated it liked it
One of the first things I noticed about the Book of Rapture is that it is told in second person present tense, ie. "You watch your children bickering..."
It took me a couple of pages to get used to the style, but once I was in, it became like a strange sort of dream.

The story is a diary, told by the mother, who, like a guardian angel, watches over her children in this strange new environment without being able to act or change anything. The story jumps between the 'present' with the children in t
Mar 29, 2016 S'hi rated it really liked it
Nikki Gemmell’s book of rapture turns writing on its head. Rather than start with a quote and extrapolate, each segment seems to be the stuff of daily life condensed down to a following statement which builds into a future. By this means the reader is lead into the development of the children under the watchful eye of the mother/narrator who carries a guilt that cannot easily be determined or extracted.

What seemed an alignment with external authority is brought into question “somewhere” and her
Ilyhana Kennedy
Aug 14, 2015 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it liked it
There's a lot about this story that I just don't get. For me, the novel is too full of it's own mystery.
For one, if the mother has been captured and is in a room with some device that allows her to see her children, why then do her captors not know where her children are hidden? There's no indication that she has telepathic abilities. What am I missing?
The dialogue does not ring true as child-speak, and the mother's responses to what she is seeing seem to hold too much dominance. There's a whol
Kerry Hennigan
Aug 02, 2011 Kerry Hennigan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
UK-based Australian author Nikki Gemmell has written some memorable novels. I loved “Shiver” “Cleave” (a.k.a. “Alice Springs”) and “Lovesong” but was disappointed with “The Bride Stripped Bare” which became a huge international hit despite what I thought of it. “The Book of Rapture” reprises the technique she used for “Bride” in that we don’t know the name of the narrator, apart from it being a female, a scientist involved in a top secret project, a wife and mother of three children. The childre ...more
Holly Kench
Feb 25, 2012 Holly Kench rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
Why does Nikki Gemmell insist on writing everything in the 2nd person? It's no longer clever or interesting, and, despite what SOME reviews say, it doesn’t make her writing more ‘lyrical’. It just grates. Admittedly, it was moderately interesting in “The Bride Stripped Bare”, as its use increased the sense that this could be an ‘every woman’ experience, while also presenting an interesting take on certain feminist academics’ use of the 1st person plural, ‘we’. However, in “The Book of Rapture” i ...more
May 23, 2013 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Big fan of Nikki, but this was terrible.

Just terrible.

The characters were hard to care about, and the whole brooding air of threat thing just didn't work for me. Maybe the characters were hard to care about because the whole brooding air of threat thing didn't work for me.

That aside, this was another case (I'm looking at you, Pat Barker) where I was hoping to get the story that the synopsis promised... but didn't.

See, this is one reason why people write fan fiction: because the original idea was
Teagan C.
Jun 07, 2014 Teagan C. rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book while I was reading it, but simultaneously I had a lot of problems with it. One of the main problems is something I've read in almost all the other reviews, how where and why is the narrator telling us this? It would have been less nonsensical to have the book be the boy's writing than the mother from some unknown location - is she being shown this on cctv, is she imagining it, is she in the room next door behind some kind of magic mirror?

One of the other issues is how the c
Apr 17, 2015 Cary added it
While there are many beautiful or moving and highly observant moments and descriptions, a non-sentimental but deep mother's liking and love for the specifics of her children and their engaging with the world, there is very little narrative - which I am fine with, but there is nothing else driving the story either, despite the waiting for rescue of the basic premise. The undercurrent of us and them, and how that implicates both sides in whatever ensues is clever and maybe purposefully underdevelo ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Johanna rated it it was ok
I was not thrilled by this novel. I expected the story to be based around the looming threat of biological warfare - more specifically the dreaded Project Indigo - but it was centred on three siblings trapped in a basement with their mother watching their actions unbeknownst to them. The plot of a futuristic world governed by religion and race was interesting; however, the mother’s constant proclamations about her children were not. Perhaps it takes the experience of being a parent to appreciate ...more
Aug 06, 2009 Lizzie rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed with this book after I loved The Bride Stripped Bare. I find books written in second person challenging, however, my biggest problem with the book was that it was meant to be written by a woman who has been imprisoned by her government, yet she tells the story of her children's experiences as if she is in the room with them. How could she see everything they were going through if she was apart from them?

Besides from this, I really enjoyed the language of the book and the
Sep 29, 2014 Josie rated it it was ok

I've really enjoyed Nikki Gemmell's 3 previous novels, but this one for me was just a little too 'try hard' to be left of field for it to actually be enjoyable.
I get that this was a story based on religion vs science, but it took a stretch to assume a lot of the parts of the story that were purposely left blank for the reader to use their imagination to fill in those blanks.
Perhaps my imagination had checked out for the duration of reading this book, but on he whole I just didn't enjoy it.
Honestly the first quarter of this book was really confusing and I felt I could not absorb or understand what I was reading but by halfway you do get sucked in to wondering what the deal is for the kids to be perfectly honest I dont know if I really got it in the end and wont write why hear in case I spoil it for others. It was needlesly wordy in parts but still not to bad of a read and the last quarter I could not put down in anticipation of finding out what was going to happen. Glad I have rea ...more
Sep 05, 2014 Jodie rated it did not like it
Listened to the audio book version. This made a confusing and lackluster book even harder to follow. The quotes just detracted from the story as they were read by the same narrator. A good story should cross any medium, this one fails as an audio book and has definitely left me uninspired to pick up any others by this author - audio or print versions. With three tracks to go I just look forward to it being over but have no hope for clarity or redemption from this novel.
Feb 12, 2014 Els rated it liked it
Interesting. Confusing (was the mother watching or imagining?) Liked the use of quotes - I liked working out how they related to the chapter, what they were supposed to mean in the context of the book. Disturbing. Not particularly an enjoyable read. I have read another of her books, Shiver, and found that a bit disturbing too, maybe uncomfortable for being so open and honest. Must read Bride Stripped Bare one day. Don't expect that to be enjoyable either.
Anthea Ramos
Feb 07, 2015 Anthea Ramos rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I liked this and then I didn't and then I did and then I didn't and then it ended! It was written quite differently, almost like poetry, which I'm not very keen on. The story itself was a good one - suspensful and one of learning about life and love and family but for all the anxt it had a Hollywood ending that was not realistic and that annoyed me. It was an easy ready but not nearly as fantastic as her last book The Bride Stripped Bare.
Aug 13, 2009 Tanya rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldnt-finish
27 chapters in and i gave up. Admittedly they were short chapters. I didnt read the synopsis before i started this book (i dont like to spoil things) but a dozen or so chapters in i had no idea what was going on so i had to read it.

I just didnt see where it was headed and didnt care.

Funnily enough this book appears in the 2009 list of books you cant put down...............i beg to differ.

I've always been a Gemmel fan, but Rapture wasn't what I had hoped. I enjoyed the children's story but couldn't reconcile that it was their mother watching them telling the story - where was she? And yeah so the books is found in the cupboard years later, but that still doesn't explain the mother's narrative? frustrating.
Jan 15, 2011 Becky rated it it was ok
The story was difficult to begin with and took a lot to get into but I did finish it and was glade! The bits and pieces from religious texts intrigued me and had me flicking to the back to find who said what in the world. From the start I assumed the mother was dead, I'm not sure why but it seemed to make enough sense, the chapters are short and at times leave you hanging.
Sallyann Van leeuwen

Listened to this audio book. Well tried. Beautiful prose, but had no idea nor cared where this was going, so abandoned a quarter of the way in. Seriously, at one point the audio book was on shuffle and the chapters made more sense all out of order. Two stars for the imagery, but really not interesting enough to continue.
Book Bazaar
We had a great discussion on this one with Monday Night Book Club although most people agreed that the narrative structure was deeply flawed and held many people back from enjoying it. The book raised many important issues that we enjoyed discussing and the emotions and descriptions were often very deftly written. Our ratings were 3.5/9/2/0/5/6/5/1/6
Rebecca Carlsen
Jun 27, 2013 Rebecca Carlsen rated it it was ok
This book was so odd. It was written in second person present but it is never clear why. The narrator seems to be omniscient but she isn't dead and has no way of actually knowing the things she does. The story was a bit pointless and not enough was explained. I just didn't get it. It seemed more like an experiment in writing than an actual book.
Dec 26, 2011 Kerrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freaky , unsettling , confusing.

Some great parts but I struggled with the rhythm of the narrative.

Enjoyed the observations of the children's different personalities , how they interacted without parental interference.

But a bit too obtuse for my liking. I wanted an explanation and a resolution.
Aug 06, 2011 Peter rated it did not like it
Awful book. I managed to get to the end for no benefit at all. Can I have my money and time back please. So many plot holes, so many things which make no sense. Reading the reviews here sum it up in that there are multiple different views on even the basis of the story.
Denise Covey
Sep 11, 2013 Denise Covey rated it liked it
I think the author tried to be too clever which had the effect of shutting me out of the story. Too many secrets and the POV was hard to fathom. Left to imagine how the protagonist could see the goings on. It remains unclear where the story takes place, which I found annoying.
Jan 14, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Hhhhm ... I did really get into the characters and story but found it not completely satisfying. Wanted to know a bit more at the end. Also stopped reading the quotes at the end of each (very short) chapter!
Has anyone read The Bride Stripped Bare or any of her others? Worth a read?
Feb 11, 2011 Jonathan rated it it was ok
Depressing and dark (for a parent with similar aged children). The tension was well maintained, but I struggled with the "observer status" of the mother. Was it allegorical? I couldnt decide what it was, I think that was part of my problem with it.
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Nikki Gemmell has written four novels, Shiver, Cleave, Lovesong, The Bride Stripped Bare and The Book Of Rapture, and one non-fiction book, Pleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Her work has been internationally critically acclaimed and translated into many languages.

In France she's been described as a female Jack Kerouac, in Australia as one of the most original and engaging authors of her generati
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