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The Rapture has occurred, just as the Bible predicted. The faithful have risen up to Heaven. Those left behind are in a living hell.

Earth burns, hell-like in its oppressive heat. Every volcano in the world has erupted, and tsunamis and earthquakes continue to devastate the planet. Clouds continually rain ash onto the scorched landscape, sparking fires all around. Plants and animals are dying. Food is scarce. The night sky is devoid of stars, and the moon - when it can be seen - is the colour of blood.

The remnants of humanity fight for survival. Most have fled the cities and now hide in caves deep in the mountains. By night, demons stalk the Earth, capturing the remaining humans and killing them - if they're lucky. The less fortunate are converted to worship of the Devil, and ushered into endless hell.

Eighteen year old Sam is unable to rise up because he is half demon. Hikari, a Japanese sword master and demon expert and his beautiful daughter, Aimi, have been all the family Sam has ever known. Now they're gone, and Sam must set out on the mission Hikari charged him with long ago: to help all the humans left behind. Armed only with his beloved Japanese swords and his wits, Sam wanders the 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 the souls of the living.

300 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Phillip W. Simpson

51 books116 followers
Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press. He received his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Creative Writing from the University of Auckland. He is currently working towards his Doctorate in Education, focusing on teaching children's creative writing. Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia. His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency. When not writing, he works as a school teacher. Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 111 reviews
Profile Image for Kyle.
168 reviews57 followers
June 7, 2016
Seems Sam’s life has been planned out for him since he was born. Delivered to a master swordsman at birth he was trained with two goals in mind: 1) protect the innocent left behind after the Rapture and 2) hunt down and kill the antichrist. Why him? Well he’s half demon. He even has the horns to prove it.

I loved this book! I couldn’t help but relate to Sam. No I’m not half demon (okay don’t ask my mom about that) but I can certainly relate to being left alone. As a martial arts student I can relate to the hours and hours of the practice it takes to become skilled in any martial art. I could relate as he struggled to deal with all the problems being left behind would create, struggling to survive just one more day.

Right from the first chapter I was drawn into the story. Sam and the other main characters were realistic and deeply developed. There was never a lack of action or excitement, drawing me rapidly from chapter to chapter until suddenly I was finished. The ending though not a cliffhanger (those really drive me crazy) left enough unanswered questions to make me want to reach for book two in the series.

Did I mention I loved this book? Well in case you missed it: I loved this book.
Profile Image for Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey).
1,372 reviews471 followers
March 4, 2012
Quick review

Cover: It certainly fits the story
Rating PG-13 for violence.
Thumbs Up 5
Overall: I really liked this one.
Characters: Solid main character
Plot: Different and very interesting.
Page Turner: Yes.
Series Cont.? Yes, definitely
Recommend Yes.
Book Boyfriend: Sam

SUMMARY (50 word or less)

This story stems from the Christian foretelling of the rapture. Although religious in nature, ultimately the story is about good vs. bad / nature vs. nurture. For those not religious, look at it from the aforementioned and take a leap like you would any other fictional story you would read.

For the full review and a pic of my new beau, please check out my blog post.

47 reviews10 followers
March 31, 2012
F*@$ Yesss!!!

::full review ADDED::

I am no fan of the eBook. For me there is nothing on this earth that can replace the feel of a book- I love the heavy weight of one in my hands. I love the slight rasp the bottom of a page makes as it turns. I love the smell of the ink and not having to worry that the words will flicker out of existence when the battery dies. But I know there are some pros to having an eBook reader, and I mean no disrespect to those who use them. They’re just not for me.

Naturally, I was not interested in reading Rapture at all after finding that I could not get a hard copy of it anywhere. But damn that pretty cover, damn it straight to hell! I resisted the lure of the handsome boy with the square jaw and red eyes for all of three days before I caved. I had to have him it. So, swallowing my pride, I went ahead and downloaded the Kindle app on my phone. As soon as the download was complete I immediately purchased Rapture and instantly forgot all my objections about the Kindle. The book was seriously that good.

Rapture immerses you in the world during the time known in Christianity as tribulation (the seven year time period of hell on earth before Jesus returns). All of the righteous have gone to Heaven while the nonbelievers and the damned have been left to their own devices on an earth that has been ravaged by hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The story follows a half-human/half-demon teenager named Sam across the U.S. as he fights to save the souls that have been left behind.

The main character is actually…likeable. Sam’s narrative and voice is riveting; he does not whine or moan or complain about the crappy hand he has been dealt in life. Instead he perseveres and overcomes his challenges and continues to do good even though he has no chance of entering Heaven. I did not feel as if I was being author tried to coerce me into thinking that Sam was strong and honest, loyal, reliable, and courageous- I was shown this through his actions. He was everything I love in a book boyfriend despite being digital. The rest of the characters are also agreeable, if a bit predictable.

The plot is something I worried over prior to reading the story. I have had the displeasure of reading several novels centered on the Christian rapture and have either been unimpressed or scared out of my mind. I was deeply afraid that Rapture would be among those of the former or be overly preachy. It was neither, and that’s all I have to say about it. But, and this may not even be a bad thing, I felt as if I could survive in Simpson’s post-apocalyptic U.S. I’m the proud survivor of 43 end of the world predictions. I know there are others walking this earth that can say they have survived more, but we’ve yet to survive the doomsday spoken of in the book of Revelations. Has anyone read that? Scary stuff. I felt like the tribulation in Rapture was far too…easy.

And if I was being picky, I would have only one other problem with the book: Sam. Yeah, I know. I couldn’t stop talking about how much I liked him in the beginning, and I do. I really really do! But I would’ve loved to see him give into his demon nature, just once. Whenever he experienced conflict that wasn’t a direct physical threat, Sam had a nasty habit of stomping off and pouting like a two year old. He also let people say and do things to him that could’ve easily been avoided if he put those pretty little horns to use. When I think “demon” I picture the purest, swiftest, angriest violence ever and Sam was NOTHING like that. Ever. He wouldn’t even let himself get angry. His anger, if anything, was one aspect of his personality that I thought would be magnified given that he was part human and demon. I’m not saying I needed Sam to drag the priest (okay, that was a character I hated because of what he did to kiddy Sam) from the church and beat him to within a bloody inch of his life on unconsecrated ground, but I would’ve liked to have seen him maybe punch his loser “friend” Chris square in the face a time or two or three or four or five. I would’ve been okay with that.

The climax of the story was something intriguing even if a bit cliché. I’m honestly not sure how I missed who the Anti-Christ was going to end up being! I was so wrapped up in the story itself that everything I should have seen coming I missed completely.

I don’t know how much more I can say without giving major plot points away so I’m going to go ahead and sum it up:

Plot: Different in a good way in that it’s not too preachy which makes it easier to appreciate by those that practice different religions. It is relatively uncommon in YA so it also counts as a breath of fresh air.

Characters: Round, dynamic, vibrant, and interesting. Something we all hope for and are in short supply in YA. There are a handful that I found had no place in the story- one girl, whose name escapes me, in particular was only there so Sam and modern day Judas Chris could .

Setting: Mid-west to western United States. I’m not sure of the layout of most of the cookie cutter states in the Mid-West but I think it was probably a little too easy for Sam and his band of buddies to cross over the Rockies and plains. I think it would’ve been perfect for them to struggle even more there. It was the tribulation after all.

Writing: Enthralling and everything you ever want it to be. I never had an issue trying to keep up with what was going on or getting bored and skimming pages. Perfect for readers 14 and up.

Overall I give Rapture a legit and well-deserved 5 star rating!

Please excuse any grammatical and/or punctuation errors you may have come across in this review.
Profile Image for Tracy.
454 reviews37 followers
January 9, 2013
I loved this book and I love it's subject matter. Many people shy away from these subjects, not sure unless it's because it is so controversial. I think Mr Simpson did a fabulous job bringing to life a scenario that could be a reality. Whether it was from his own beliefs or not I loved the story.
Profile Image for Rogier.
218 reviews91 followers
December 13, 2011
My thoughts

Cover: Love the flames and background. That’s how I imagined Samael. He looks fierce and concentrated. Don't mess with him ,lol.Is it just me but those red eyes are blazingly hawt.

Book: I saw a book ad on a blog I frequently visit. I immediately added it to my wishlist on goodreads [reshelved it and book 2 is currently on my wishlist] The author asked me to review’’ Rapture’’. My reply was yes, yes yea. Lol. When it finally arrived from New Zealand. I read in two days flat. Monday and was done the next day amidst my midterms. Not a smart thing I know. But I could not put it down

The rapture has happened, the tribulation has begun. And we meet Sam, short for Samael, our leading male and taken in , adopted at a early age. He is a half-demon ,18 years old, alabaster skin and living in the mids of a devoted catholic Japanese sensei and daughter,Aimi [Hikari’s daughter]

You immediately start to feel affection towards Sam and to care for him and taste his sorrow and loneliness at times. His family is gone, gone with the rapture and he is left behind to defend the innocence left behind. And those who need to protected are cautious of him.Honestly I would be to ,he is a half demon but still one for Pete’s sake

In Ya parental figures are almost not in the picture. But in the moments that Hikari is there is a model father figure. A REAL parent.

Love appearsin Rapture,between friends,parental love and little bits and pieces of romantic love between him and Aimi. But the latter is not the main plot in the book. I like that however maybe in book 2.

Every chapter begins with a bible verse.It looks somewhat religious but not preachy at the same time.The use of bible verses is new to me.It is told in 3th person perspective and told in time slots, before the rapture, after it and the present. And it’s not jarring at all or confusing. It all fits perfectly. I read it at free periods, while doing a doo doo on the toilet, yes even there basically everywhere I could. Not the bathroom, ha ha.

Not a single scene felt like a drag or filler. WOW, the fighting scenes felt fresh and not repetitive at all. The monsters are… you guessed it's demons. I’m no expert but I lke to add Phil did his research. The plot twist, the betrayal , I honestly did not think that person who’d be the betrayer . The bad guy was a Baddie, lol.

I encourage everyone to get this one and read it. He all you’re in luck a blogging comrade has got Phil for a interview and giveaway on her blog Realm of fiction

Eagerly awaiting book two called Tribulation of the trilogy and wishing Phil all the best with his family, baby son and his writing goals

Thanks Philip for this review copy and this is 100 % honest review
Profile Image for Marni.
319 reviews62 followers
January 19, 2013
I wasn't sure how I'd like this book. I go to church, understand my religions beliefs, question them daily (which I'm told by my pastor is a good thing), but normally I don't read anything Christian or religion based. The author, Phillip W. Simpson, asked for a Read 4 Review from the Goodreads group I am in, and since I already owned the book and had considered reading it numerous time prior, I thought this would be the perfect time to read it.

For those that don't know what Rapture is about, the Rapture is believed by many to be when those that believe in God will be taken from the earth to heaven, starting the second coming of the Lord. Those who do not believe will be left on earth to suffer through the seven years of Tribulation.

The story follows the life of a half-demon, Sam. The story itself goes back and forth in Sam's life, depending on what's happening at the time in the story. Raised by a believer, and a believer himself, he is left on earth during the Rapture due to his demon side. But he's known this for years and also knows that there is another reason for him being left behind. The antichrist is out there and needs to be dealt with. Through the story he finds acceptance he wouldn't have found prior to the Rapture but he also finds betrayal from those he thought he could depend on.

I enjoyed the scriptures before each chapter. It gave you an idea of what was to come and a little more insight of what was happening. They really pieced in quite well. Oh, and you may be thinking, religious story, blah, not for me, but it's not an in your face believe or else, this is a work of fiction, and should be taken completely as that. No bible thumping here. This is a story for those that have an interest in demons and self conflict. And the demons, there are an assortment of them. The Lemures, which seems to be your basic work horse of Satan, the author had them dead on. As I first started reading and they appeared, I had an idea of what they looked like and when the author described them it was almost exactly what I was imagining.

This story is full of action, self doubt, interaction, imagery, demonology, angelology, a touch of romance that fits perfectly, and is wrapped up in one very satisfying read. Rapture is the first book in the Rapture trilogy, with Tribulation being the next book than wrapping up in Apocalypse. You might be asking, why than only 4 stars? I felt there was too much put on the history of swords and that a betrayal can be realized by the reader long before it is acknowledged in the story and that Sam would have seen it coming to. Other than that, great story and I can't wait to read Tribulation and I recommend this book to everyone.
Profile Image for Sylvia .
427 reviews116 followers
March 11, 2012
Well thanks to the author I was given the ebook as a gift to read and write a review on and I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It was creepy, eery and a little scary, but at times there were some touching moments full of tender and purity. It felt like I was watching an episode of Supernatural, but without the constant wit and banter of Dean LOL and if you all know me you know how much I love that show and Dean LOL.

The story is centred around Sam, a half-demon, who was left in the care of Hikari and raised with his daughter Aimi. He grew up training with his Sensei in the fine arts of fighting, endurance, swords and meditation so that when the Rapture occurred, Sam would be well prepared for the mission at hand. You see, he's main purpose in life is to fight for the innocents that were left behind for seven years during a time called the Tribulations and kill the anti-christ after the Rapture takes place. Not a small feat for an 18 year old but it's the reason he was born. The story jumps back and forth to events that happened before the Rapture, focusing on Sam's life and his training for his mission, and back to the present, where he is in the middle of all the action slaying all kinds of demons and fighting for the good of humankind.

The moments it would jump back to his past were a little heartbreaking to read because you can see how much Sam loved his Sensei and especially how much he loved Aimi, and the thought of them being taken up to Heaven when the Rapture occurred was devastating to read. I really felt Sam's pain and anguish over this and the fact that he would never see them again well brought tears to my eyes. Such a burden to carry but one that was necessary. And they too never faltered in their faith in him. And that's the main theme of this story...FAITH and HOPE. Being a half-demon really did not instantly make him evil, in fact you would say he had more love and faith in God and humankind than human's did. And he was fighting for the HOPE that good will conquer evil even though he knew that he would spend eternity in HELL...such a SACRIFICE to make for those who hated him.

I have to say that I really do recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story about the themes I have previously mentioned and to take heed that the book is not overly religious to the point that it's in your face, but enough because it's important to the story being told. BRAVO Phillip Simpson who have a winner on your hands here.
Profile Image for Belkis.
779 reviews16 followers
September 17, 2012
This book was okay but not great. The writing was solid, just not captivating. The characters were fine just not relate-able. I never really warmed up to the Main character Sam. He came across as resentful of the great feat set upon his shoulders. I think that perhaps between his childhood flashbacks and his loneliness for mentor and father figure Hikari as well his Aimi, Hikari's daughter, Sam always felt young ad/or immature for such an undertaking as fighting to save humanity. Even the rest of the characters came across as flat. Especially due to the fact that the only interaction we get is from Sam's flashbacks. And the few people that Sam encounters along the way, Joshua, Grace, they're not really developed either. Satan's character and plans were a bit more interesting than Sam's musings most of the time.

The premise for this book is fantastic, that's why I bought this book in the first place. But upon diving into it I discovered that the author left no real surprises because most of the book's plot is divulged right in the synopsis. I wasn't expecting it to be just that, verbatim. There were no mysteries to be found since that was it, straight from the get go through it's entirety. Sam's journey to reach the destination where he will fight to save humanity.

The fight scenes are and action depicted were great. I think the author did a fantastic job delivering animated well thought out fight sequences and I was nicely engaged in the first few. But after a while they just became monotonous and repetitive. Now, maybe it could be partly cause I'm a girl and all, but for me at least, there needs to be more to a story in order to make a book interesting for me.

I think that Phillip Simpson has written an interesting story. I just feel like it wasn't delivered in the most interesting way. Character development I feel is number one in engaging a reader, and this book fell short on that in my opinion. Still, for those readers of YA, postapocalyptic, and paranormal genres would appreciate this book. Sadly for me it came in a little short.
Profile Image for Kit.
176 reviews42 followers
December 3, 2011
What if the Rapture occured and everyone you love was gone? What if instead of dealing with your loss and grief you had o prepare yourself for an epic battle that would alter the course of earth? This is pretty much the scenario that Sam faces after the Rapture. he has long known who and what he is, and what his role will be, but knowing it isn’t the same as being ready to actually take on the task of saving the world.

This is a pretty epic story that deals with a lot of hefty issues. To be honest I worried a bit about whether this book would super-religious, which frankly isn’t really my cup of tea. Despite the fact that this book dealt with religious issues and beliefs I still found a lot that was relatable and real and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I really liked Sam as a main character. I thought that Simpson did a great job at showing his inner conflict. He has a lot of pressure on him, and he is facing mostly alone. He has his memories of an adoptive family that loved him, but he also knows that they were grooming him to become the person he is, the half-demon destined to help save the humans left on earth post-Rapture.

One thing I really enjoyed was that the story jumped back and forth between the present and the past, allowing us to not only see the post-apocalyptic world that Sam finds himself in, but also the life he lived, how he grew up and the relationships he forged that still fuel him now. Without those relationships it would have been hard to believe that Sam would continue to fight after losing it all. Seeing the love that both Hikari and Aimi had for him, and how much they believed he could indeed change the world, made it easy to believe along with them.

Overall this is a really good book that has action and adventure, love and heartbreak, and above all hope.
274 reviews26 followers
August 4, 2012
4.5 stars! I really enjoyed this book! It's a very unique dystopian story about the end of the world and follows the journey of Sam, a half-demon.

The story-building and progression of the book was done extremely well. I especially enjoyed going back and forth to the past, then back to the present. I really felt for Sam and the weight of his responsibility in the world. Yet, he preserved through it all, remained strong, and kept his faith. It was really moving. He wasn’t perfect, he made mistakes, and the unfairness of his situation was prevalent in the story telling. But none of that faltered his resolve and faith to do good for others. Life sometimes isn’t fair, but does that mean we can make bad choices just because we had bad things happen to us or have our birth situation define us? There were a lot of undertones in the book about character, faith, helping others, and doing the right thing. The description of the Rapture and the following Tribulation were intriguing to me. Although there was an underlying theme of belief and religion in the book, it was subtle.

The reason I did not give this a five star rating was due to the character development. I didn’t feel like I really got to know any of the other characters very well, other than Sam. I would’ve liked to understand them more, get to know them better, and really understand why they made the decisions they did.

There were a few twists and turns in the story-line that I didn’t see coming. I really like it when I’m surprised by a turn of events. There were a few others that I saw coming pretty early on.

I would definitely recommend this book! I can’t wait for the sequel to come out and see where the journey takes us next.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,030 reviews260 followers
February 4, 2012
Fascinating and riveting! Author Phillip W. Simpson takes the post-apocalyptic vision out for a new test drive: rather than a plague, a nuclear holocaust, or an overrun of zombies, here is the Christian rapture foretold for two millennia, actually occurring. The fortunate ones have ascended, for what’s left of the planet is now fit neither for human nor animal-only for demons. Half-demon is exactly why eighteen-year-old Samael is still alive, nearly starving, frightened, and self-defensive. Monsters rule the night, and the daytime is dangerous from falling volcanic ash, earthquakes, and fires-and intensifying heat.

Picture a world torn apart, dangers at every turn, at home as well as while traveling-imagine a young adult left behind, missing his teacher who had both raised and mentored him, all alone-unable to ascend in the Rapture because of his parentage, a fact over which he himself had had no control, yet he is punished because of it by being confined to this newly desolate planet. Imagine yourself in this situation: and you will find all the empathy possible for this young man in his increasingly dire position.

“Rapture” is a very well-written novel, one you can’t set aside till the end. I’m determined to find and read more by this author, who has greatly impressed me. My suggestion to readers who value post-apocalyptic horror and thrillers, who read YA Paranormal, and those who just seek a very good read, is to run to your nearest bookselling outlet and get “Rapture” and enjoy!
November 8, 2015
An excellent Handling Of A much done Subject

Too many stories set around and during time of "The Apocalypse" fall into the easy trap of stereotypical plots, religious sectarianism, one dimensional characters. This doesn't.
To say more would spoil your enjoyment of the story. Suffice to say I recommend this book.
1 review
July 24, 2017
The story was really intriguing, it was cool how it included parts from other cultures. I liked how the girls were strong. The ending was very surprising!

By Astrid aged 12.
Profile Image for Jagged.
729 reviews31 followers
January 15, 2014
Oh, nostalgic because of the language in here. I don't know many American's who could tell you what a lounge was. Haha...I'm sure they're out there though. (Before I offend anyone.)

There was a very active beginning. Made it easy to turn pages, initially.

The concept is awesome. I was really happy with the majority of the plot. However, there were a lot of things that I didn't like.

The narrative ruined it for me. I think this would have been better from Sam's perspective instead of being told to you. I think he was the type of character that you needed more intimacy from. It would have made things more interesting for me, I would have liked to have gotten to know Sam better--been inside his head. Felt his emotions. He was something new. And he was really bland. I didn't connect with him--I felt left outside of the read. I definitely knew I was reading a book. That's unfortunate because this really could have been something.

I had a big problem with Aimi. Serious beef. First, she doesn't act her age--3 year old Aimi acts like a 12 year old. I understand being a bit advanced--but not that advanced. You don't get to know miss Aimi. She's a major fixation for Sam, but she's empty.

The romance was just awkward. They felt like siblings to me and Simpson did not try very hard to convince me otherwise. Apparently, his master not showing disapproval or making him feel like it was inappropriate was supposed to suffice. There was also no chemistry.

I was also confused about how Sam came to be raised by the Japanese man...His mother just took him and left him there. The Japanese man knew what Sam was, and being a devout follower of God, he still raised him? I'm sorry, but that's not good enough for me--especially as there was no explanation. She just dumped him and left.

catipulating because he knew he couldn't compete with his stregnth.

The amount of times you are reminded how strong Sam is and how no normal man could match him is disturbing. It made me wonder if Simpson couldn't think of anything else to write about him. There was no need repeat this information every other paragraph--I got the picture the first time.

The structure of the flash backs was odd. I'm not sure why Simpson waited so long to give you evidence of Sam saving Jake's life. But the flash backs made me wonder why it was drilled into your head how solitary Sam was when every interaction he had with anyone was so significant. It kind of killed the loner feeling he had going for him. It seemed to me that everyone knew who and what he was, so there was no need to keep him out of the public eye.

Not buying that Joshua was left behind for not having enough Faith. He knew what Sam was and what his purpose was. He saw Sam with his own eyes...how could he possibly not believe then? Didn't make any sense. And then what happens with him later doesn't add up, either. Not to mention it was incredibly obvious.

I liked the idea behind the churches. That was interesting and actually made sense in a way. But I was confused by how the churches were consecrated to begin with. Demons couldn't enter holy ground...you were given proof of this. Even a certain fatherly figure couldn't enter before Tribulation, so how did this come about?

There were a lot of key factors missing from the story, and it added up to being a major lack of revision and the seams of the story fell apart.

Too much time spent in the past rather than the tribulations. The connections to the characters and their interactions were lacking substance, they don't really add up to what you're being told.

The interaction with the Antichrist was awful. He was cheesy and lame. Really just stuck out like a sore thumb. I did like his identity, even liked the shock factor there since you never had a clue, but otherwise it wasn't very polished.

The set up for a sequel wasn't very awesome either. I sure wouldn't consider this a five star read. It needs a lot of work. But it is still interesting. A rather unique read considering all things I have read in this genre, that's a good thing. Potential. I'll probably check out the next book.

Profile Image for Angela Oliver.
Author 17 books45 followers
March 27, 2013
I'm a bit ambivalent about this book, and would probably have rated it at 2 1/2 stars if I could have. The author has some good ideas, and creates a story that could be compelling - and I imagine would find itself quite popular with teenage boys that are not particularly interested in reading - but the writing style feels stilted and a little robotic (it is very much along the lines of tell, not show) and the cliches are a little bit too much. Overall it is a far better US dystopia novel (written by a NZ author) than fellow Pear Jam author Anaru Bickford's "Aroha" but both felt along similar lines. In fact, the two of them could probably work out a cross-over novel where Aroha meets Sam. However, in this one the plot flows better and it builds to a more dramatic conclusion, as well as the romantic relationship (such as it is) being more realistic and convincing. I believe Simpson shows a lot of promise, and am curious to read the follow ups to this book.

Initially I was a bit confused in the geography, because if Jacobs Ladder is near Arches National Park, then it is in the south east corner, and to the best of my knowledge the Rockies ran north-east of there, and thus could not be between him and LA, but some mention was made of Boulder as well. Then I googled Black Ridge (which is part of a mountain range, and therefore probably an extension of the Rockies) and I know where the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas are, so I could track his route and it did somewhat make sense. I've recently been there (to Arches, in fact) so I find it interesting to read about places I know - even if they have been irrefuteably changed. There is a place called Jacobs Ladder up near Salt Lake City, but it seems to be a mountain bike track.

Anyhow, once I came to terms with the geography, I settled in the story. Samael (Sam) is an interesting character because he is half demon, but is pretty much human in his emotions and personality. Alas, because of his demon nature he also comes across as "too perfect" - in that he is strong, almost invincible, really really fast and good looking too. I do like the fact that he tends to run from emotional conflict too (although not from real conflict). Aimi seemed like an interesting character, but her relationship with Sam, whilst convincing, also felt kind of wooden. Due to the tell not show nature of the story telling, it was hard for the reader to feel their feelings for one another. His mission was pretty standard and very cliched. In fact, the whole "hell on earth" thing was such a predictable cliche. Smoke, rain of fire, earthquakes. The demons. Hell itself. It was all one walking cliche with no real surprises and no real tension. At first Grace - espcially the way she went all simpering and pathetic at the Watcher, annoyed me, but at least she ended up pretty kick-arse. I'd have liked to see more of her. the succubi were lame.

I'd have to say that the kinda-not-really twist at the end was entirely predictable, although I was somewhat startled when a certain other character that I had considered safely out of things turned up as part of the climax. So that was something. However, due to the writing style, I was a bit hoo-hum about everything and did not feel much empathy for the characters, although I did like Sam.

It was an okay read, and I would pick up the sequels, but only because I believe the writing style would improve. If this were a manuscript I was assessing, I would encourage the writer to flesh out his characters a little more, to show emotions instead of telling them and to work more tension into his fight scenes.

Also, as in "Aroha" I also found one mis-use of "you're" instead of "your". I am wondering if this is a Pear Jam thing, and am currently reading a third Pear Jam novel (written by the creator of Pear Jam herself) and will be keeping an eye out for another grammatical error "Easter egg". So, stay tuned for that review.
Profile Image for Cheer Papworth.
336 reviews37 followers
August 4, 2013
Rapture is the story of a half-demon/half-human teen named Sam who is raised and trained in fighting, particularly with swords, by his foster father Hikari, in preparation for his role to kill the anti-Christ after the rapture. The author, Phillip Simpson, thoughtfully mixes Sam's current lonely state after the rapture with poignant flashbacks of his life with his foster father Hikari and Hikari's daughter Aimi. In Sam's post-rapture world, he was shunned by society and only found acceptance and love from Aimi and Hikari. Having lost them due to the rapture, Sam is once again thrust into a world of solidarity and horror as demon attacks are a nightly occurrence.

Sam leaves on an odyssey of sort to reach Los Angeles and kill the anti-Christ. Although the fight scenes are spectacular, I would have liked a few more adventures along the journey. Yes, Sam does gather some comrades and travel buddies along the way, but besides the Vegas scene (which I think could have been extended for more encounters) and the visit to Hell, I would have liked a few more quests and a little less redundant demons fights.

I felt Simpson excelled at developing a complex character is Sam that pulls at the reader's heart strings. His struggle of hopelessness for himself was spot on...how would you feel if everyone you loved was taken during the rapture to Heaven, a place where you could never dwell due to your half-demon status? He is willing to take up the fight for humanity, despite the way he has been treated, and he feels a connection to Jesus Christ and is a believer. I must admit, as a Christian, the scenes with the smiling Jesus statue almost put me over the edge. His weakness for acceptance almost catches him a time or two, being tempted by Succumbi and being enticed by Satan.

I did feel a connection to Hikari and Aimi as well, but I felt very little for Grace or Joshua (I guessed his role long before the ending I'm afraid). Due to Sam's loneliness, I really wanted him to develop real emotions for his friends and take on a role other than that of protector. When I take all of this into consideration, I'm pleased to say I really liked this book and normally I would stay clear of a book with demons, angels or any sort of religious fiction for that matter. It will be interesting to read what the future holds for Sam in Tribulation.

Profile Image for Sheila.
Author 71 books180 followers
May 30, 2014
Of all the end-of-the-world novels I’ve read recently, this one is clearly the best. The author’s not trying to convince me of any particular scriptural interpretation. He’s not trying to convert me and change my life. And he’s not just jumping on a popular bandwagon either. Instead he offers a well-plotted, intriguingly different tale, with a fascinating teen protagonist, left behind in a desperate world.

If timing is everything, this author has more than everything, setting up the present and revealing the past with nicely intersecting storylines. Yes, the Rapture has happened. But this is no tale of everyone vanishing and clothes left in heaps, nor yet of those who thought they had it made rallying to a new cause. This novel creates a mythology all its own, with a demon child born to fight on the side on mankind while denied the chance of heaven. In one beautifully memorable scene, set on the forbidden and agonizing ground of a church, young demon Sam learns he is loved. And that, despite all condemnation heaped on him by others and himself, is enough to bring him through.

Guarded and guided by a wise warrior as he grew, cared for and loved by the girl the world calls his sister, Sam grows up into a scary destiny, told through intriguing details that weave into the tale. Moving seamlessly between past and present, with clear dates and directions, the story takes readers from Utah to Vegas, from cathedral to hell, and from fear and loss to hope. It’s a beautifully complete story in itself, one that’s truly hard to put down, filled with great detail and powerful imagination. And it’s a great start to a longer story told in the next two books. I’m eager to read them!

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the author and I offer my honest review.
Profile Image for Cindy.
300 reviews19 followers
May 18, 2012
Rapture is a demon-filled road-trip through Hell.

After the apocalypse, Sam is on his own to try to assist what is left of humanity with the demon problem on their hands. Luckily, Sam has been training his entire life for just this - he's an expert swordsman and fighter. Additionally, his demonic side has given him a couple of extra "gifts" that assist with his journey. Along the way, Sam meets a few people that he's able to befriend, meanwhile stumbling across confusing spectacles in the middle of the desert.

Rapture really has a bit of everything - action, suspense, mystery, and mythology. The fights are intense and the demonic lore is interesting. The novel is written with flashbacks of how Sam was raised by Hikari with Aimi and trained to become a warrior. These were interesting, amusing, and gave great insight into Sam's background.

The one and only thing that bothered me at all? Children do not speak, think or act the way they are depicted here! A little more time spent with kids may have been needed for those brief sections. (And I might add that they are brief and really not that bothersome!)

Rapture is a very engaging and entertaining read. Anyone with an interest in action, paranormal beings, or post-apocalyptic settings are sure to enjoy this!
Profile Image for Kat.
477 reviews166 followers
November 27, 2011
Full review on my blog: http://theaussiezombie.blogspot.com

Rapture throws you right into the post-apocalyptic wasteland, complete with demons and an instantly likable character in Sam. The demons are everything your worst nightmares are made of and more, the imagery of the wastelands are moving, and Sam is a young man with strong loyalties to his family and the responsibility to save every survivor he meets.

The history of Sam is told through a series of flashbacks to his childhood and teenage years, gradually revealing how he came to be the man he is today, interspersed with the current day, which works extremely well to build a sense of history whilst still giving you the action and suspense to keep you immersed in the story.

Rapture is a beautifully told story in an ugly setting. The writing is descriptive but straight-forward, the settings are familiar yet new and the characters are engaging, evil or otherwise. I am so happy that I gave this book a chance – Mr. Simpson is an incredibly talented writer and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series, which has serious potential to be the next big thing in YA reading.

I received a copy of this book from the author but this has not influenced my review in any way.
Profile Image for Colleen Fauchelle.
494 reviews60 followers
February 22, 2014
This book surprised me because I really enjoyed it. It's action packed, the main character is very likeable. The world building is realistic and we get to feel the heat of hell.

I am so glad I am a Christian after the rapture life on earth will be a scary place. This book shows a world that is dark, covered in ash and where the demons come out to play at night to destroy those who are left. Sam has been in training for this moment his whole life, his job is to take down the antichrist. Sam believes in God however because he is half human half devil he was not taken. His mission is to help those who are left behind and He is well trained to wield swords to turn the demons to dust.

In this story you find out about Sam's life before the rapture how he trained, how he had to hide his real self because he has horns and black eyes. His human side comes out more than his evil side and this makes him a very caring person. His anger flares up quickly but he fights hard to control it. He finds it hard to trust but once people find out he is on their side they soon look past his looks.

This book is food for thought.

John 3:16
22 reviews5 followers
August 31, 2012
I wanted to like this book. The story stems from a great idea! The execution, however, was simply unbearable. Clumsy sentence construction abounds, as do the contradictions. I kept stumbling across phrases where I was kicked from the story to question, "Did the author really think about how this was going to sound?" Then there are the bits where it's evident the author does not know the meaning of the words used. The pacing itself reads more like a grocery list than a tale designed to draw the reader in, despite the glimpses into the past. The characters... I cannot even say they are two dimensional. Each character has pretty much one defining characteristic. What this book did do for me is make me aware of a sub-genre to keep an eye on in the future.
Profile Image for Emma Groth.
13 reviews
August 13, 2013
I really enjoyed this book, it was an easy fun read. After reading the blurb I wasn't too sure it would be for me seeing as I'm not overly religious, but it was not preachy at all and was actually quite informative. The main protagonist Sam who is half demon half human was so likable, however naive at times! I have read MANY end of the world books but this was the only one where it was truly Hell on Earth!
I liked the way the story jumped between past and present, only giving away relevant info in little bits which keeps you coming back for me!
So, the book wasn't entirely perfect, but then again who is?! It's the first book of Phillip Simpsons books I've read, but it sure wont be the last, thanks a lot Phillip for allowing me to read and review!
Profile Image for Angie Garcia.
82 reviews1 follower
November 10, 2015
Book three

I'm not a critic, just someone who likes to read. Loved the first two and just started book three. I enjoy apocalyptic stories and when they include heaven above and all wise below, I'm in!!

I wish the authors did not have to make all their books into "series". It ruins it because they have to repeat everything from the first book and all we the readers want is to get on with the story.

That said, this story would make a fantastic television series or even a long mini series. I would sure watch it. I've even say here creating the cast!!

Thank you Philip. I look forward to reading more of your publications.
Profile Image for Melinda Szymanik.
Author 17 books42 followers
November 13, 2011
This post-apocalyptic good versus evil YA is an action-packed read. The world post-Rapture is a desolate and desperate place in which the sword wielding half demon/half human Sam must fight for survival as he journeys across the US to complete a special mission in Los Angeles. Sam suffers from the normal teenage concerns over love and doing what is right but must also contend with his demon heritage. The plot has plenty of twists and fight scenes to keep the reader riveted. And this is just the beginning...

Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,039 reviews154 followers
August 6, 2012
I read this book as part of a group read and the subject matter was a bit religious for me. But on a good note, there was plenty of action and I really felt for Sam! Not knowing anything about the "rapture", I was interested to learn more about it. This book did not disappoint there! I would definately like to read the 2nd book to see what happens next, especially to see if we find out more about the other characters.
Profile Image for Ctgt.
1,382 reviews82 followers
July 22, 2012
I was pleased with the character development and the pacing of this book. It's a interesting take on the PA genre with the biblical background. There are a few threads left hanging at the end, but I'm not sure I will continue on with the series. I would have more pleased if this had been a little longer and wrapped up the threads to create a stand alone story.
Profile Image for Kerry.
Author 7 books50 followers
August 14, 2012
Thoroughly enjoyed this story! Very different kind of tribulation story. This is definitely not one from the "left behind" series! I liked the idea of a half-demon fighting Satan and the Antichrist. Very intriguing way to play with Christian themes from a YA fantasy perspective. I would recommend this story for anyone wanting a fun, action-driven story using Christian elements.
Profile Image for Swiftsea.
186 reviews
Want to read
October 21, 2011
Woops. It's already the 21st October 2011. I just found this book. Aish... -looks around- I don't see any Rapture occurring.
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