A Novel of the Fallen Angels
J. R. Ward
Published 2012 502 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Mels Carmichael, reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal, gets the shock of her life when a man stumbles in front of her car outside the local cemetery. After the accident, his amnesia is just the kind of mystery she likes to solve, but she soon discovers they're over their heads with his past. Over their heads with passion, too…
As shadows walk the line between reality and another realm, and her lover's memory begins to come back, the two of them learn that nothing is truly dead and buried. Especially when you're trapped in a no-holds-barred war between angels and demons. With a soul on the line, and Mels' heart at risk, what in heaven – or in hell – will it take to save them both?
Rapture is the fourth novel in J.R. Ward’s Fallen Angels paranormal romance series. Once again the battle for Heaven or Hell on Earth is fought out in a competition between the emissaries of Heaven and Devina an evil demon, who is determined that Hell should win at any cost. Why the Maker (a.k.a God) would think that a nice little game to decide something so important was a good idea is baffling to me… but many of the ideas behind this series are increasingly lost on me – so that’s just one small gripe in the grand scheme of things.
Initially Rapture made a strong start. Previous criticisms against this series have included the non-paranormal nature of these paranormal romances. Let me explain. The romantic leads of the story are always mortals, who meet and fall into an all-consuming passion, while demons and angels do battle around them. If the human romantic leads actually manage to notice that something odd is going on around them they never really clue into the paranormal side of things – making it seem like non-paranormal, paranormal romance. Personally I like my romance more “para” and less “normal” – if you get my drift. Rapture seemed to be more dynamic from the outset with its male romance lead character, Matthias, waking up alive after he died (evil) and went to Hell in Crave, the second book in this series.
The gist if the story is that Devina broke the rules in game two, so while she gets to keep her “win” for the purpose of scorekeeping she actually loses her prize, Matthias’ soul. Matthias is returned to the mortal plain and promptly gets hit a car, inducing amnesia and introducing him to the car’s driver local reporter Mels Carmichael. Mels helps Matthias investigate his missing past and along the way they fall head-over-heels in love. In about two days. And for reasons that are, once again, lost on me. Although I would guess that it just has to be that way because in this series it appears that the only way a soul can be saved is through finding true love.
Jim, Adrian and Devina all go through the usual motions of their game and there is just nothing new here. Devina is evil but OCD (so I kind of like her.) Jim is neither good nor evil but has a vital role to play in the middle of it all. He’s still determined to save the innocent soul of Sissy, a virgin that Devina sacrificed back in book one and has been torturing in Hell ever since. Sissy has turned into a Mary Sue but I can’t work out whether she is supposed to be the author’s wish-fulfilment character or the reader’s. Either way Sissy does nothing for me. Adrian is still showing his trauma at losing fellow angel Eddie in manly ways – namely acting like a manwhore – not a phrase you’d usually associate with an angel.
After an initial burst of enthusiasm for Rapture I ended up feeling that once you’ve read one Fallen Angels book you’ve read them all and Rapture is no different to the previous series instalments. If you love J.R. Ward’s romance writing and have enjoyed the previous books in this series feel free to ignore my griping – I’ve no doubt that you will love this book too. After all there is nothing different here to set it apart from the rest. However, if like me you are at the stage where you wonder why you still get excited about reading a new J.R Ward book when they never seem to live up to earlier promise then I think you won’t be wowed by this book either.
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