Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free for this book, there will be major spoilers for the three previous books in the Fallen Angel series. If you’ve not read them yet, you may want to start with the first book Covet.
Minor warning before I start, the back of this book doesn’t expressly say who the soul in question for this round is, so if you don’t want to know before reading, look away now!
The Maker has decided it is time for a decision to be made. The fate of seven souls will determine if all of Earth and Heaven will fall into the clutches of Hell or paradise on earth shall reign. One man has been agreed upon by both sides to help these souls on their path. With the score at 2 to 1 it’s still all to play for in the ultimate battle of Good vs. Evil.
At the end of Envy it is explained that the Maker has decided to punish Devina for her interference by giving Jim another chance at the soul he lost in Crave. Her previous victory will still stand but Matthias’ soul will once again be in play.
It’s not always easy to turn the villain into a hero, but Rapture is a great example of when it works. With his slate literally wiped clean, it was fascinating to see which path Matthias would chose after his time in Hell. Considering how his last round went I had no idea which way it would go and was still guessing right up until the end. Although physically damaged, this doesn’t stop him from being a formidable fighter but it’s his emotional scars that truly define him.
The stakes felt higher than any of the previous rounds in Rapture and the toll of the battle is starting to show. Jim and Matthias’ history in XOps and then the backstory provided by Crave gave a real depth to the plot. I loved what the mixture of fantasy and conspiracy/espionage added to the action, especially when you add in Mels’ role as a reporter.
The romance between Matthias and Mels was everything I’ve come to expect from J.R. Ward: hot, tense and, at times, heartbreaking. Mels is a great female lead, strong, intelligent and tenacious. She isn’t just there to aid in Matthias’ story though, with him being as important to her salvation as she is to his. These two have plenty of their own issues to work through but the connection and chemistry between them is undeniable.
In Rapture, cracks begin to show in Jim’s resolve to do the right thing as Devina steps up her torment of him. He is plagued by self-doubt, anger and his obsession over Sissy, showing perhaps some of the reasons why he was chosen by both sides to begin with. While I didn’t always agree with some of his choices, it made for explosive reading and I can’t wait to see the fallout in the next book.
The Archangels don’t feature as heavily in this installment, but one earth-bound Angel in particular shines in Rapture. Devastated by the loss of Eddie, Adrian’s pain is palpable, but through this he learns what it truly means to be an angel and damn near broke my heart in the process.
A story of regrets and the possibilities of redemption, Rapture is my favorite of the series so far. Though the overall battle may be Good vs. Evil, the character journeys in this book show the human shades of grey. With an ending that is sure to shake everything up, I can’t wait for the next installment.
Sexual content: Sex and references to child molestation and rape.