[Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway] Rapture (Rapture #1) by Phillip W. Simpson0
In Phillip Simpson's novel, Rapture, you find yourself tagging along on a journey of epic proportions as the main character Sam struggles to save those who were left behind after the Rapture. But who is going to want to be saved by a boy who is half-demon anyway?
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.
There is one simple fact about this cover: it is eye-candy. The second thing I wanted to say was this: I am happy that I got the opportunity to read it.
Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson is the story of Sam, a boy he always knew he was different and was aware that he would never be accepted because of it. Choices made long before he was born led to the terrible truth about his existence: he was not simply a human boy but rather a half-demon, conceived to bring about the apocalypse. What Satan had not considered was that the humanity in him would be stronger than any demonic urges that would be thrown at him. It was not planned for him to be raised up as a sort of savior to the people left behind after the Rapture. Yet here he was, doing exactly that. Now, a new Antichrist has risen up in the midst of all this horror and Sam's destiny seemed to be entwined with this unknown figure. His charge from heaven is to save the innocent and to finish off the Antichrist. Even I can say that it is a lot of pressure to be putting on some teenage kid. But he is no ordinary teenager and by the time the book is over, it's pretty clear.
The plot is actually very beautiful. Is that weird? I found the subject intriguing because the way it entangled both religion and a dystopian world was something that I had not considered. I've found that it is easier to separate the two completely from each other than to combine them. It's hard to make an appealing story when the book is basically saying, 'Those who are left behind are screwed because they sinned in life,' but there is a certain amount of humanity to the story. Of course, if Sam hadn't been there to act as some sort of savior to those left behind and protect them from going to Hell, I would've had a hard time with the story. It showed that even in the darkest of hours there is hope. No one is perfect so why condemn them straight away?
Sam, the main character, showed from the beginning that he was a strong character both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I suppose you would have to be in order to survive the things that he had to endure as the protector for this fallen world. In a matter of moments, he lost everyone that he had ever held dear to him and was left behind in a world that was ruled by demons. He could have easily lost hope in his destiny and lost touch with who he truly was but he held true to himself. It would have been hard to suddenly find himself surrounded by the people who once judged him -- who once hated him because he was so different. Why should he play savior for people who had always hated him or were most likely going to by the time everything was over? He knew that they would never be grateful for his efforts, because who would ever admit to feeling gratitude toward some half-demon creature? Even if he looked human, he knew he wasn't and so did they. I have a lot of respect for him in the sense that he protects everyone, even his enemies. I doubt I would have been willing to do what he must to fulfill his destiny. He earned a lot of props for giving away food to people who would never care for him.
Even if he was half-demon, I think he is more human, more caring, more sacrificing than anyone else in this world. He is prepared to give up it all for the sake of a cause that made him an outcast.
I was curious about Hikari when he was first introduced to the story. I'll admit that I'm not used to having the term 'master' be used in the oriental context, which threw me off for a bit. I am taking history as one of my courses this semester so that's probably why. But for someone who I could've easily hated, there was something that just begged to be loved about him. He saw Sam as his son despite the fact that he was not and he accepted Sam for who he was because he knew that somewhere instead this boy, there was a strong will growing. It was hard to see how much certain things that happened to Sam affected him. I could literally feel the strong bond between the two of them and I crave to have that with my own father. It's funny how that works out. There is almost an undeniable ache left behind once he is gone, which is hard to read. Aimi is the daughter of Hikari and a couple years younger than Sam. She is mature for her age, something I can understand since she probably had to grow up faster than anyone else ever has. For knowing Sam's true nature, she never seemed to doubt that he was a good person and she rushed to his aid when he needed someone to be on his side. I liked that. She is Sam's best friend, she has seen him at his worst, and knows that he will do his best to fulfill his destiny.
Overall, I really liked the way the story flowed and how the characters developed over the course of the book. I liked the way that it shifted from present to past, giving me insight into the characters who were no longer around since the Rapture.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- I know a lot of authors hate the question about what inspired them to write a story but I’m always curious. So here’s my question: what led to your interest in writing the story?
- Are there any messages in the story that you want the readers to grasp by the time they finish the book?
- Now, I am going to ask a question that typically isn’t a favorable question. I’m going to ask you to pick favorites. Who is your favorite character to write and why? Which character do you relate the most to?
- The process of creating characters seems to be very complex and different for each writer. Did you base any of your characters off of people you know in real life? Did you have them go through similar experiences that people you know or you have gone through?
- What was your favorite scene to write? I’ve always liked that authors seem to never favor the same type of scenes. Some are all for the action and suspense scenes while others prefer the complex, deep, and emotional scenes. Which type of scenes do you prefer to write?
- Most authors place a lot of value on pre-writing rituals to help them prepare for writing different scenes and getting into a character’s mind. Do you have any?
- What books have influenced your life the most? Or rather what characters have made the biggest impact on you?
- Because I’m a huge fan of reading and love different authors because of their different writing styles, I’m curious about whether you have that same experience. I like certain ways that authors word things and it seems to influence the way I write. Do you have any authors that you would consider influential on your writing?
- Are there any new books that have come out or are coming out that have caught your attention?
- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?