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Book Review: Left Behind by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye (3/5)

19 May

Another ebook done! I’m getting better at reading in this format, but I still don’t like it. Anyway. I asked a friend a long time ago about book series and he said the only book series he’d ever read was the Left Behind Series. So naturally, I added it to my reading list and was lucky enough to find an e-copy at my library. And it only took me three months to read it.

Cover image via

Cover image via

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Summary from Goodreads:

An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.

This book fell flat for me early on and then tried to redeem itself and almost succeeded. Almost. My problem was with Rayford as a character. I didn’t buy him. He seemed like a man whose actions were very thought out before the apocalypse. He flirted with Hattie, but never too much. He had a steady job and approached religion with a skeptical eye. Then in a heartbeat, he converts to Christianity. Believable given the events that have just happened. But then he throws himself into it 100%, converting everyone he knows and joining a task force to oppose the Antichrist. It seemed out of character. Or maybe too unlike myself. I related to Buck and Chloe’s struggles to accept what was around them and was happy when they decided to become devout Christians. But Ray, as the main character, bothered me. I couldn’t see myself in him and it ultimately ruined the novel for me.

Besides Rayford, I thought all of the characters were very credible. Buck was my favorite. It showed that such a traumatic event can turn even the biggest skeptic into a Godly man. And I thought his character arc was very natural. I won’t spoil it too much, but the last few pages with him had me on the edge of my seat! He had the most exciting plotline in this book and I wish he had been more prominent than Rayford.

Chloe was my favorite character (though probably a close tie with Buck) because she was the most like me. She was the only favorable female character (I started disliking Hattie early on) and she seemed very real. I hope she’ll feature more prominently in future novels though I’m unsure if I’ll continue reading this series.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins Image via the Left Behind Kids Blog

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins Image via the Left Behind Kids Blog

I loved the ending of this book. It was well paced and exciting! I only wish it had come sooner in the book so there could have been some action following it. I don’t like feeling like I’m left dangling with a book and this one did that to me. This is probably why I don’t read a lot of series. Regardless, I liked the action and the direction the characters took because I did not see it coming.

The aftermath of the rapture was something else I really enjoyed. I felt the writers thought out the realities of what would happen and small details such as the parking garage and car accidents were interesting

As I’ve said, Rayford’s quick conversion was hard for me to believe and made me dislike the book. I won’t get into it again but having this major event at the beginning of the book set a bad tone for me that lasted the rest of the novel. Even with redeeming events and character conversions later, I had a foul taste in my mouth.

Obviously this book is meant to educate the reader what the Bible says about the apocalypse and what will happen after. It’s obvious that the writers are very well-educated and I think they did a good job of communicating this point in a fictional book. This is a very handy educational tool for those who need to learn about Christian teachings. I think the message to not wait and to give yourself to Christ in earnest is a good one and well communicated here.

Writer’s Takeaway: Not all books with a message are dull. This book has an obvious message and agenda but was able to communicate them and show them in a very entertaining way and without overburdening the reader with quotes and facts. I always try to write with a message in mind, but I’m afraid I come off heavy-handed. I’m not sure you can avoid it and deliver your message and this book assured me that a message in fiction doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Overall, well written and enjoyable but with a protagonist I didn’t relate to which ruined it for me. Three out of Five stars.

Note: Upon further research, I found that these books promote the idea that Catholics cannot go to Heaven. As a Catholic, I find this offensive and will not continue reading this series. This is (obviously) a core belief of my faith and I do not want to immerse myself in something that opposes it.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Book Review: Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins | Mugglenet
Book Review: Left Behind by Tim F. LaHaye | Read Watch and Think

Jerry Jenkins’ Website