Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Soul Harvest

Soul Harvest: Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye, November 6—17, 2011

My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

As Left Behind returns for its fourth outing in Soul Harvest, we find ourselves picking up from the Wrath of the Lamb, the worldwide earthquake that wipes out a large proportion of the earth’s population. There is a distinct change in focus and direction in the early part of the novel. Attention alternates between two unfolding stories: Buck’s search for Chloe in the USA and Rayford’s search for Amanda in the Middle East.

The change works well. It allows us to get to know both characters better as individuals and not just part of the Tribulation Force. In particular, Buck’s story drags on a bit before anything actually happens although to be fair, if we’d have skipped the detail of the aftermath, we would have felt cheated. (Speaking of the post-earthquake era, ten points for the tongue-in-cheek naming of the Global Community’s communications network, Cell-Sol.)

As the novel progresses, more layers of intrigue are added and it continues to improve. The other cast, such as Ken Ritz, Tsion and Mac, are also fleshed out more than they have been and for the first time in the series we care about the individual characters, their lives and what happens to them. They become more distinct, they speak and reason differently.

Rayford’s ongoing tenure at the Global Community is becoming a little unrealistic. It’s hard to imagine why Carpathia keeps him on, even with his supposed upper hand in knowing someone who knows something about where Ben-Judah and Durham may nor may not be. However, putting that aside, it’s well written and very entertaining. For me, Fortunato becomes one of the stars of this instalment as the slippery sycophantic right hand man of Carpathia. The scene in which he and Rayford clash over titles (reprised with the Pope who isn’t the Pope later on) is hilarious and easily the funniest sequence of the series so far. The politics, hand-changing and deal-making element is a brilliant aspect which I’ll be sorry to lose when the time inevitably comes.

The ending is strange. All of the storyline threads begin to reach their respective climaxes around the time of the first trumpet – hail, fire and blood – which would have been a dramatic and sensible end point. Instead, we fast forward several weeks. We have no aftermath and, indeed, the whole trumpet is dealt with in mere pages. It also fast forwards from the other storyline climaxes and undermines them a little. The purpose? To include a tiny piece of dialogue which sets up part five. If it were me, I would have ended the novel immediately before the fast forward, set up the next instalment with some clever narration and started Book 5 a few weeks later for a cleaner, more fluid transition.

Overall, while possibly not the strongest book to date on plot, it surpasses its three predecessors on character drama and, although it doesn’t have the same cliffhanger as Nicolae that leaves you desperate for the next one, the character empathy and slow burning plots (not least Molegate) leave the series in a strong position for Book 5 to build on.


One comment on “Soul Harvest

  1. Pingback: Apollyon « Simon Taylor: Reflections and Reactions

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2011 by in 4 star, Left Behind and tagged , .

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@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare