Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Heavens Rise

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice
Gallery Books, 10/15/13 
Hardcover, 336 pages 
ISBN-13: 9781476716084

New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice brilliantly conjures the shadowed terrors of the Louisiana bayou—where three friends confront a deadly, ancient evil rising to the surface—in this intense and atmospheric new supernatural thriller.

It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge.
My Thoughts:

In The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice three teenagers have their lives completely changed by a violent action involving a fourth which sets into motion a supernatural chain of events. Nikki (Niquette Delongpre), her best friend, Ben Broyard, and her boyfriend, Anthem Landry, were all getting along fine until Nikki and Anthem briefly broke up and the schemer who set that into motion, Marshall Ferriot, stepped in to take Anthem's place in Nikki's life. But Marshall is evil. He was evil even before he and Nikki went swimming in the pool filled with... something that gave them powers beyond belief. Nikki and her family apparently die in a horrible car accident (set into motion by Marshall) but Marshall ends up a vegetable in a long term care facility. The trouble is the nurses there think he is controlling their minds - and they may be right.

I thought the characters were believable. I feared for Ben's life and felt like he was the most believable character. Marshall was totally menacing and dreadful. Anthem and Nikki felt more like symbolic caricatures rather than real flesh and blood people. Rice tells the story through the major characters of Ben, Anthem, Marissa ( a black columnist) and Marshall. Nikki's story is told through her journal entries. In the end the best part of The Heavens Rise is the character of Ben and his perspective of what happened and what is happening, followed closely by Marissa.

This well written atmospheric horror novel combined with a coming-of-age story packs some very creepy vibes throughout most of the narrative. The story had me totally engrossed in it until the final quarter to a third of the novel when it took a turn for the worst.  At that point it became more paranormal and, not wanting to give anything away, I just wish the ending was different and that Rice had chosen to take it a different direction because he had me breathlessly reading right up until the ending. I do think that many readers aren't going to have any problems with the ending because the rest of the novel is that good. -  especially the atmospheric setting.  (I was surprised to read that Christopher Rice is the son of Anne Rice.)

Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Gallery Books via Netgalley for review purposes.

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