Saturday, September 28, 2013

Early Review: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice




Release Date: October 15, 2013
Published by: Gallery Books
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Source: Digital ARC from Edelweiss
Author Links: Site | Twitter | Facebook


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.



I'm not really sure how I feel about The Heavens Rise. I really enjoyed it..up to a point. Somewhere around the 60% mark the story seemed to change directions and it wasn't in a surprising or interesting twist kind of way. It was....well, it was kind of weird. 

For the majority of the story we follow three boys who eventually become three men as we're shifted forward in time. What they all have in common is a connection to Nikki Delongpre, a girl who disappeared along with her family in a crash where no bodies were recovered. One man is Nikki's long-time best friend. The other is her boyfriend of three years. The last is a man who developed an unhealthy crush on her that became a fascination with seeing her dead. 

While the story feels more like a mystery than anything else, there is a supernatural element surrounding the antagonist, Marshall. He has the disturbing ability to take control of others and bend them to his will. He's a demented character with evil intentions, so he's frequently forcing unwilling participants to harm themselves or others.

But aside from Marshall's dark ability, there isn't anything "other" that appears until well after the halfway point. That's when grotesque monsters, creatures of nightmares and memories, are mentioned and it all felt a little strange and didn't seem to fit with the whole vibe of the story. I think if these creatures were vaguely mentioned throughout and not just thrown at us toward the end, it would have made for a better read.

Despite my complaints about the overall mystery, I enjoyed the time spent getting to know Ben, Anthem, and Marissa. They were all well-developed characters and they were the reason that I was able to finish this story so quickly. Also, I did enjoy the ending once I adjusted to the concept of the "mind monsters". All things considered, I would love to give Rice another try. 




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