Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice (Review)

Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Publication Date :October 15, 2013
Published By:  Gallery Books
WebsiteThe Heaven's Rise on Goodreads

Christopher Rice Website
My review copy: From publisher for honest review

Where to get:

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.

  Eventually, I gave in.  Of course my father still asked for a show of hands, which seemed like a silly formality to me, but I cast my vote anyway.  A swimming pool it was.  It was a decision that destroyed our lives.

  "He can make you do things...he can.  If you look into his eyes, he can make you... And when it's over, you don't remember doing any of it."

  And he felt like a fool, a fool for having walked up here alone, all this way.  But how could he have known?  How could he have known that voodoo was real and that animals can explode before your eyes from blows struck by invisible hammers?

  When he noticed the shadow in the garden below, Anthem's mouth opened, but nothing came out and then it appeared to him as if the shadow itself had turned into a column of darkness, shot upward and swallowed him whole.

 Brilliant, creepy and packed with a mystery that kept me guessing, The Heavens Rise was a spectacular read that I just did not want to put down.  There was so many forces at work it was hard to know exactly where to put your belief and to know what to believe.  Parts of me wanted to believe the truth right from the start but it is easy to get pulled in a different direction with the mystery that is so cleverly woven.  Though it is a paranormal read at heart, the mystery and the twisting plot took the wheel right from the start and kept me trying to sort everything out.

Though the synopsis tells a tale of a girl that survives a crash and the change that was thrust upon her, it does not tell you that you will spend most of the book without her. Her friends think she is dead and everything that happened before that crash is unknown to them. However, the events following the crash are just are terrifying. The plot really does pull you away from where the synopsis takes you, bringing on more questions than I thought possible. You get multiple points of view, which adds to the complexity of the story. Though it threw me off a little at times Rice has given his characters a distinct and clear voice that gives each person away easily. With fantastic world building and yet a simple setting, this read easily captured my attention.

Despite the fact that Niquette is the focus of the synopsis, I really felt like Ben played a large part in this novel. He is her best friend and the one that seems determined to figure out what happened exactly on that day he lost her. Time may have passed but Ben still has troubles admitting to the fact that he is gay, something that Niquette had always known and accepted. However, Ben is more than that now as well he is successful in his job as an investigative journalist. The thing is, Ben always believed that the accident that took his friend away was no accident and the person behind it just walked away without a guilty concious. Thing is he is mostly right, the problem was he couldn't prove it and as we all know life goes on. Ben was a wonderfully portrayed character and Rice did a phenomenal job with creating realistic problems and characteristics to match. He is probably one of the most well drawn out characters I have read in awhile.

Nikki (Niquette) and Anthem both also are great characters but I did not feel the connection to them that I did with Ben. Nikki has the majority of her story at the start and the end of the book because the middle where everything is going on, she is "dead." However, it is the start that sets the tone for the book and the ending that kind of pulls things together and gives it a put together ending, resolving the issues. She has a great heart and after I got over being mad at her for walking away, I really did like her for the strength she had walking away. Talking in circles I know but when you know how much she loves Anthem and he did her, the leaving makes no sense and total sense at the same time. I actually hoped that something good would happen for the two of them.

Something that I absolutely loved was the uniquely created villain. I wont give you a name because you will figure it out yourself and take things as they go but he is a vile individual. He is not the bad guy that is out for world domination but he wants his revenge in dark and twisted way. He feels absolutely no remorse and that everything he does is just a means to an end. The thoughts of those that know him and even the things he does early on, brings bile up into my throat. You want the characters to find him and dispose of him in the most gruesome manner possible because he is a horrible excuse for a human being. He kind of reminds me of Hannibal Lecter, without the people eating. He just believes the things he does is deserved and justified.

Twisted, dark and well plotted out, The Heavens Rise is a wonderful read. For once I can say a book felt longer than it 336 pages. Not because the story dragged on but because Rice packed a spectacular amount of detail and development into those few pages. The story packs a much bigger punch than the pages would normally allow. Throughout there is much dark but there is a little balance that you will find when you get to the end and it shows power is what you make of it. I would recommend this to supernatural/horror lovers and probably in the 18+ crowd but there are exceptions to every rule. I just suggest you pick a time to pick it up when you have nothing better to do but become entangled in this one.

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