Author: Christopher Rice
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: October 15th, 2013
“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.”
Swamps, parasites, mind control and monsters. The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice has it all, and it's all strung together in a story so action packed and enthralling it's hard to look away for even a moment.
I don't usually like books with so any different characters and revolving points of view and time changes, but The Heavens Rise couldn't have worked any other way. The main characters—Marshall, Ben, Anthem and Marissa—were all connected by a horrible accident that took Ben's best friend and Anthem's girlfriend, Nikki, away from them eight years ago. An accident that may not have been as accidental as everyone believes. But what really did happen to Nikki Delongpre that night in the swamp? And why, after so long, are they being plagued by a series of murders that all seem to connect back to the Delongpres?
Ben is a really interesting character because while he's looking into the disappearance of his best friend he's also trying to find his own place in the world, and finds his calling as an investigative journalist. Then, eight years after Nikki disappears, Ben is a self assured journalist working alongside his boss and friend Marissa. Ben and Marissa show the reader New Orleans through a very unique lens because it's not the scenic or picturesque view you might be expecting going into this book. Ben and Marissa's view of New Orleans centers more on corrupt politicians and greedy oil companies. They see the corruption that is turning their beloved city into something dark and ugly and want nothing more than to shine light on the monsters that are in control.
The Heavens Rise contains one of the craziest villains I've ever had the pleasure to read about. Marshall Ferriot is certifiable, and that was before something put him into an eight year coma. He's crude, racist and a whole lot of other things that seem like child's play once you realize just how psychotic he is. But, for all the crazy kicking around in his head, I enjoyed reading from his point of view. I enjoyed Ben and Anthem (Oh Anthem!!) and Marissa's POV's more, but there's something to be said for getting to see someone's master plan come together over the course of a novel.
A great aspect of The Heavens Rise is getting to see New Orleans through the eyes of a couple of journalists who were there when Katrina hit. Ben and Marissa might not have really been there when the hurricane made landfall in 2005, but their emotional recollections of it make it feel like they were. Katrina is a big part of Ben and Marissa's relationship and motivations, which I think is realistic of people who've loved through something like that. Rice doesn't dwell on details of the storm or it's repercussions, but at the same time he doesn't take it lightly. Katrina may have reshaped the landscape and the people of New Orleans, but it didn't reshape their spirit.
You know when you start reading a book and you don't really understand what's going on or who these people are you're reading about, but for whatever reason you're hooked and just need to know what happens next? That was exactly how The Heavens Rise was for me. If you're a fan of horror or mysteries than this one is a must read. But if you've never read anything like this before, I still urge you to give it a chance. This is one of those books that I know I'll have to read again because it was just too good to only experience once.
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