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October 9, 2013

Braine Reviews: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

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.

What the fluck did I just read?!

That's the predominant thought as I finished reading Christopher Rice's upcoming novel, THE HEAVENS RISE. Not that it's bad, obviously my cauldron rating says I Loved It, I'm more surprised that I actually loved the novel considering I'm not a big sci-fi/fantasy reader. I rarely pay attention to blurbs and excerpts, I skim it and look for key words that will help me decide if I should read the novel or not. Going into this I was expecting something dystopian and supernatural even. I didn't get either instead I received something that blew my mind in so many ways.
A swimming pool it was. It was a decision that destroyed our lives.
THE HEAVENS RISE is a story that spans 8 years, flip flopping between the past and the present. It was in this way that the puzzle was slowly put together and though it was torturous for me, this is why I ended up loving this book despite my aversion to sci-fi. My eyes were bugging out as CRice slowly gives us clues to what happened to Niquette Delongpre's family and what role their darned pool played in their disappearance. Did they drown? Was it something weird and far fetched like M. Knight Shyamalan's 2006 movie, Lady In The Water? Well THE HEAVENS RISE is baffling, a little Frankenstein and it was crazy enough to appeal to Stephen King fans and readers who have a penchant for the eerie. 

The mystery is a complete brainteaser, you have something so complex set against a very simple setting one is left wondering what this thing the blurb is hinting at. The thing took a backseat, instead it's the ripple effect caused by Nikki's disappearance that drove the novel. The entire conflict sounds so immense set in a small scale one can only assume the effects will be drastic. This oxymoron is exactly why I totally enjoyed THE HEAVENS RISE, CRice presented it in a matter-fact-way, keeping the focus on a human interest point of view whilst keeping the fantasy aspect comprehensible. Gruesome deaths, mind control, a man in a wheelchair, a girl that disappeared 8 years ago, suicides and a bunch of other horrors will have you flipping the pages. This wasn't a direct good v evil story but what will reel you in is how everything started over something so petty, boy likes girl, girl likes someone else; and this childish bitterness grew exponentially in catastrophic proportions and next thing you know, people are getting killed off and the collateral damage is huge.

The characters are superb and Ben Broyard stood out the most for me. His character is very straightforward and complex, he's a very engaging personality and who I consider to be the hero of THE HEAVENS RISE though some might argue he's a secondary one. Anthem Landry, Nikki's old boyfriend, plays the tortured soul, still loyal and grieving over Nikki he's a target of sorts. Nikki for her part wasn't "present" but rather provided the motivation for the plot and its characters. My favorite has to be the villain, Marshall Ferriot. He gave the novel intensity and a layer of darkness due to his lack of morals and conscience and constant demonstration of unbridled evilness. I love it!
They were living nightmares, plucked from a person's soul as the material of their soul was drawn from their flesh. 
The resolution was unsettling for me. As far as Nikki, Ben, Anthem and Marshall are concerned, there's full closure on that part. It was nicely done, a bit dramatic, a tad monstrous, a little tragic with an unconventional and rather corny HEA to tide me over. As for the mysterious thing, there's still a lot of stuff about it that remained unanswered but it was potent enough that had me comparing THE HEAVENS RISE with Frankenstein towards the end. Nikki's resurgence and an update on her life for the past 8 years had me thinking MAD SCIENTIST in glowing letters. Not that the big reveal was far removed from its premise, rather the source of all the hysteria is still unknown in terms of origin. Mary Shelley was transparent in her creation, CRice wasn't as forthright with his. I don't know if there's a book 2 as the book ended with a few loose ends but if there is, I hope CRice will come up with some plausible explanation to back up this organism he created. 









20 comments:

  1. Oh it's intriguing, I really didn't know this one and like you it's not usually my kind of books. What is interesting is the mix between present and past. I love that when it's well done. It's rare when we can have something like that in a book, because I think it's really difficult. I know a French author and a US one who are amazing at it.

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    1. True, its a good tool to get readers invested in the lives of the characters.

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  2. Braine...this is a book I would gobble up..from the world building to the setting...eep! I am adding this one to my list!!!

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    1. Let me warn you, the ending is a little out there but everything else is great.

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  3. Okay, so I'm not sure what exactly this book is about, but your first line won me over! What a great review, Braine. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Interesting choice. I know who his mother is. Present and Past can be tricky. This sounds like a book that I might take a chance on because you recommend to me.

    Grace
    Books of Love
    http://gracebooksoflove.com

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    1. It's a little quirky but quirky is good sometimes right?

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  5. You know, once in awhile I like to wonder around other genres, and a brainteaser sounds so appealing. I already would like get to know theses characters by your account. This is definitely something I could enjoy.
    Thanks, great job!

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  6. Well now you got me interested. I would hope he would bring his game face on considering who is mama is...lols. Great Review Braine

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    1. Gotcha! He did and I have to say, the talent is genetic! His mind works a tad different but you can tell it's there.

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  7. Ben sounds great, and I think I would enjoy this one

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    1. Yes, I actually think you'll like this even if it's not really YA

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  8. Oh wow! I'm gonna have to try this one. It so one that would have surprised me since I don't read blurbs either and that cover makes me think deep south small town not sci-fi/fantasy. Fab review :)

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    1. Yeah that's why this worked so good for me, the sci-fi wasn't in your face, it's about the people and the mystery was perfectly laid out.

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  9. I have this book as well, and probably need to read it soon after reading your review. Thank you for that by the way!

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  10. Oh wow!! Great review. It does sound like a good read. The mystery behind it sounds awesome!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  11. Braine, thanks to you, I will have to add a new book to my collection...Your review won me over! Again...
    Des bisous,
    Lucie

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