Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Heavens Rise

by Christopher Rice
Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Kindle edition : 14.99 $
336 pages

I had that book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I thought the blurb was promising and him being the son of his mother... I expected a great book, full of mystery, voodoo, bayou and such things that delight me in Anne Rice's books (I know, it's stupid, good writing is not genetic... but hey, one can hope right?)

The blurb 

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 I think of it

I really loved the eerie atmosphere. For that, I was not deceived: we're in Louisiana, with all its charms, its secrets, its carnival, its so peculiar atmosphere that's so easy to fell for. The beginning of the book (or more likely its 2/3) is all about the setting. There's not a lot of action, its more about a secret you'll be aware very soon but without knowing its content. We follow some characters through some events that show you there's a problem (a big one at that), that something is wrong. You understand rapidly that it's something about the bayou, you think its voodoo, then you discover it's more scientific than you thought. All in all the build-up is very well done: there's a lot of tension, you don't know which one will be hurt, you don't know what'll happen. 

About the characters. We follow different people without really becoming attached to them. The story is about Niquette and her two friends, Ben and Anthem. Something big happens to Niquette, she's changed for ever yet she's not very present in the book.  Ben and his boss are those we see more often and in a sense they can be seen as the main protagonists. Ben is the character I liked the most, probably because he's more present. Anthem seems a nice guy but we don't see a lot about him or not enough to really feel for him. The bad guy in the story, Mitchell, is so purely bad without any real reason, that it's difficult to hate him! As for Niquette, that's a pity she's not more present throughout the book, seeing that she's kind of the reason for all the violence! I wish the author had written his characters as well as his setting, it would have been terrific!

About the story, as I said, the tension is well built along the plot, it's increasing slowly but surely. You're captivated by the atmosphere, by the setting, by the secret and you let yourself go with the story, thinking hoping that the end will be astonishing. That's where I was disappointed. The end is too easy, too quick, too not credible. I can't say why cause I'll give the plot but I'm not sure I'll accept as easily that killing people to gain an ability is no sweat...

In a nutshell

Christopher Rice is a good writer and his world can be bewitching but the book lacks of credible explanations and of an end that makes sense. Those who prefer an eerie atmosphere in a book will be delighted, those who prefer a strong story might not like it. I give it a 3/5. 


  1. This is the first time that I read a book about Lousiana that makes me feel like actually visisiting the city. I loved, absolutely loved the beginning of the story, but then.. something happened that I stopped liking it so much. I felt like the second half of the book was written by anothe person.

  2. I hear you, the first part was so better than the end! I don't know if it was 2 persons but it sure was not the same quality.