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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 received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review by Travis Starnes
With how direct and clear they make story synopsis these days it is rare I am surprised with the direction a book takes, but The Heavens Rise took some turns I didn’t see coming. I did noticed when I started reading this book it was tagged by the author as both a Mystery and Science Fiction, yet by the time I was half way through I was pretty sure it was just a mystery. It is the tale of a small group of contemporaries, I won’t say friends since they aren’t all so friendly, and a tragedy that affects their lives.
This book is written very well. Christopher Rice manages to create tension and suspense expertly, even in situations that aren’t themselves very suspenseful. This isn’t a horror story and there isn’t a killer lurking around the corner but Rice creates the same tension that you would find in a Stephen King novel, a little better I would say. The dialogue can at times be very clever and the flow of the story is generally solid and keeps the reader from wandering off.
Not that it is perfect mind you. There were a few points when the writing let me down. The changes in time, from present day to flashback, aren’t always well telegraphed so it takes a few paragraphs before it is clear there has been a time shift. Also, towards the end during some of the more “actiony” sequences, the writing gets a bit muddled. It becomes unclear where everything and everyone is and the exact sequence of events. During one big action beat I re-read the chapter twice and still wasn’t a hundred percent sure I understood what happened. This however isn’t an action book, it is a suspenseful thriller (with some sci-fi elements), so that isn’t the handicap you would think it was.
The mystery is also done very well. I had the pieces and thought I knew what was going on, but when the full picture is revealed I was still a little surprised. It was a fun ride to take attempting to figure out where the story was going and why certain events happened.
The other weak point is the characters, although not all of them. While the villain of the book is completely interesting and fun to follow, most of the rest of the characters seem a bit 2 dimensional. Some of them are very close to being solid characters and a few more pages added giving them a little more attention would have pushed them over the top. So it is not a real weak point, as many of the characters are close to being really good, but there are times when being really close to good is worse than being terrible.
The sci-fi elements, when they show up, are well done and good, although they are somewhere between supernatural and sci-fi. The book is well written, flows well, and is a fun read. I would recommend this to fans of good suspense.