Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The Heavens Rise, New Release from Christopher Rice!
Release Date: October 15th, 2013
"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."
Christopher Rice has created a mythical story here- a book that examines love and friendship, yes, but also a book that explores the darkness of the human heart.
The story begins in Nikki's home- Elysium. In mythology, Elysium is the home given to those heroes that the gods have decided to bestow immortality upon. The story follows Nikki, Ben and Anthem, who were high school friends, as they undergo a literal transformation from human into something more. They encounter a parasite that has dwelt under the city of New Orleans for ages, and has the power to create monsters or angels of those who come into contact with it. This theme is what the book centers around. New Orleans is a battleground between the forces of light and darkness, and this is played out in both the characters' struggle against an evil adversary, and in Ben's struggle to expose the corruption of the rich and powerful elite who control his beloved city and keep in place an unjust staus quo.
But beyond the deeper themes of the book, there is also a fun, suspenseful story that kept me turning pages. Marshall Ferriot is a "bad guy" who is fantastic as a person you will love to hate. The friendship between Nikki and Ben is very touching as is the romance between Nikki and Anthem. If I have any criticisms of the book, I would say that the "mind monsters" were a bit of an imaginative stretch for me, but even that is one I am willing to forgive because I feel that they are used so well as a metaphorical expression of the evil that comes from fear, and the beauty that can come when we change our hearts.
I love books that make me think. I've said that here before. I love stories that have deeper meanings, and allow you not only to be entertained for a time, but also to discover the layers within, that tell us something more powerful about life and the human condition. This is one of those books for me.