The Heavens Rise...kinda,
This review is from: The Heavens Rise (Paperback)
I’d been looking for an intense fantasy/horror story for a while, and The Heaven’s Rise seemed to fit the bill perfectly - a murky, remote setting, a mysterious parasite and a whole bunch of flawed characters. And although I got most of what I wanted, The Heavens Rise unfortunately suffers from two main problems - uneven pacing and a confused and rather unresolved cause.
Niquette (Nikki), Ben and Anthem are the closest of friends - Nikki and Ben are best friends, and Anthem and Nikki are involved in an intense relationship, and when Nikki disappears, Ben and Anthem form a bond that began in friendship but is strengthened through their shared grief. The Heavens Rise flickers between the three friends and two other characters - reporter Marissa and psychopath Marshall. Normally I’m not a fan of so many perspectives, but in this case I enjoyed them all - most especially the disturbing mind of Marshall.
The beginning of the story is definitely the strongest part of the book, and it was that hook that kept me reading because I had to find out what happened, but the middle feels like it just hovers for a while. Although Rice does an excellent job of bringing an extra element to the story with the flashbacks to Hurricane Katrina which was rather unexpected but an extra draw for a reader like me, it does unfortunately detract a little from the current plotline.
When it comes to the horror element, there is certainly enough to qualify this as a horror novel - there are gruesome deaths and freaky happenings galore and a definite sense of tension and a big wince factor. The place where the storyline fell down for me however was twofold - the murky explanation of the parasite, where it came from and how it actually worked, and the ending - it was a little too neat and tidy for my taste.
The Heavens Rise has a lot of good elements - it is fundamentally a horror story, and I particularly enjoyed that side of it, Rice creates a strong sense of New Orleans and the bond between the characters is particularly well-crafted. However, the fluctuating pace and the rather insipid ending stopped me from really loving it.