theheavensriseElysium, the New Orleans home of Nikki Delongpre and her parents, holds a secret and when Nikki breaks up with her long term boyfriend Anthem, and takes creepy Marshall home for a midnight swim, the consequences have repercussions beyond anything the teenagers could expect.

I really enjoyed the first 80% of this book by Christopher Rice, son of Ann and a considerable literary talent himself. The ‘nice’ characters were very likeable and Marshall, the villain of the piece, was suitably loathsome. Unlike another reviewer, I felt no sympathy for this selfish, manipulative and dangerous young man. The story unfolded at a good pace and I found myself drawn in to the tale, reading on later than I should to find out what happened next.

Then, in the final fifth, it all went a bit astray for me. I find it hard to put my finger on what it was exactly that I didn’t like. From being a traditional, slow build horror the book took a twist to the sci-fi/fantasy that didn’t sit well with the rest. If you’ve seen the film Chronicle, the feel will be familiar to you.

Rice’s writing is uncluttered and easy to read. He gives just enough description to bring his settings to life without weighing down the pace with unnecessary adjectives. I particularly liked the characters of Ben and Marissa and felt they were more than just the ‘best friend’ and ‘angry journalist’ ciphers they could so easily have become. If only the ending had been more like the rest of the book, I’d give this a 4* review. Still, The Heavens Rise is an enjoyable and easy read and worth 3.5*. Definitely worth reading if you are a fan of slow burn horror.

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