A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Heavens Rise by bestselling author Christopher Rice (son of famed vampire -chronicler author Anne Rice) is a supernatural horror story in which monsters born of fear and violence come hideously to life, and blood and gore make frequent, graphic appearances. One of the multiple narrators takes us inside the mind of a sadistic psychopath who only sees people for how he can use or manipulate them and who harbors dark, violent fantasies. Violence and sex are frequently intertwined, and even older teens may learn for the first time about using objects for sexual penetration or about child torture in Southeast Asia. Sexual incidents only happen twice, but imagery is frequently sexual, and sexual desire is described in a sophisticated manner. Cross-promotion on the back cover may lead readers to Rice's comedic Internet radio program called The Dinner Party Show, the motto of which is "Everybody Gets Served" and which features an episode called "Cocktail Chatter."
What's the story?
Eight years ago when they were in high school, Nikki and Marshall acquired the supernatural ability to physically manipulate others. The ability to \"drive\" other people came at a high price, though, sometimes physically manifesting the deepest fears of those being \"driven\" into nightmarish creatures. In the aftermath, Nikki lost her mother and had to go into hiding. Marshall lost his father and was left in a persistent vegetative state. Now, eight years later, Marshall has fully recovered, is out for revenge, and doesn't mind taking out the whole city of New Orleans to get it.
Is it any good?
With THE HEAVENS RISE, author Christopher Rice has created a gripping and very violent page-turner best suited to adults with a firm grasp of when and how it's safe to indulge in fantasy. He particularly excels at balancing a large cast of narrators, not all of whom are important characters but who are deftly used to advance the action or the exposition. His atmospheric writing terrifically evokes New Orleans' many moods, but there are so many insider references that some of those moods may be missed by those who don't already know a little about the Crescent City.
Some of the exposition is weak, particularly in diary entries that explain things the writer of the diary wouldn't need to explain (like what a "yat" is, or where things are located). And the final fourth of the book is an over-the-top, Hollywood-action, big-screen-special-effects blowout that isn't so much built from the otherwise consistently and grippingly relentless pace up to then as it is detonated from out of nowhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why books about monsters and the supernatural are so popular. What would this story be about without them? Do they help the story or hurt it?
Is the bloody, gory violence necessary to tell this story?
A lot of different narrators tell the story. Does that help you understand what's going on or make it harder?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love horror and fantasy
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