Book Review 5: The Vines by Christopher Rice

Title: The VinesTheVines-Cover
Author: Christopher Rice
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten. But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate.

After heiress and current owner Caitlin Chaisson is witness to her husband’s stunning betrayal at her birthday party, she tries to take her own life in the mansion’s cherished gazebo. Instead, the blood she spills awakens dark forces in the ground below. Chaos ensues and by morning her husband has vanished without a trace and his mistress has gone mad.

Nova, daughter to Spring House’s groundskeeper, has always suspected that something malevolent haunts the old place, and in the aftermath of the birthday party she enlists Caitlin’s estranged best friend, Blake, to help her get to the bottom of it. The pair soon realizes that the vengeance enacted by this sinister and otherworldly force comes at a terrible price.

Rating: 5/5
Review: What’s so interesting about a killer plant? That was my first thought after reading the first few chapters of The Vines, but Christopher Rice proves to be a very skilled writer. Reading The Vines made me feel like I was walking through the Twilight Zone with Caitlin, Blake, and Nova – the main characters of the novel.

Caitlin wakes up the dark forces in Spring House which come out as unusual vines that hunger for retribution on behalf of the waker. She changes with the realization of the power she’s obtained, and her friend Blake notices. Blake has his own share of bad memories. In high school, he and his boyfriend were attacked resulting in his boyfriend’s death. The attackers were given the death penalty. Only, Caitlin discovers the truth and forces Blake to use the vines to exact revenge on the men who really killed his boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Nova, daughter of Caitlin’s servant, helps Blake to figure out the goings on at Spring House. They trace the history of the vines to Spring House’s master Felix Delachaise and the slave Virginie who had the ability to command plants. Things didn’t end well for both as Felix went back on his promise to Virginie so she took her revenge by killing his crops. Their war fuels the magic surrounding the vines, and Caitlin’s blood started the cycle of punishment.

Blake decides to say no to the vines but Caitlin takes the choice from him, and she pays for her actions. In the end, after witnessing many deaths and getting closure, Blake leaves town with a newly acquired companion. Nova stays behind and becomes the new owner of Spring House.

With relation to the characters, I liked it that he didn’t make Caitlin into the oppressed damsel who can do no wrong. Nova is the angry college girl who thinks her father still adheres to the slave tradition of long ago. I thought she was going to be an irritating character because she had a huge chip on her shoulder but, as the story progresses, it was clear that she had reasons to be angry. As for Blake, he’s the good character who’s been given a chance to get back at those who destroyed a beautiful part of his life. I think Christopher Rice made Blake a believable character through the way Blake deals with power.

As for the story, I greatly enjoyed reading about revenge-seeking vines. On one hand, Christopher Rice made it feel like it was a comfort to have such vines under one’s command because who doesn’t want an instant protector? On the other hand, the vines are terrifying and unforgiving even to its current master.

The Vines is a perfect read for the Halloween season especially for those who are tired of the usual scary characters.

Disclaimer: I received an eGalley of this book from the author/publisher for an honest review.

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