Book: The Stars Never Rise
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person by Nina, past tense
Genre: YA paranormal, dystopian
Source: Physical copy
Release: June 9th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 3 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.
When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.
To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?
Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.
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In a post-war world, there are no natural souls. Babies are born without souls, and without a soul donor, they die. The reason for this lack of souls are demons, who have been devouring souls at mind-staggering rates, which led to a war with them. With the victory over these demons, cities are now govern by the Church, who's punishment for sins are swift and merciless, in fear that a demon might come to possess the sinner. When Nina Kane finds out that her younger sister, Mellie, has sinned, she needs to come up with a way to save her, without risking the wrath of the Church on both of them. However, nothing is what it seems, and too soon, Nina finds Mellie imprisoned by the Church and herself on the run with a group of fugitives.
As neat as the idea of immortal souls and demons are, I couldn't really connect to the concept of story. There was nothing wrong with the story itself, but I just wasn't sold on it. I've always been on the fence about novels involving exorcists, demons, and churches, as I can't really wrap my head around it and I see it as being extremely superstitious and lacking the action I generally like to see.
The cast of characters were all right. Their personalities were not anything I'd never seen before, and thus their actions were a little predictable. Nina, as our protagonist, was very stubborn about rescuing her sister, Finn was the guy who liked Nina from the start and basically agreed with everything she said, Reese was the like the older brother, Grayson was the kind girl who stayed out of everything (until she comes of age), Devi was the mean girl, and Maddock was...well, Maddock. I felt like none of them really grew. Nina's character arc in this book wasn't really one of emotional growth, but more of information. The only difference in her character was that she knew what she was in the end.
I found that at the beginning, there was a lot of information dump in terms of worldbuilding/history in the context of school. Nina quizzes Mellie on a history quiz, and bam, we have the whole history of how the book's world came to be. There wasn't really a solid resolution in the book either, nothing to hint at the direction the next book will be taking. At the same time, since this is a series, it's not that big of an issue.
Plot wise, the book was filled with unexpected turns and new developments I enjoyed reading. Character wise, I can't say that I was over the top for it. But I want to know what becomes of Nina and her world, so I'll probably continue the series. Hopefully everyone will grow up a little!