Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review - The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

From Goodreads:

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.

My review

Nina Kane is a smart, practical 16 year old whose sole focus is for her and her sister to survive the grim town of New Temperance. In a world where souls must be assigned at birth and soul consuming demons are a terrifying threat waiting in the wings, there's no time for anything besides scrounging for food and money. 

New Temperance is run by The Church, a cruel and unforgiving government. In New Temperance, sins are brutally prosecuted as crimes. Nina's sister, Millie, has committed one of the most awful sins a young person can commit, and Nina will do everything in her power to protect her. In doing so, Nina unleashes a secret she never suspected about herself or her family, and there she's helped by Finn, an unusual exorcist who has all the answers she's looking for. 
Caught in the crossfire between The Church and the demons, Nina must rely on Finn and his band of rouge exorcists if she wants to stay alive and rescue her sister.

Holy shit on a shit stick, this was an unputdownable read!
Rachel Vincent has an addictive way of writing, and I'm a big fan of her Soul Screamers series. The Stars Never Rise had her trademark style and showed off her growth as a writer.
It was extremely fast paced, gritty, horrifying, wildly engaging, and  different from the typical YA paranormal. I'd call it more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal. 

If I was going down, I was going down fighting. 

I enjoyed being in Nina's head. She was very smart, analytical, protective, and driven. Despite the hand she was dealt and horrifying way she discovered her true nature as an exorcist, she wasn't the least bit whiny or self pitying. That is so refreshing to see in a genre that is choked with whining, obnoxious characters that make me want to reach through the page and shake them.
Nina's dedication to her sister was done in a way to show that she was the older sister caring for the younger, not a mother figure. That was an unusual twist in the now common theme of older sibling being caregiver, and I really appreciated it.
She was definitely my kind of protagonist!

Nina's sister, Melanie, annoyed the crap out of me. Thankfully she doesn't have much page time, but she was so stupid and self centered. Her sister sacrifices everything for her, and she's beyond ungrateful. Despite how much she ground on my nerves, I liked what she added to the story.

I was so iffy on Finn in the first part of the story, worried that this would be the typical knight in shining armor YA love interest, but he grew on me. As I learned more about him, he became my favorite character. He was such a good person, honest and unapologetic for his feelings, and I loved him by the ending. 

I noticed a few similarities between this book and Vincent's Soul Screamers series, such as the bitchy but smart and funny side character Devi who reminded me so much of Soul Screamers Mara, but overall this book was hugely different. Different from most YA I've read, actually. It's not a common idea to use this type of urban fantasy/dystopian/horror/romance, and it was lovely to read that.

I feel like my life is a book, and someone turned the page before I was ready, and now I can't follow the story. 

The book spans the course of three or four days, and as you can imagine it is very fast pace. Had I not been so busy last week, I could've easily devoured this book in one sitting. The pages practically turn themselves. There's next to no dragging in the plot, and it kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The world building was fascinating, and I was surprised at just how much of it was fit into such an action packed read. 

The beginning and ending of The Stars Never Rise were so strong, though the middle was weaker. I started getting a little disappointed in the middle, but then it picked back up and sucked me right back in. The issues I had with the book surfaced during that time, and by the ending they were nearly all resolved. The book isn't that long, either, and I applaud Vincent for being able to turn it back around in such a short time frame. 

I was honestly shocked at just how horrifying and violent the world in this book is. It had me shuddering and saying "damn" on more than one occasion. There's one scene in particular that I would not expect to see in a YA read. While it wasn't hugely detailed, the brutal violence of the scene was sickening. It really showed that this world was not to be messed with. 

It does have the obligatory romance, and I was extremely dubious with it at the start. It seemed like it was going to be the typical, flat insta-love that is so prevalent in YA, but by the end...well, I ship them. I ship them hard. It wasn't your average romance, and I'm dying to see where this goes.  The best thing was that the romance was not a huge feature in the book. Just enough to be enjoyable. Vincent is a big fan of love triangles though, so I'm really hoping this series won't feature one.

Overall, The Stars Never Rise is an incredibly promising start to a fast paced and absorbing new YA series, and I highly recommend it. I'm salivating for the next book, which should be released next June! year?!?! I can't wait that long!

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How I'm feeling about that news!


Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Young adult, urban fantasy, dystopian, romance
POV: 1st person, single perspective
Steam/sexual content: Some references to sex, otherwise none
Warning: Violence
Series: The Stars Never Rise, book 1
HEA: Don't know!
Cliffhanger: Yes, not huge but definitely leaves you wanting more
Length: 368 pages
My own copy

- The Bibliophile Babe 


  1. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this one! I really loved Finn as well, and I'm ore than a little curious to see how things will progress between him and Nina given his...uniqueness ;-) Next June is way too far away!

  2. I enjoyed reading the Soul Screamers series so I'm going to say yes to reading this series too! Will take note of the middle part of the book and remind myself to continue with the book to the good parts. Thanks for sharing your review.

    Next June... is too far for the next book! T_T