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.
Quite fast paced, and set in a very bleak future, The Stars Never Rise is a solid start to Vincent’s new series.
My The Stars Never Rise review:
At the beginning of The Stars Never Rise, I thought the story had similarities to one of my favorite urban fantasy series Downside Ghosts. Because the it is set in the future, after a big battle, and the church now rules the remaining humans. Nina, the main character, goes to school, and wants to enter the church to become a teacher. However, she also often breaks the rules – even if most of the time that is to keep herself and her younger sister Mellie alive – and she lies by omission to keep the church away from her house. Her mother is mostly absent, out all night, sleeping most of the day, Nina and Mellie think she’s a drug addict. It didn’t take me very long to see that The Stars Never Rise is a completely different and original story, though, and I really enjoyed Nina, how crafty she was, and how loyal she was to her sister.
As the story moves forward, Nina soon has to rely on her wits firs to save herself from a degenerate – a body that’s been possessed by a demon for so long it is no longer fully functional – then, save her sister from the church, and finally, she has to save both of them from their own mother. A mysterious boy who showed up to save her from the degenerate shows up when the church employed exorcists show up to arrest Nina after she killed her mom, and this is where the plot thickens. A lot!
There is a lot going on in The Stars Never Rise, and Nina grows a lot as a character. I really enjoyed that while she thought Finn was good-looking, and he had saved her twice, she did not let her guard down with him, nor trusted him straight away. He did truly want to help her though, and with her new, strange powers, she needs to be closer to other teens who can help her fight the good fight. Even with demons involved, the lines between good and bad are not completely clear cut, and the suspense of the reasoning behind the church had me guessing for just as long as Nina did! And when she figured things out, I was just as shocked as her friends were.
Written in past tense, first person from Nina’s perspective, it was very easy to follow the actions, and with the dialogues as well as Nina’s inner thoughts, I felt connected to her. I can’t wait to see where Vincent is going to take this series, because while there is no actual cliff hanger, the story definitely ended with a lot of questions open, and many directions in which to take both the story and the characters.
Some of my favorite The Stars Never Rise quotes:
It had been more than a century since the United Church and its army of exorcists wiped the bulk of the great demon horde form the face of the earth – the face of America, anyway – yet the headlines never changed.
Then I grew up and realized that was all those stories ever were. Dreams. I lived in the real world, where Mellie was only a part-time citizen.
I knew girls who took that promise very seriously. I also knew girls who lied through their teeth. I didn’t know a single boy who’d ever worn a purity ring. Evidently, their virginity was worth even less than the stolen band of steel around my finger.
This book counts towards the COYER scavenger hunt item 73: Read a book set at least 20 years in the future (5 points)
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: