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?
Title: The Stars Never Rise
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise Duology #1
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Published: June 9th 2015 by Delacorte Press
Read: Jan 21 – 23
This book is an immensely entertaining and fast-paced read. Rachel Vincent does a terrific job of merging paranormal elements into a dystopian world and she creates a strong and compelling story.
The Church rules with an Iron Hand and they require complete submission and obedience; anyone who disobeys their rules is punished. Nina, however, frequently breaks the Church’s laws in order to survive and care for herself and her sister, Melanie, since their mother is a drug addict. She tries to remain below the Church’s radar but soon Melanie has a secret that’s too big to stay hidden and Nina finds herself in deep trouble.
Nina is a tough and determined character who will do anything to protect her sister. Her fierce loyalty is incredibly admirable and she goes to great lengths to ensure her sister’s survival. I really liked Nina as a heroine; she goes through incredibly tough situations but doesn’t let herself lose focus. Despite the fact that she has a mother who doesn’t care enough to take care of her, Nina is able to make ends meet, even if it means sacrificing her own desires. Additionally, Nina has the ability to quickly adapt to situations, which comes in super in handy once she meets Finn and his friends.
The dystopian world in this book is quite a unique one and this book has the perfect balance of world-building and action. I wasn’t really that surprised by any of the reveals but I didn’t mind because there was just so much happening and I was really enjoying the storyline. The characters are charming and full of humor; even during their fight scenes, they are still able to make light of their situation. Additionally, amidst the action and humor, Rachel Vincent is still able to get at philosophical questions related to souls and purity.
My only complaint about this book is that there is a particular concept that was difficult for me to wrap my head around. Once Nina decides to join the rogue group, she learns something about Finn; I don’t want to say exactly what that something is due to spoilers, but for some reason, it was just incredibly difficult for me to accept the revelation. I especially felt the strangeness of Finn’s situation during the romance scenes but kudos to Rachel Vincent for creating a romance that was unique and surprising. By the end of the book, I was a tad bit more comfortable with the concept and I hope that in the second book, it won’t strike me as being super weird. (I know this all sounds super vague but if you’ve read the book, you might know what I’m talking about.)
Overall, this book is incredibly enjoyable and is a fantastic start for a new series. I’m excited to see where the next book, The Flame Never Dies, takes us, especially considering the major reveals and plot twists in the first book. I definitely recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy and dystopian YA.