The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

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Title: The Stars Never Rise (The Stars Never Rise #1)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Source: Copy provided by Penguin Random House Canada
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Overall: 4 STARS

From RACHEL VINCENT, New York Times bestselling author, comes the first book in a new series about a girl who must join forces with rogue exorcists to save her sister and, ultimately, humanity.

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 Thoughts: 
As an ardent fangirl of Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series (Team Tod for afterlife!), I couldn't wait to read her latest YA novel. The Stars Never Rise introduces a terrifying world ruled by the powerful Unified Church and their army of exorcists. In the near-distant future, a war between humans and demons has decimated our population. Sins are now prosecuted as crimes, and harsh punishments are given to anyone who dares to defy the Church's mandates. Goodbye democracy. Goodbye free speech. The Unified Church controls everything.

Nina Kane has lived her entire life in New Temperance, one of the few surviving cities scattered across America. Outside the protection of their walled city, there is only a barren wasteland and abandoned suburbs. Nina has always tried to keep her head down and out of trouble, but she's barely keeping it all together. Her mother's drug addiction has spiraled out of control. And Melanie, her younger sister, is pregnant—a sin the Church will not forgive, especially since souls are in short supply and reproduction is strictly regulated.

Melanie may have been reckless and careless of the potential ramifications, but Nina is fiercely loyal and loves her sister. Somehow, someway, Nina is determined to protect Melanie and her unborn baby. But Nina's life continues to fall apart when she encounters a degenerate, a zombie-like monster that has been possessed by a demon. A mysterious, green-eyed boy named Finn saves her life, but she begins to learn the Church is hiding terrible secrets and they will kill anyone who tries to expose their lies. Nina has no choice but to trust Finn and his fugitive friends if she hopes to survive.

Part dystopian, part urban fantasy, Rachel Vincent's The Stars Never Rise is an utterly thrilling and memorable read. A lot of essential information is dropped in the first half of the novel to really immerse readers in this brutal, slightly futuristic world before the pacing turns to full throttle in the second half. Nina has all the classic characteristics of a Rachel Vincent heroine: she's headstrong, pure of heart, and courageous in the face of danger, even if she's trembling with fear inside. I'm definitely excited to read the sequel, The Flame Never Dies, next year!

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