Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Stars Never Rise


The Stars Never Rise
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY IT NOW
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher

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. But not everything is as it seems, not only in her town, but with Finn. 


OH MY GOD MY LIFE HAS BEEN RUINED BY ANOTHER BOOK! Seriously. Like not even being over dramatic, this is the start of yet another fantastic series, that I'm going to be totally obsessed with, and you all know how bad I am at waiting for the next book in a series, and this is going to be one of those series were I'm desperate for the next book, and counting down the days, and posting that GIF from Titanic everywhere whenever the next books get near to release and so on. It's THAT kind of book and worst of all, it had SUCH an ending, like a cliffhangery one, everyone was heading in to danger and it was like omg you can't just reveal the reveal like that and then leave me hanging?! And I have this horrid suspicion about Finn and what's going to happen in his future and it involves Mellie and her predicament and I'm really hoping I'm wrong and that it's just me expecting the worst because I'm on edge because of the Game of Thrones finale tonight, and all I have to say, Rachel Vincent, is if you're thinking what I am thinking....DON'T DO THE THING I BEG OF YOU DON'T DO THE THING. 

Right. Now that's out of my system, lets get this review done properly! So. I LOVED the Soul Screamers series, I didn't stumble across them until the series had finished back in 2013, and I was able to buy them all in a set, and I had a really jacked up sleeping pattern at the time so I was practically nocturnal, and anyway, I read one book each night and got them done in literally a week. Anyway, I totally loved them and couldn't get enough of them and as soon as I'd finished I wanted to start reading, the series was everything you want in a good series, there was action, romance, humour, and it was totally surprising. Like I didn't see half the plot twists coming, particularly in the romance aspect, and so once I was finished I was sad because it was over. 

Then, not long after, I stumbled across GoodReads with a brand new book page for a new book by the author, and I've been SO excited for this book and the wait has seemed like it's been *insert Titanic GIF here*, so yeah, it's been a long and painful wait for me. I know I shouldn't have expectations, but because I loved Soul Screamers and I love the author, I had pretty high expectations for this book, as well as abnormal levels of excitement every time something new came out about it. I was not at all disappointed. The Stars Never Rise met my expectations, and them smashed them in to dust. I haven't altered the synopsis, because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, or take away the surprise element. 

From the very first page, I was sucked in to this world that was original, and kind of scarily realistic. I don't know quite what it was, but I could picture this world and the Church so clearly, perhaps because I would imagine things are kind of like that in certain areas of the US, not like...that extreme, but you know with the small town and the very religious people and so on. I'm kind of wondering if that was were the author got the idea! 

Anyway, the world was very well created, like I said, it was frighteningly realistic, and then with the demons and the degenerates, it was all very different, and to my mind, it's unique. I mean there are a lot of demon books, these ones had a feel of Supernatural to them, but I still feel like we have more to learn about them. The world is built from the first page, and as you carry on reading it gets built up more and more, and you find yourself totally lost in this little town, that's startlingly vivid. I was absorbed in the world of the book, and to me, that's one of the big things a book has to do or get me to do, in order for it to make my list of favourites. As well as having huge doses of originality which this book does. 

The book had spades of originality with it's world, and the Church, and the demons and the degenerates and the exorcists and then the whole Finn thing, which has me so very curious and also fills me with a bit of dread at the possibilities for what could happen to his character. Either way, I was fascinated by the world and couldn't turn the pages fast enough, I was lost to the book, lost track of time, and nothing could distract me. It's rare for me to try and juggle eating dinner while reading a book, but I did it for the first time in pretty much years, I think, for this one because I couldn't put it down, and then it was Kindle, which is easier to hold than a book while you eat, and to be honest, it wouldn't have taken much persuading anyway for me to carry on reading. The book pretty much enchanted me. 

The book has such a rich background to it's world and a rich history, and it was such an intriguing one, with bits and pieces of it sprinkled throughout the narrative, getting you more and more intrigued and wanting to know more about what happened to create the current world, not to mention wanting to know more about the actual world in its current state. We see one small area of the world, and in the next book it looks like we're going to see more and I'm really excited to see what the rest of the world looks like. What's so bad about the badlands? I mean, it's hinted at, and things are hinted at, but I want to actually SEE it! 

That's another thing, as you're reading, there's a very clear plot. Nina has to deal with Finn and co and the changes in herself, and get back her sister. It sounds simple, but there's so many twists and turns to the plot, it's hard to predict what's going to happen next so I was all fine with sitting back and enjoying the ride, being either shocked or delighted with the new developments. Now there's a couple of huge reveals, one involving Finn and one that I'm not even going to hint at, these two huge reveals not only surprised you and gave you plenty of intrigue, but they perfectly set up the next book without taking away from the plot of the first book. The second book was set up subtly and like an afterthought, but at the same time, you finish reading this, read the very last page and you're like, "YOU CAN'T END THERE!?" and so then you're having to deal with a book hangover and coming to terms with the inevitable wait for the next book. The world, the politics, the characters and the plots twists and turns all combine to make the plot fairly complex, but subtly so. Not "Damn I need to sit and think and concentrate, and write notes as I read to keep up" complex, but "deceptively simple until I smack you with my bomb drop and suddenly everything has changed and nothing is as you thought it was and now everything is intricately complex" complex. If that makes sense. 

The Stars Never Rise is very well written, it's easy to read, the prose flows smoothly and is paced perfectly. Little bits of info about the world and how things work are sprinkled throughout, and any larger passages with information are written concisely while giving maximum knowledge, and smoothly slotted in to the narrative. The world building is crafted subtly, the world becoming more and more real as you read. There's plenty of action, edge of the seat tension and suspense creating such a strong atmosphere it oozes off the page and engulfs you as you read, so you'll be reading a fight scene maybe, or one of the other tense scenes, and your heart will be racing and you'll be trying to read a lot faster than you actually can. This book is also quite dark, the darkness kind of oozes over the world and the plot, in the form of the, shall we say, punishments for broken rules and so on, among other things. There were a couple of grisly scenes that were so atmospheric you felt like you were there.  There's some humour and there's plenty of intrigue that will carry on in to the next books. 

There is romance, and I felt like, under the circumstances which were most unusual, it developed fairly naturally and I can't really say it's subtle, because Finn and his lack of filter, but at the same time, at times it was very subtle, it was just there and it belonged there. It's not really insta love, it's more like insta attraction, I don't usually like insta anything when it involves romance, BUT, (I have no idea how to word this so bear with me) it was written so very well, that like I said...it just fit. It seemed completely natural that it would happen, and it belonged there. There are, however, complications, very interesting complications that I have no idea what's going to happen with them. I literally cannot tell/see how they're going to pan out, I mean, I have a foreboding thought, but I'm usually wrong, so I have no idea how it's going to play out. So, you have this cute, warm and fuzzies romance thing going on, they clearly like each other, and at the end of the book....it's not all rainbows and unicorns and happily ever afters, because you know, there's more books, but also, there's a fairly huge obstacle to overcome. I'm SO excited to see how this pans out, seriously. The romance in Soul Screamers was so well done, and then everything flipped and I remember sat there with my mouth hanging open and my brain screaming "oh my god" at me, and I'm so excited because whatever the author does regarding these....complications, it's going to be big and surprising and totally  unpredictable! I have seriously never come across a romance like the one in this book. Ever. 

Now the last thing I need to talk/ramble about, is the characters. I LOVED the characters. Except for Devi, I kind of think she's a cow, but then I'm assuming there's a reason for it and maybe I'll grow to like her as more of her past comes out, and to be honest, she was kind of adding the humour at certain points and I found myself snorting so maybe I don't dislike her all that much. Each character is so well written because they all have a backstory that has contributed to shaping them and how they came to be part of this group, and the backstories for each character adds another dimension to them, making them believable and realistic, and making them pretty much step out the book. I'm so curious to know more about each of the gang and their past. 

Vincent has written another female lead that I managed to connect with near enough instantly and from that point on, I was in Nina's corner the entire book, rooting for her, watching proudly as her character developed and became kind of badass. Nina, to me, was such a mix of things, she was strong, she was brave, and she had a vulnerable moment or two I think, and she becomes so badass, she has so many dimensions, I really loved her character! You have to admire someone who's THAT good to her sister, I mean...I don't want to give anything away, but I think Nina, had the best reaction you could expect in this particular world, she was so supportive of her sister. I've also got plenty of admiration for her and the things she did so she and her sister could survive. I can't get over how much I came to love this character more and more as I was reading. I kind of felt like Mellie took her for granted a bit to be honest! 

Finn is another character I was delighted with, clearly there is something going on here, and I want to know what it is. I also want to know what's going to happen to him like....now! I want to know more about him and his past and what he is, exactly. Now as much as I love all the YA male love interests, Finn was refreshingly different. He literally has no verbal filter and it was completely brilliant, rather than him being all moody/broody/etc. I need more Finn! 

I also loved Grayson and Reese and I feel like there's more to learn about them, as well as Annabelle who we didn't really see much of, but I'm kind of suspicious of her because various other books/tv shows have made me quite distrusting of characters like her haha! There really is a whole cast of interesting characters that I have a desperate need to know more about! They, along with the world created, made it incredibly hard to leave the book at the final page. I did't want it to end! 

The Stars Never Rise is an original take on demons and religious fanaticism. The world was absorbing, harsh, dark and rich. The book was again, rich, dark, entertaining, atmospheric, gritty and completely absorbing, with characters with wildly different personalities, and intriguing backgrounds. The Stars Never Rise not only has humour, and action, but it has an atmosphere that slinks off the page and wraps you up so you feel it like a physical thing. The Stars Never Rise is full of twists and turns you don't see coming, and at times it has you on the edge of your seat. The Stars Never Rise is a fantastically strong start to yet another fantastic series from Rachel Vincent and I don't know how I'm going to cope in the wait for the next book!

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