In a world ruled by the brutally puritanical Church, sixteen-year-old Nina is just trying to get by.
The Church and its exorcists serve and protect the people. They're the only reason the world hasn't been enslaved by the demons still lurking outside city walls.
But when Nina's younger sister reveals a secret that could land them both in an unthinkable fate, she is willing to break all the rules to help her - even if it means disobeying the same people who are supposed to be protecting them.
And then, she meets Finn. And everything she believed about the Church falls apart.
Bestselling author of the Soul Screamer series, Rachel Vincent proves she knows how to write a dark, supernatural story right with The Stars Never Rise, the first in a series.
Firstly, the horror aspect of this novel is deliciously eerie. With sub-human creatures prowling around in the dark, hunting down the protagonists, and even hiding in plain sight, this book will have you second-guessing every turn it takes. And the monsters? They're scary, believable and layered.
As it goes for dystopian literature, the YA section is crowded with it, and often, writers can fall into clichés and borderline boring situations. Rachel Vincent sails above such common tropes. We are used to seeing technologically advanced dictatorships, strict social orders, but it is unusual to find the Church acting as a tyrant. Policemen and teachers are dressed in cassocks, and exorcists are the new armed services, making an interesting read. Perhaps it's too taboo for a lot of writers, but Vincent executes the Church's role and nature with skill and creates a unique world which draws readers in.
Anyone who loves a novel with a good team at the forefront will enjoy this read. If you're a fan of Team Avatar, The Golden Trio, the core Shadowhunter group, then make way for Anathema on your list. This group is written with familiarity and intimacy, giving an authentic sense of real friendship, even if they argue and bicker. The characterisation of all the characters was thorough enough for the introduction to the series, making for a set of believable, and lovable characters.
The love story between Nina and Finn woven throughout the story is difficult to get your head around. It's unusual, to say the least, and yet, Vincent makes it work. You may still feel uneasy about the nature of the relationship, wondering how it will work or even turn out, but there is a definite desire to see this pull through.
Layered with secrets and unexpected turns, you should most definitely get your hands on a copy of The Stars Never Rise.
The Stars Never Rise is released June 9th.