The Stars Never Rise
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release: June 9th 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA
#1 in the Anathema duology
Sequel: The Flame Never Dies (#2)
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.
I went into this with relatively high expectations, especially considering all the good reviews this novel has gotten so far. And for the first 100 pages, I was pleasantly surprised, however, soon the novel just got worse and worse with every passing page.
I liked Nina, at times more than at others, but overall, she was a solid protagonist, with enough willpower and vulnerabilities to be a good heroine who could shoulder the weight of being the main character but also be relatable in some kind of way. And that's basically everything positive I have to say about characters. Melanie, Nina's sister, just seemed way too naive for her to seem believable, while also being kind of a real pain in the ass, and the members of Anathema were a joke. None of them had any personality that stood out, except for one member, who was pretty negative though. Seriously, why the fuck would you make your only memorable side character be so damn unlikable? All she does is give Nina shit all the time and be condescending and bitchy; the worst part about this is that it's all over a fucking boy. Shit, I am so fucking angry about this.
I am also really, really fucking angry about the heteronormativity in this fucking novel. There's three guys and three girls in the Anathema group (including Nina), and they all split up evenly into three different straight couples. How very convenient, and ... this is just dumb as fuck. Not to mention that the already existing relationship dynamics between four of the original Anathema group aren't ever really delved into, and the one that develops between Finn and Nina was one of the most extreme cases of insta-love I have ever come across. I am calling fucking shenanigans. Granted, Nina's at least a little more reserved and sensible about it, but the way Finn acts is not only fucking creepy and unhealthy, it also really grinds my gears.
The plot showed promise at first, because it was interesting and entertaining enough; I liked the exposition. However, as soon as Anathema are introduced, which is ironically when things should have actually started being even more exciting, was when it all dragged and got boring. Which I blame on either all the dull and lame characters or/and on the fact that I was so enraged by everything I have already listed above.
In the end, I am very disappointed 'cause I expected so much more, especially after that nice exposition. I'll probably read the sequel, but honestly, I don't expect a lot from it, seeing as it's only a duology anyway (as of now). It's a shame.