The Stars Never Rise (Well of Souls, #1) by Rachel Vincent
Published by Delacorte Press on February 4, 2014
Genres: young adult, fantasy, urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, paranormal, romance
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I got halfway through this book, decided to DNF it, wrote a DNF review, picked it back up a few days later, and finished it.
Was giving this book a second chance worth it? Honestly, I’m not sure.
I liked My Soul to Take, and there was no reason why I shouldn’t have liked The Stars Never Rise. A post-apocalyptic world where, after an attack by the demons, a controlling ecclesiastical government was implemented? Teenage exorcists? It sounded so cool, and really unique.
The potential of this world is this novel’s strongest point. Everything else failed to make that leap from “all right” to “really good.”
Let’s talk about characters first. I liked them, but I couldn’t connect with them. While I commend Nina for doing what she needs to in order to get by, she felt mechanical to me. Likewise, her younger sister, Mellie, had potential, but she was often portrayed as sensitive and more loving, and I was getting vibes that, because of this, Mellie is supposed to be portrayed as a better person than her sister. And that rubbed me the wrong way.
We’ve seen that trope before, and I really don’t like it, because it’s not realistic. I have a younger sister, and, though she’s sensitivie, she’s definitely the tougher one out of the two of us. She would be Nina in this situation, not I.
But, like I’ve said, we’ve seen this before. An older sister filling in the parent role for herself and her sensitive, innocent younger sister, but is struggling to get by? An absentee parent? The older sister who must go to great lengths to keep her younger sister safe from the government after she gets in trouble/breaks the law/is selected for something? The older sister who discovers a secret, special, deadly ability that is so dangerous, suddenly she’s wanted by the government and goes into hiding with others like her?
The Hunger Games (at least, where family dynamics are concerned). Red Queen. The Young Elites. Angelfall. You guys, I’m tired of this trope. Authors, please stop writing it. Let the younger sibling be the one who does the work, for once, like Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses. Make them boys instead of girls. Or both, maybe. Just stop using this trope. I’ve seen it way too often.
In regards to the other characters, there were too many, and none of them were developed well enough to stand out except for Flynn. However, his…circumstance…made it very difficult for me to visualize him as a character, and this same circumstance also made me uncomfortable regarding his situation with Nina.
Don’t get me wrong; this is not a bad book by any means. All in all, this is actually a very okay one. It’s fun and different and thrilling, and, in terms of post-apocalyptic books, this brings something a little new to the table. But my inability to connect with the characters and my dislike of the sisters trope prevented me from enjoying this novel as much as my peers.