Published: June 9th, 2015 by Delacorte Press
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.POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW.
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.
It's been a long, long time since I've read Rachel Vincent. I never got around to finish the Soul Screamers series and I probably never will, but I got pretty far in and really enjoyed it. I was hoping I would love this one (despite the butterfly on the cover because I'M SORRY BUT I HATE BUTTERFLIES. I forgave Incarnate for this grave betrayal because the covers all look so good together and because I'm obsessed with the book, but NOT THIS TIME), but there were two things that dampened any enjoyment I may have had.
More specifically, Nina's 15 year old sister's pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is obviously a thing. Sometimes it's even planned. Great parents and great kids can come out of it. But because I personally don't like children, don't really think I ever want them, I don't really like to read about pregnancy in books. Call it wrong or ridiculous or whatever you want. I just rarely like it, and so when this whole Mellie situation happened, I was kind of already done.
Yup. I mean, they're not declaring that they're soulmates or in love right from the get-go. But they're kissing basically immediately. And Aimee's post got me thinking, okay, yeah, this happens in real life. Of course it does. But I've never experienced it, and so I'm constantly rolling my eyes at stuff like this, unless the MC is at a club or a party or something where that kind of stuff is basically expected. And very, very quickly, the little band of misfits Nina has found herself in is declaring that Finn really, really likes her. After 24 hours. And telling her not to break his itty bitty heart, basically, and then they're holding hands and kissing and there's this Weird Thing About Finn that makes it a little awkward, and Nina gets over it entirely too quickly. There was no development. Given more time, I could have shipped it. But they went from 0-60 within the blink of an eye, I feel like.
Okay, again, you can disagree and call me ridiculous or close-minded or whatever you want. But I don't like to read about religion in my books, and, well, it played a pretty big part here. I honestly don't think God is ever strictly mentioned, but the Church rules. Fornication is a sin. Everything is a sin, and you're punished accordingly. Burning at the stake included. And so, I dunno. I guess the overtone of it was just not my thing.
Nina's determination to save her sister was admirable, and I liked that it was basically the catalyst for the plot. And the degenerates, our resident soul eaters, could be pretty creepy and intense when they wanted. There were two or three interesting plot twists that I definitely didn't see coming, and I love being surprised. (Unless that surprise involves a beloved character DYING, because then I just want to rage smash everything. There was none of that here, though if one of them had died, I don't think I really would have cared.)
The world-building just . . . left something to be desired, I guess. It's all kind of just thrown at you instead of being shown, experienced. The Church took over and saved the day from the soul-sucking degenerates, and now everyone has to live by their distinctly nun-like rules. Okay, but why? What purpose does that serve? Is it just because a degenerate would never act that way? Well, that was obviously wrong. And there's this thing about soul donations that barely made sense to me.
And once I was about 60% through, I started skimming. A lot. (Not as much as in An Ember in the Ashes, but...) And the secondary characters? A little too two-dimensional for me.
tl;dr: I mean, I think the big, obvious caps show you why I didn't like this book. 2.5 stars.