This sequel to The Stars Never Rise (2015) follows Nina and her friends into the desert wasteland of a post-apocalyptic, demon-ridden United States.
The white teen’s ability to exorcise demons has made her a wanted criminal in the eyes of the Unified Church, which now dominates what’s left of America. Nina and her diverse band know, though, that it’s actually run by demons. Nina’s major concern is her pregnant little sister, Melanie. If Melanie gives birth and there is no available soul for the newborn, the baby will die within hours. Nina is ready to give hers up if necessary. When Melanie does give birth, the result of that experience pushes Nina toward a new goal: conquering the demon city of Pandemonia and killing Kastor, the demon who runs the place. Unknown to Kastor, Nina has a secret weapon. Narrator Nina packs a lot of exposition into the opening chapters, mixing it with the violence that pervades the book. Vincent’s metaphysical superstructure is complicated, a situation not helped by its jargon. Still, thanks to Nina’s straight-from-the-hip narration and plenty of action, readers won’t have any trouble staying focused. Readers may find themselves wondering what this dystopian world with finite souls and regulated pregnancies is saying about their own, and then there’s the dubious morality of Nina’s boyfriend’s possession of an autonomous (hot, dark-skinned, green-eyed) human.
A page-turner for readers who don’t look too hard. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)