Regular readers of my reviews will know that I fell in love with this series once I read the third book, MyOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I fell in love with this series once I read the third book, My Soul to Keep; despite the first two books being really enjoyable, they didn't completely wow me. But then I picked up My Soul to Keep and was blown away. With each new release, Rachel Vincent has pushed the limits of what it means to be blown away, and the same goes for Before I Wake. Wow... It's absolutely incredible.
Kaylee is now an undead extractor, she retrieves stolen souls. But being undead isn't like living but with extra abilities, death takes away what it feels like to be alive. When not around people - especially when not around Tod - Kaylee falls into deep melancholy and becomes completely lethargic. It's not a feeling she can kick on her own, and ends up drowning in thoughts of how difficult it is to pretend to be living, and the people she's hurt What is the point in anything when everything is so difficult and she can't make things better? In previous books, Kaylee is always determined to do all she can to save others, always thinking about how she can beat the bad guys and make sure everyone is safe, so it's really hard to see her so depressed. You just want to give her a hug and hand her some chocolate, demand someone cover Tod's shift at work so he can bring her back to her old self.
Because Tod really is all that's keeping Kaylee's head above water. He is completely and utterly devoted to her, and you can't help but fall in love with him even more. Tod is the light amongst all the dark. Or more accurately, the flame - because, damn, do things get hot and steamy in this book! But it's a fire that burns from a love so tender, so strong, so infinite, it's beautiful. There is absolutely nothing Kaylee and Tod wouldn't do for each other, and their love is so amazing I could cry.
However, Kaylee doesn't really have the time to be depressed or to try to fight it with Tod's help. A serial soul thief is, well, stealing souls. Madeline, Kaylee's boss at the reclamation department, is pulling her out of training early to tackle the soul thief, extract the souls, and bring them back to be recycled. Except he/she/it hasn't been stopped yet, and the task isn't as easy as it seems. Also, Thane, the rogue reaper who stalked Kaylee the days before who Tod handed over to the hellion of greed, Avari, is back. Back, and causing trouble.
I can't say much more about what happens without spoiling things, but this book is one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching I've ever read. There is more death in this book than there has been in any of the previous books, and not everyone who dies is simply a stranger or an acquaintance. A number of characters from previous book make an appearance, but not all is as it seems. Everyone Kaylee knows and loves is in much more danger than they ever have been before, and this time round, the stakes are so high, I actually couldn't see a way out of the extreme danger Kaylee, her friends and her family find themselves in. This time round, Kaylee has to stop what could be the apocalypse, and the destruction of life as we know it. There were tears, there was indescribable sadness, and there was roller coaster of emotions constantly eating you up. There is no let-up with Before I Wake, Vincent forces you through extreme fear, for these characters we love so much, and seething rage over what's happening to them.
Kaylee has grown so much since we first saw her in My Soul to Take. The girl we see towards the end of this book is a girl who means business. With anger and determination boiling through her veins, Kaylee will stop at nothing to make her enemies pay, and you are so completely behind her. Before I Wake is fast-paced, chock full of action and blood, and a completely devastating read. It's the best book in the series so far, absolutely phenomenal, but considering how it ends, I know With All My Soul, the seventh and final book in the Soul Screamers series, will be better yet. Vincent pulled it off again; Before I Wake is a book that will stay with you a long time after turning the last page....more
Being such a huge Soul Screamers fan, when I heard Mira Ink were finally going to publish Never to Sleep inOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Being such a huge Soul Screamers fan, when I heard Mira Ink were finally going to publish Never to Sleep in the UK, I was ecstatic! I have been waiting to read Never to Sleep ever since Rachel Vincent had first mentioned it on her blog, and now I finally have it! And just as I expected, it was amazing!
Never to Sleep is a novella set during the events of If I Die - but completely separate to everything that happens in that book - well, except for Kaylee and Tod's public display of affection, which we see from the outside this time. Never to Sleep follows Sophie, Kaylee's spoilt, self-centered, entitled younger cousin, as a chance meeting with a new student and the sudden appearance of a soulless reaper bring about Sophie's first visit the Netherworld, and opens her eyes to all things evil.
Sophie may be a right cow and too shallow for words, but in this story, I could only admire her. With hardly any information about what's happened, why it happened, and how, Sophie manages to keep her head despite being completely terriefied and the thousands of questions running through her head. Because of how shallow and bitchy Sophie is in all the previous books, it is to assume that Sophie is all surface and no depth, that she's actually stupid - but she's not. She might despair over being related to Kaylee, but the fact that they are is clear throughout the story through how alike they are when in trouble. She actually has a head on her shoulders, and is capable of thinking clearly and logically even under huge stress. Her ability to think on her feet and able to get herself out of the tightest of scrapes is just brilliant! Sophie is not a dumb bimbo; despite her moments of annoying self-centered behaviour, Sophie is someone to be in awe of.
Being a short story, it's a little hard for me to say much more without spoiling things. It's awesome to be introduced to new characters and to revisit old ones. It's even better to have questions that need answers, that will hopefully be answered in the next book, along with all the left over questions from If I Die.
It's a fantastic story, and I'm excited to see where it all leads in Before I Wake. All Soul Screamers fans should read it!...more
I have been such a huge fan of this series since the very beginning, with the announcement of each new instaOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I have been such a huge fan of this series since the very beginning, with the announcement of each new installment causing much squeeing and excitement from me. Hearing about Finale, I was super excited but also a little sad the series was ending. But what I didn't expect was to finish the book feeling so disappointed.
With the death of the Black Hand - Hank Millar, Nora's biological father - Nora now has to lead the Nephilim army, bound by the oath she made to Hank before his death. If she doesn't lead the army, both her and her mother will die. Yet, she is under orders from the archangels to stop the war. How can she lead an army, and stop a war? The fact that she is only newly Nephil and not as strong as most, and because of her relationship with Patch, a fallen angel, the people who are supposed to be loyal to her do not trust her or think she's up to the job, and are just waiting for her to put one step wrong and put someone else in her place. Her relationship with Patch must remain a secret, and she must start to train with Dante, a Nephil who was Hank's right hand man, to get the Nephilim on side. Nora does not have an easy task ahead of her. Add to the mix a shady archangel who seems to be out for Patch's blood, and Nora's life has given a whole new meaning to the word "difficult".
Finale sounds pretty exciting, and going by the previous books in the series, it should be, but I really wasn't feeling it. There have been various things that niggled me in previous books, but they just drove me round the bend in Finale. We're four books down the line - the very last book - you would have thought Nora would have gained some common sense by now. Unfortunately, her insecurities stop her from thinking logically, and she continues to jump to conclusions and doubt Patch, and she makes rash decisions because of it. Ok, I don't like having heroines who are completely perfect, but it would be good to have seen some growth in Nora's character. Sometimes I wanted to shake her, sometimes I wanted to slap her, and sometimes I hardly understood why Patch was still with her! God, he must have the patience of a saint. I just didn't like her at all in this book. With every page, I was pretty much thinking, "Come on, Nora, buck up!" Sure, she has a lot to deal with, but it was just too much this time round.
For a final book, things need to be tied up, but it's a whole book, so it needs to have it's own plot and it's own conflict. Both of which Finale has. However, there were a few conflicts that just seemed resolved far too easily. I can't really go into the one that bothered me the most, too spoilery, but oh my god! There really needed to be a lot more going on with that issue, seriously. And then we had the ending, the finale. I expected more. If I was to talk about the whole thing (which I won't, spoilers), it would sound pretty epic, but Nora's part? I just wasn't excited, I wasn't scared, I didn't feel much tension. There are a few points in the book that should have really rocked me emotionally, and they just didn't. I just didn't seem to care about any of the characters in this book, and I finished thinking, "That's it?"
To be fair, the epilogue was pretty cool, I did like it. But on the whole? I remember reading Hush, Hush for the first time, and being completely wowed, and thinking how awesome this sexy fallen angel on a motorbike was. That guy seems to have disappeared in this book. Less sexy, more soppy. It was just too much. I don't know, maybe I wasn't in the mood for it at this particular time, maybe I would enjoy it more if I read it another time, but I just finished feeling so underwhelmed. It has to be said, Fitzpatrick is an awesome author, and her writing constantly kept me turning the pages addictively, despite not actually enjoying the story. But yeah, really disappointed. Do check out a few more reviews before deciding whether you read Finale based on mine alone....more
Wow! I don't even know what to say! Except that I'm so sad I read this book so quickly and have to now waiOriginally posted from Once Upon a Bookcase.
Wow! I don't even know what to say! Except that I'm so sad I read this book so quickly and have to now wait ages before I can read the third book!
This review is going to be difficult because there are major things that happen and the hints of them start fairly early on, so I have to be careful about spoilers. I would suggest those who would like things to be a complete surprise stear clear of the product description on Amazon UK. It tells you more than is necessary in my opinion. Back to the review, I will start with the things I can talk about. The relationships in this book - all of them, friendships as well as romantic ones - are effected in this book. Friendships become strengthened, particularly between Sydney and everyone else, which worries her slightly. She's forever questioning her relationships with these people as this is a job ad they are not human! But for people who aren't human... they're not too bad. Because she's a Moroi, and particularly because she's a Moroi princess, Jill's relationship wih Micah becaomes strained. Her life gets more chaotic, and she feels uncomfortable with hiding things constantly, but their relationship also progresses a step, which leads to her worrying about her fangs. She's finally realising how complicated things can be. Sydney gets herself a boyfriend with a fellow knowledge geek, which provides endless amusement, but I will say no more. There's a almost a four way love square (not a triangle!) going on, which sounds complicated, but provides moments of "aww!"
And then there's Adrian Ivashkov. And I am lost for words. This guy... this guy is truely amazing! Behind all his snark and confidence, he is the most caring and protective guy, and at so many times in this book I just wanted to hug him. But not always for being so lovely. He goes through quite a hard time in this book in a number of ways. My heart goes out to him, and I just want to take him away from everything, and bring him home. Ahem. And also slap Sydney a few times, because, GOD, that girl is blind!
Now for the things I can't exactly talk about. What I will say is that the secrets discovered in this book - and the questions they raise for Sydney about everything she has been brought up to believe - are going to effect the rest of the books in the series from this point on. There's no way they couldn't! This is major stuff! Not completely surprising in itself, but a surprise because a whole series and the first book of this series went by with no real hint of anything like this. This will effect everyone, and it's huge! I cannot wait to see where this will lead in the next books!
As I said, things that lead to the major events start on fairly early on, but despite this, I found the pace of the book, to begin with, to be kind of slow. I wasn't really bothered, because there could be no problems at all going on for these characters, and I'd still want to read about their everyday lives. But this book leans more towards firguring things out and discovering and the personal lives on the characters, more than the action and danger. Don't get me wrong, around the second half of the book things pick up, and there is the edge-of-your-seat action we're used to (and woaaah!), it just takes a little longer for us to get excited/anxious about things. It's still a fantastic book, and one I love!
THE ENDING! Oh. My. WORD! How anyone is going to be able to coherently talk about the end is beyond me. All I feel like saying is, "DIKARHGKHFDGAJKGRTEYUG!!!!!!" But that's not really good enough for a review. If you get emotionally involved in the lives of these characters, and you happen to be a particularly big fan of Adrian, well, your jaw will be hanging down on the floor! There are no words to explain how I feel, but I could probably cry! Mead is a horrible, horrible person to her characters - yet, there is absolutely no other way that situation could have gone. Not at this point. But oh, my heart aches!
An amazing book, and for multiple reasons, I AM SO EXCITED to read the third book in the series! Just brilliant! Fans of this and the VA series need this book! Pre-order nooow!...more
Being such a huge fan of the Elemental series, I have been super excited to read Fearless, the prequel to StOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Being such a huge fan of the Elemental series, I have been super excited to read Fearless, the prequel to Storm that shows some of Hunter's story. I should say now that although Fearless is a prequel, there are spoilers for Storm in it - in other words, things you discover along with the characters in Storm are quite clear from the very beginning of Fearless. You shouldn't read this e-novella unless you've read Storm - and if you haven't. you really should stop reading this review now either. Don't ignore this warning - I will be discussing Storm. You have been warned.
Back to the story. The Hunter we see in Fearless is a very different from the Hunter we see in Storm. In Storm, Hunter seems quite confident and self-assured - though not cocky or egotistical - around girls, or rather Becca. This is not the case in Fearless. In Fearless, he hasn't even really spoken to a girl before, so when Clare, out of nowhere, suddenly wants to know him, Hunter is not only taken aback, he's a little unsure of how he should act. Despite advice from both his Dad and his uncle about how people are drawn to him because of his abilities as a fifth elemental and probably intends to use him, he refuses to believe Clare is actually after anything. What could she be after? She doesn't even know him. So begins the awkward attempts to keep her wanting to talk to him.
This story is brilliant at helping us learn what led to the version of Hunter we see in Storm. The guy who lies to Becca and keeps track of her, the guy who points a gun at Michael and Gabriel. He learns some valuable lessons from his Dad and his Uncle Jay, and from his experience with Clare. Well, I say valuable - that would be their opinion. Fearless helps us understand that Hunter in Storm is a guy who wants to do his father and his uncle proud, a guy who wants to prove himself, even if they are no longer around. It's so awesome to see his relationship with his father and his uncle, how close they are, how much he admires them. This is amazing considering future events; I have been lucky enough to read an e-ARC of Spark, and now after reading Fearless too, knowing what I now know from reading both stories... wow, I am SO looking forward to Spirit, where Hunter has his own novel. It's going to be incredible.
There is one major difference between this story and all the others in the series I've read so far - it's a single narrative. Hunter tells this story on his own, Clare doesn't get her own voice. But this story is all about understanding Hunter, the guy we meet in Storm, and what led to him being the guy we see. Also, no spoilers, but considering the story, Clare couldn't have her own point of view. You'll see why when you read.
I have to say, with Storm and Spark, I wasn't Hunter's biggest fan, but with this novella, now I understand him, he's grown on me. A fantastic, insightful novella, and one that shows yet again just how awesome this series is! Brigid Kemmerer is definitely right up there with my favourites! I am so excited to continue reading the books and novellas in this series! ...more
I love the Elemental Series, so there was no doubt I'd be reading this book. However, as I'm always going baOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I love the Elemental Series, so there was no doubt I'd be reading this book. However, as I'm always going back and forth on whether I like Hunter Garrity or not, so I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book. Thankfully, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would!
Hunter has a lot to deal with. It's only been six months since his father died, the Merricks are weary of him, his grandfather throws him out, and Calla, the girl responsible for his father and uncle's deaths, as well as the fires that were blamed on Gabriel, is still out there. As a Fifth, he knows he should be trying to sort things out, but he just doesn't know what to do for the best. When he's trying so hard to focus, along come Kate Sullivan, and Hunter can't keep his mind off her. But Kate is a trainee Guide, and she's come for the Merricks. She has no scruples using guile and charm to get the information she needs as well as falling back on her Guide training. Since her mother's death, she feels she has a lot to prove. This is her job, and she will do it right.
This book is so emotional! Oh, Hunter really has it tough in this book. I dislike his grandfather immensely. I don't give a crap what he thought, treating a kid that way is absolutely disgusting. And Hunter is still a kid, and something I had forgotten. Reading these books, Hunter always seemed to come across quite tough and strong, and despite the fact that he's still at school, I did think of him as being as a lot older than he actually is. Being inside his head as much as we are in this book, you realise just how young he is. He has such guilt and self-esteem issues. Everything is his fault. He's a failure. How can he trust anyone, when no-one ever seems to give him a break. When Kate comes along, it seems like there's finally someone who gets him, someone who doesn't have it in for him. He just doesn't realise she's using him.
Kate... I had issues with Kate, even though she narrates half the story. Despite knowing how she thinks, and slowly getting to know her, I just couldn't warm up to her until three quarters of the way through. When you finally find out what's going on with her, things make more sense, but still, I just didn't really like her. She's bold and confident, I'll give her that, and when it really comes to the crunch, she steps up, but she just did too much early on that I couldn't get past. I know she didn't know the Merricks and Hunter like I do, and this is her job, but I love those guys. The fact that she was after them... I just really couldn't make myself like her.
As I said, this is an emotional book. Kemmerer will wrench your heart with this book. Isn't Hunter dealing with enough?! I didn't believe some of the things that happened. I just couldn't. I thought there must be a twist, something would happen, and things would be sorted. But no. When the Guides are about, there is real danger. And Silver, Kate's mentor, is a sadistic... fill-in-the-blank! Oh my god. He's just so wrong! It's like he has no feeling at all. He's inhuman. This book is absolutely unbelievable.
Spirit is also the steamiest of the books so far. Remember I said Kate was bold? Too right she is. And Hunter just doesn't know what to do, except go with it. It's quite amusing really - normally in YA, it's the guy making all the moves on the girl, with all the innuendo and flirting. Not this time. When Hunter falters, Kate will move his hands for him. That I did not see coming. Actually pretty awesome to see a girl who's confident and comfortable in her own skin and with going for what she wants, and not made to look like someone we should hate for it. Kudos to Kemmerer for showing girls are allowed to be sexual too!
I really loved Spirit, and further proof of what a brilliant writer Kemmerer is. It wasn't my favourite out of the first three, but it's still pretty awesome! And after the events of Spirit, I'm excited to see where things go for Merricks and Hunter. Life is most definitely not going to be easy! ...more
As I loved Storm so much, when I heard Spark was available on NetGalley almost three months before it's released, I jumped on my chance to read it ASAAs I loved Storm so much, when I heard Spark was available on NetGalley almost three months before it's released, I jumped on my chance to read it ASAP. Even though I did win a pre-order of Spark when I won Storm, I couldn't wait until it published! And I'm so glad I didn't. Spark is awesome!
Spark had a very different feel to Storm. This time round, due to Bill, Becca's father and the guide from Storm, wanting to keep Becca safe, and Tyler and Seth in jail for assulting Becca, no-one is after the Merrick brothers at the moment. However, if Bill doesn't report back to the Guides, others will come, which means everyone needs to not bring attention to themselves so the Guides don't have reason to come sniffing around. This isn't such a problem for Michale, Chris and Nick who have their elements pretty much readily available, but Fire is a little hard to come by. What comes across better in Spark is how being an Elemental doesn't just mean you can manipulate your element, but you also need it, like we need to breath. Earth, air and water are pretty much everywhere; fire? Not so much. So Gabriel is really struggling to not play with fire. But when a series of arson attacks start cropping up, Gabriel is suspect number one.
I had a bit of trouble with Gabriel in Storm. He's an angry guy and has a very short fuse (pun intended), and his tendency to snap at the drop of a hat was quite scary. In Spark, you get to understand what's behind his anger; a lot of hurt. He's struggling at school, his twin brother doesn't seem to want to know him and is keeping secrets, and no matter what he does, he only seems to end up upsetting people. On top of that, he still heavily blames himself for the death of his parents. He's having some self-esteem issues, feeling worthless and not wanted, and not able to do anything right. And hisautomatic reaction is to rage. It's really sad being inside his head and seeing exactly how he feels, though it's good to understand. You can't help but want to give him a hug throughout this novel, he really seems to need it. Thankfully, Layne seems to get that.
Layne is a quiet, shy, super smart 15-year-old who doesn't fit in - no, who refuses to fit in. She won't act like or wear the clothes she's supposed to. She has her own secrets and family struggles and because of these things and because of the wonderful, moral, and strong willed person she is - despite coming from complete opposite sides of the spectrum - she understands and gets through to Gabriel like no-one else can, and vice versa. There is amazing chemistry between the two of them, and things do get a little hot but it's all rooted in something much deeper; genuine feelings. And I loved how Gabriel was so, so respectful of Layne and her boundries. When she showed any sign of being uncomfortable, he would immediately stop what he was doing and go back to something safer without any problem at all. I was already falling in love with him a little bit, but those moments sold me. Layne and Gabriel are just perfect to gether, and perfect for each other.
It looks like Brigid Kemmerer has strong feeling towards bullying, because it was a major theme in Spark as well as Storm. Layne is bullied for not fitting in, for being a "loser", and her younger brother Simon is bullied for being a "retard" because he's deaf. He is actually the coolest little dude ever and I want to adopt him! His determination to play basketball despite being deaf is just awe-inspiring, and his desire to be treated just like any other person just makes me so sad, because he's not. The treatment he and Layne have to put up with is absolutely disgusting. I was absolutely seething while reading all they went through. How anyone feels they have the right to treat people like that is beyond me, and it just makes my blood boil. But Gabriel tries his hardest to keep the bullies off their backs, and treats Simon exactly how he should be treated. Simon hero worshipped Gabriel a little anyway for being so great at basketball, but to then have this really cool guy give him the time of day, and try to understand him and talk to him, simon is just over the moon. An you can't help fall in love with Gabriel even more.
Because of the issues he has with his family, there are fewer scenes with all the Merrick brothers compared to Storm. But there are a number of one-on-one scenes with Michael. Gabriel and Michael have always had a very precarious relationship, but Michael often surprises Gabriel by trying to get through to him, as his brother rather than as his guardian, and these moments of almost peace, where the two start to understand each other are just beautiful. It's like watching a wound heal. It's slow progress, but it's getting there, and it's just wonderful. Despite their differences, it's obvious how much they both love each other, it's just sometimes, they both get things wrong. We do see a lot of Hunter in this book though. With Hunter seeming to not judge Gabriel for every out burst, and unlikely friendship blossoms between the two of them, but Gabriel being Gabriel, and considering all that came out about Hunter in Storm, Gabriel never seems to completely trust him at first. But then Hunter was going to kill him in Storm, so you can't really blame him.
The action in this book is quite different from Storm. As I said at the beginning of this review, no-one is after them, so they're not fighting people. Gabriel is fighting fire. These arson attacks aren't just ruining property, they're putting lives at risk, and with the help and encouragement of Hunter, Gabriel decides to try and help. Another thing Spark makes clearer is how the elements seem to have their own awareness, Gabriel oftens talks to fire and it seems to understand and responds, but Gabriel's control leaves much to be desired. It's not as great as it could be, and more than once things get a little close to going disasterous. The fire doesn't want to be controlled, it wasnts Gabriel to play, to help, and ignores his attempts to calm it down. It just goes on a rampage, claiming all in it's path. It's really quite frightening. But who is starting these fires, and why?
Spark is a fantastic novel that really tugs at your heart strings, has you sitting on the edge of your seat, and swooning other all the beautiful moments between Gabriel and Layne, and at every glimpse of the other Merrick brothers! Another amazing story from Kemmerer, and I am SO excited to see what she brings us in Spirit, the third book in the series! One of my favourite series of the year!