Sales Alert: this short story in the Souls Screamers series is only $1.29 for KIndle and Nook right now and all proceeds benefit St. Jude's Children's...moreSales Alert: this short story in the Souls Screamers series is only $1.29 for KIndle and Nook right now and all proceeds benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital for the first six months. If you're planning on reading this, please consider purchasing it sooner rather than later.
So here it is: the conclusion of yet another of my favorite series. Did all the YA writers get together to plot to torture us in 2013?
No spoilers belo...moreSo here it is: the conclusion of yet another of my favorite series. Did all the YA writers get together to plot to torture us in 2013?
No spoilers below, even if you haven't started the series yet.
My favorite thing about Soul Screamers: Kaylee has grown so much over the course of these books. As a bean sidthe, or banshee who calls souls of the dead, she started out somewhat naive and unsure of herself, but grew into a strong, admirable young woman. She makes huge sacrifices for her friends and family, but has stayed somebody you'd still want to invite over for popcorn and a movie. 'Cause you know she'd eat some to be polite, even if she doesn't...feel like it.
Other things about the series that are done well: strong family bonds. (Aren't you tired of absent parents or parents who just don't "get" their teens and are nothing more than annoying roadblocks to a good time?) Well-defined secondary characters, many of whom have their own interesting story arcs. Mythology that is well thought out, with cool soul-calling and blood-letting. Humorous dialogue. Emotional turmoil handled in a reasonable way. Realistic depictions of how relationships with friends and exes change, with both anger and sadness. A love triangle that doesn't make you want to kill everyone involved. Sex handled in a way that is tender and funny and true. Cute, cute boyfriend. Swoony ice cream kisses. (view spoiler)[ :D (hide spoiler)]
I still loathe Sabine, though. And I wasn't a huge fan of the plot line with Emma that continues on through this book, nor of a certain baby/soul subplot. And unlike in the last two spectacular Soul Screamers books, I was frustrated with Kaylee several times because she kept making all these decisions that were clearly going to lead to no good and hurt people, even if they were made with the best of intentions. But props to the author for handling emotional responsibility and consequence in a way that felt satisfying, even if I didn't necessarily enjoy some of the things that happened.
Overall, With All My Soul offers exactly what you'd want in a series ender: high stakes, heightened romance and feeling, unexpected plot developments, and satisfying emotional resolution. I'll miss having a Soul Screamers book to look forward to in coming years, but I'm happy with how Kaylee's story ended. Fingers crossed we'll get a new YA series from this author soon, too!
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
3.5 stars Liked, but didn't quite love, although I think a lot of readers will go crazy over this one. There's a preview chapter for the Iron Fey spin...more3.5 stars Liked, but didn't quite love, although I think a lot of readers will go crazy over this one. There's a preview chapter for the Iron Fey spinoff at the end too, Julie Kagawa fans!
This is one of those times when I feel like I'm reading a totally different book than everyone else is. This just isn't my kind of realistic fiction,...moreThis is one of those times when I feel like I'm reading a totally different book than everyone else is. This just isn't my kind of realistic fiction, my kind of romance, or my kind of boy. Meh.(less)
I liked the majority of the rest, though I was indifferent to a few as well. Quick reactions to some:
"The Key" by Rachel Hawkins 3.5 stars--nice, if short, updated take on Bluebeard
"Figment" by Jeri Smith -Ready 3 stars--cute "Puss in Boots" story
"The Twelfth Girl" by Malinda Lo 2 stars, DNF
"The Raven Princess" by Jon Skovron 3 stars--the ending is what saves this one
"Thinner than Water" by Saundra Mitchell Extremely well-written, but pushes my comfort level. Totally get that it's an update on "Donkeyskin," I'm not too keen on incest being presented for YA where there's so little room to explore such a bewildering, emotional, and devastating topic. I'm very interested in reading this author's other books now, though, I just loved her writing style.
"Before the Rose Bloomed" by Ellen Hopkins DNF
"Beast / Beast" by Tessa Gratton 3 stars
"The Brothers Piggett" by Julie Kagawa DNF
"Untethered" by Sonia Gensler 5 stars Love, love, loved this one, and will be seeking out stories by this author ASAP. Great plot twist.
"Better" by Shaun David Hutchinson 4 stars - really, really liked this one as well. Great ending.
"Light it Up" by Kimberly Derting 3 stars Eventually became an interesting update on Hansel and Gretel.
"Sharper Than a Serpent‘s Tongue" by Christine Johnson 3 stars
"Sell Out" by Jackson Pearce 3 stars I liked this, but could have used a little more at the end.
-- Food porn. Really good food porn, written by someone who clearly knows how to make great food. -- It was cool that the fancy food was also...more Pluses:
-- Food porn. Really good food porn, written by someone who clearly knows how to make great food. -- It was cool that the fancy food was also balanced out by some everyday casserole-type foods, too. Even if the use of ketchup DOES make me cringe. -- Great parental relationships, especially with Cami's dad. -- I liked the focus on career, and how Cami thinks about different scenarios before arriving at her decision. I also liked the role that her dad may have played in it. -- I liked that Cami and Julian aren't planning their lives around each other, even though them not talking about things was unrealistic towards the end. -- But the end was cute, and Julian's future takes an interesting turn as well.
-- Really awkward, unsexy sex. I'd rather have YA-style fade-to-black style scenes than "we're going all the way" scenes where you're not entirely sure what's happening. -- Stilted, cliche dialogue between Cami and Julian, which is surprising because other conversations flow pretty well. -- I didn't enjoy the initial clash between them either, it felt over the top and staged, though I'm glad she gave as good as she got. -- I didn't love the cooking Indian food scene either; unlike all the other food parts, that felt really forced and weird. -- Do we have to have a prom scene? Bleh.
Anyway, I enjoyed some things a lot (seriously, it's hard to write good food and NA that includes convincing career ennui), but since a lot of the book's focus is on romance and that part wasn't great, I ended up with mixed feelings about this one. Frustrating since it could have been much stronger with maybe a couple more passes. I'd try out another book by this author. though.(less)