This review may well contain spoilers for the Soul Screamers series up to book 2.
My Soul to Save continues almost two months after where My Soul to Take left off and I found it even more unputdownable. I'm not sure exactly why. Perhaps it's because we now know Kaylee and Nash, we've been through Kaylee's discovery of her bean sidhe powers, and now we're able to follow the stories and properly connect with the characters. You don't just want to know what happens next, you need to know.
We find out a little more about the Netherworld and even see a little of it. This is something I'd been looking forward to and was not disappointed. It's chilling and entirely nightmarish, and I fell a little bit in love with it. The creatures within are creepy, the landscape is like something from a Salvador Dali painting, and even the plant life is scary! It is not a place to venture into lightly.
There are more interesting characters in My Soul to Save, as well. We met a few in My Soul to Take, such as Tod, but they are built upon further in this book. Tod we know to be Nash's dead bean sidhe brother, but we start to see his human side which didn't really show so much before. He becomes a more solid part of the Soul Screamers series as opposed to simply a side character and I really like that. His personality is fun to read as he continually causes mischief to keep himself entertained. We also meet Addy, Tod's ex girlfriend who happens to have sold her soul for fame and fortune, unknowingly condemning herself to eternal damnation by demand of Dekker media. The thing I loved the most about this particular storyline was how big a pop at Disney it was! It really made me giggle until it was revealed exactly how dark it really was. Libby the 3,000 year old reaper was also pretty awesome. Despite not meeting her too much, she still made quite an impact on me which is definitely something worth mentioning. And I still like Nash.
Considering how difficult it was for me to put this series down for just a little while during March, I am very much looking forward to picking back up with My Soul to Keep!(less)
Okay, I see what the big deal is with the Soul Screamers series now. I was a little worried for a while with all the hype swirling around the series b...moreOkay, I see what the big deal is with the Soul Screamers series now. I was a little worried for a while with all the hype swirling around the series but now that I've read My Soul to Take I totally get it. I wasn't really sure what to expect but I was not disappointed. This is a book that hooks you in and pulls you into the fast-paced story so deep that you lose hours reading it. It was such a pleasure to read that it broke me out of my reading slump and straight back into “oh god give me more please”. The writing style is so easy to slip into and enjoy, so even with the slightly familiar, yet simultaneously unique, young adult story I just didn't want to put it down, not even to take notes for this review!
I imagine that by now, most of you know that My Soul to Take features banshees. In this case, we are looking at Rachel Vincent's intriguing take on the Irish-Celtic myth of the bean sidhes, pronounced 'banshees', also known as 'woman of the faeries'. In the Soul Screamers series, a female bean sidhe wails when somebody nearby is close to death. However, there are also male bean sidhes who mythology didn't know about. Together, female and male bean sidhes can do fantastic things, which I won't tell you about because it's a pretty interesting section when Kaylee learns about her heritage and I'm not going to ruin that for you.
Kaylee is the kind of character that is very easy to connect with. She's no goody two shoes, which we see from the very first page as underage, her and her friend Emma sneak into a night club through the back door. Yet she's neither popular or entirely unpopular either. She's also an extremely caring person and has pretty low self esteem, though at times that can get a little annoying when she's constantly harping on about it, and to Nash despite all he does for her which proves otherwise. But I like her. Aside from the whole being a banshee thing, she is a relatively ordinary teenage girl and a likeable character. And speaking of Nash: he is nice. Strangely, though it usually does, the fact that he's a hot jock character who has the reputation of sleeping with many, many girls didn't really bother me. He clearly has an attraction to Kaylee and he is compassionate. What's not to love?
All in all, the Soul Screamers series is definitely a new favourite for me and I can't wait to read the rest. Go pick it up if you haven't already!(less)
It took me a little bit to really get into the book after reading so much adult fiction. I spent a while noticing faults that I might not have noticed...moreIt took me a little bit to really get into the book after reading so much adult fiction. I spent a while noticing faults that I might not have noticed before. However, it is a fantastic story and I really hope to see Kaylee progressing more in the next few books. :)
My Soul to Steal is bloody awesome. No, really. It took me a while to get back to reading this series but when I finally picked up My Soul to Steal I...moreMy Soul to Steal is bloody awesome. No, really. It took me a while to get back to reading this series but when I finally picked up My Soul to Steal I could not put it down.
Rachel Vincent introduces a new character into the fray in My Soul to Steal, Sabine. A living nightmare. Literally. And Nash’s ex-girlfriend. Just what Kaylee needs when she’s trying to overcome her and Nash’s problems from My Soul to Keep, right? Wrong. Sabine is one of those characters that you love to hate. She’s so… UGH! Frustrating. She’s a single-minded girl, which isn’t always a good thing, and she’s most certainly not afraid of hurting people in getting what she wants if they get in her way and she really makes me want to slap her something silly. And the fact that Nash spends so much time with her when Kaylee is clearly uncomfortable with this and he is trying to get her back.. well.. *facepalm* The boy’s an idiot. What can I say. After only a couple of weeks, Sabine and Nash expect Kaylee to go back to trusting and loving Nash, or to leave him. Relationships are not that simple and Kaylee has definitely not had enough time or space to forgive Nash.
Rant Warning. I’ve read a lot since my review of My Soul to Keep from people who really like Nash and can’t understand why people don’t like him and I have to reiterate my feelings on this. He had sex with Kaylee when a hellion was possessing Kaylee’s body and she had no control over herself or her actions and no knowledge that she was anything but asleep, and a part of him knew that, he was just too high to care. He tried to influence her into having sex with him when she wasn’t ready and not consenting. When she shook it off and told him no, he insulted her. In what twisted world is that okay? If somebody is not consenting to sex, it is rape. You can’t blame Kaylee for his Frost addiction, she made a mistake, a horrible one, yes, but she hardly held him down and released Demon’s Breath in his face, did she? It wasn’t her fault, and there’s really no excuse for what Nash did. It’s up to her if she chooses to forgive him, but she’s struggling with that and I 100% understand why she struggles to trust him. Perhaps she should have visited him when he was coming off Frost, but it’s understandable why she’s so uncomfortable after the things he did to her and the way he treated her. Rant Over.
Saying all of that, I love that the Soul Screamers series has me thinking so much about the characters, their relationships and how they deal with everything. I love that it makes me feel so passionately. Rachel Vincent has done an amazing job of creating three dimensional characters that you care about and you hate and hell, at times, I don’t mind Sabine. I want Kaylee to be okay, and Emma, and Tod, and even Nash, because they aren’t perfect. It’s so hard to create characters with imperfections that readers still care about and Ms. Vincent has done this perfectly.
Seriously, why hasn’t Soul Screamers been optioned for the screen yet? Can you imagine the Netherworld on the big screen or even the little one? It would be amazing.(less)
Before I Wake is book six of the Soul Screamers series and I will be talking about major spoilers from...moreOriginally posted to my blog, Once Upon A Time.
Before I Wake is book six of the Soul Screamers series and I will be talking about major spoilers from previous books as they kind of set the scene for this book. So if you haven't read If I Die - run now!
Anyway, so Before I Wake is the novel about Kaylee's adjustment from being an alive banshee to a not-so-alive banshee. Having been offered a job as an 'extractor' at the end of If I Die, Kaylee is still with us. And enjoying her whirlwind romance with Tod while trying to reassure everybody not in the know that she isn't dead and continuing at school. She didn't have to.. she is dead. But she has some unfinished business to take care of and the school seems to be the place she is most likely to find it.
I love novels about people becoming part of a new species and coming to terms with their new selves. This is one of the things I really liked about Before I Wake because while we are six books into the series and the idea of "dead but still with us" characters is nothing new, we experience Kaylee's becoming an extractor through her eyes. An extractor is more-or-less somebody who deals with stolen souls and the like and recovers them to their rightful place. As Kaylee is a banshee, this makes her the ideal candidate plus, the extraction department has a staff shortage and somebody is stealing souls. The trouble is, when she's on her own during this adjustment period, she forgets how to be human and we have to deal with these depressingly low areas of the novel which makes it difficult to enjoy in places. Sure the series has been getting a little darker but depression is something else entirely and I didn't feel like it was dealt with very well because the only way she feels able to turn this off is to be with Tod who teaches her how to live with being able to make herself as corporeal or incorporeal as she likes.
What's more, Nash and Sabine are being their usual selfish selves. I still can't understand why Kaylee sticks around them when they treat her like dirt, it really reminds me of an abusive relationship with Sabine tagging along expecting everything to go her way. Nash very much goes into whiny-little-teenage-boy mode in Before I Wake. He's still in love with Kaylee but she's moved on to Tod now and Nash is left with Sabine. He still has his addiction to cope with and after Kaylee framed him for her murder, he blames her for his little stint in prison too. As if she had a choice. Nothing makes me shout at a book more than frustrating characters and Nash and Sabine have to be some of the worst for this. What's worse? Kaylee goes with it! "I couldn't blame Nash for hating me." Yes, you can! You were murdered and having your best friend and family threatened. Don't be such a doormat! Sorry, getting into rant mode. This drives me mad and somewhat ruins the series for me.
However, it is saved by Vincent's magnificent storytelling. Even when I only kind of like the main story in the novel (I'm just bored of Avari and the hellions by now), I still find myself invested in what happens to our characters. Yes, even Nash and Sabine. But most of all Tod, Alex, Emma, and Kaylee's dad. Despite him abandoning her for most of her life and just deciding to be back in it one day, I like him. He clearly realises what a huge mistake he made and he loves his daughter. And Tod.. while I'd like to see Kaylee stand up on her own a little more without being selfish and reckless (and yes I consider her bouts of self sacrifice selfish), I do love the way Tod treats her. He tells her how amazing and wonderful she is when Nash would have treated her like a naive little girl. He lets her make her own decisions where Nash would have tried to stop her. And he tells her how wrong Nash is when Kaylee starts agreeing with the nasty things he says to her. He also makes me laugh, which is a bit of comic relief very much needed when you consider how dark this series has been getting.
So far, the book was maybe getting a 3 star rating. I liked it, but it wasn't the best thing I'd ever read and didn't quite live up to If I Die. Then we're struck with that ending. Those of you who have already read Before I Wake will know what I mean but.. oh my god. When Rachel Vincent wants to break your heart and leave you gasping for more, she bloody well means it. The ending of Before I Wake is so superb and shocking that I had to raise my rating by a whole star. It was that good. Before I Wake is an overall enjoyable Soul Screamers installment.(less)
Just a short story following Sophie, Kaylee's cousin around. I won't reveal the plot because of spoilers but glad I read it before Before I Wake as an...moreJust a short story following Sophie, Kaylee's cousin around. I won't reveal the plot because of spoilers but glad I read it before Before I Wake as an eye opener.(less)