3.5-4 stars. There was something lacking in this one, it didn't have the BOOM ending that I've come to expect from Soul Screamers books. Sure it had a...more3.5-4 stars. There was something lacking in this one, it didn't have the BOOM ending that I've come to expect from Soul Screamers books. Sure it had a good ending, but it didn't grab me like others have. Did make me cry though, but not sure if that's because I was already a bit emotional.
It just didn't feel like very much happened. And I really got bored of certain things being lightly skipped over purely to build suspense. And so often.
Sad to say I had to put this one down. I did not like being made to sympathise with a character who betrays good friends, and thinks the rape, murder,...moreSad to say I had to put this one down. I did not like being made to sympathise with a character who betrays good friends, and thinks the rape, murder, pillage and forcing his culture upon others is a "necessary evil". I was also quite uncomfortable with the culture itself and how it felt that treating women and non-warrior men with the utmost disrespect. I couldn't get through it. I found myself putting off reading entirely so I didn't have to get through it which is a sign I should put it down. I'm very disappointed as I thought I would adore this series. Book one was decent and I'm sure the later parts of book two would be too but.. alas. :((less)
I.. didn't like this book as much as I thought I was going to. It was good, I loved the world and the demons and the magic system (if you c...more3.5 stars.
I.. didn't like this book as much as I thought I was going to. It was good, I loved the world and the demons and the magic system (if you can call it that) and the characters for the most part and there were events that broke my heart, others that made me laugh, and cheer the characters on. I love Leesha, and Rojer. But it felt linear. There didn't feel like much jumping off the beaten path to explore something you completely didn't expect. And my word Arlen is a whiner. Sorry but.. running away from the people who love you with barely a goodbye is not cool. I'm not a fan of his character. Anyway, it did feel much like a prequel rather than a book one, a build up book. Let's see where we go next, I have the next two to read.
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)
In The End features Fallen Angel Lucien enjoying his life on Earth, unaware that the apocalypse is near until the signs get too much. So once the Rapt...moreIn The End features Fallen Angel Lucien enjoying his life on Earth, unaware that the apocalypse is near until the signs get too much. So once the Rapture has happened he drives over to the spot of the Final Battle and waits. This is when he meets the Angel Lalael, a reject in the Higher Realms, who limped away from the battle to catch a breather and is determined that Lucien is out to kill him. Of course, Lucien sees him as petulant and when they both end up abandoned and stuck on Earth, they stick together out of necessity.
The first thing I have to praise is the opening. This opening was the excerpt Alex sent to me when she first asked if I'd like to review her book and I was so sucked into the prose that I was left feeling a little jarred when it ended. That's how I knew we were onto a winner with In The End and Alexandra Rowland. The opening is very Douglas Adamsesque without trying too hard to be him. It's lightly humorous with a unique plot and Alex's own, very comfortable voice.
My main issue with it was that I felt something was missing. You know when you're reading a book and it's great, you like it, but something isn't quite there and you can't put your finger on it? That. I also felt as though description was lacking a little. I struggled to create decent mental images quite often the way I usually do when reading. It is not effortless to imagine many of the things in this book. It took most of the novel to create any real kind of mental image of Lucien.. though once I did I realised he was one sexy Fallen, but that's neither here nor there.
Despite some of the issues I had with description, I have to give kudos for characterisation. Alex really brought these characters to life. Lucien and Lalael have been left on Earth after the final battle between Riel and Rielat and whether Lalael likes it or not, they have to stick together. Lalael doesn't instantly trust Lucien, in fact, I'm not convinced he realises the point when he does start to trust him but when it happens he does so begrudgingly. Lucien I find a funny little character. He's not as messed up as I'd expect somebody with his history to be, instead he's actually quite kind for a Fallen Angel. He has a cat called Antichrist and he cares about Lalael. Lalael's change almost made the novel for me. I was worried I'd have to count his character as a lost cause but then something happened and I found myself liking him more than Lucien which I really didn't expect because Lucien is awesome.
Alexandra Rowland has taken Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, and mixed them up in her own fictional pot of voodoo with her own particular brand of spices. I recommend In The End if you're a fan of Neil Gaiman style fiction. It's a really unique novel well worth a read.(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)