Ever since I finished If I Die by Rachel Vincent, I've wanted to reread the entire series in preparation for the release of Before I Wake. I got the perfect reason to do exactly that with the awesome Soul Screamers Reading Challenge hosted by one of my absolute favorite blogs, Fiktshun.
This is a super awesome reading challenge chock full of awesome opportunities to win awesome prizes that are just AWESOME. You still have time to join! Check out the details here!
So, without further ado, my review of the first book in the series, My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent.
My Soul To Take
Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh.
She doesn't see dead people, but...
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...
------This book... I'm not sure if there are words. I loved this book the first time I read it, and I love it now. For starters, It's such a unique idea. These days, everywhere you go in YA World you're very, very likely to bump into a book about vampires or werewolves or faeries or fallen angels. And a lot of times I like or love those books, don't get me wrong. But a book about bean sidhes (banshees, to the uninformed) is something I had never seen before these books and haven't seen since. The world Rachel Vincent has created is just SO INCREDIBLE. And the characters are deep enough that you can fall in love with them or hate them or at least feel SOMETHING about any of them.
Kaylee is an awesome heroine, a great main character. She's simultaneously an average girl with no idea what's going on and a strong, brave hero who will risk everything for others. Then there's the boys. Nash...and TOD. The best parts of Tod and his personality aren't fleshed out until later books, but even in this one he made me smile. Toss in Emma, the best friend, Sophie, the frenemy, and the secret-keeping aunt and uncle and it's impossible to read this book without feeling SOMETHING for all the characters.
If you haven't read this book, I VERY STRONGLY recommend you fix that as soon as possible. And if you have...well, read it again! I assure you, it's just as good the second time, if not BETTER!
I give this book a full <*><*><*><*><*>
Now, since this is my second time reading this book...
Down below is what was intended to be a short paragraph or two and turned into a monologue about what I found interesting about reading My Soul To Take again. Please bear with me as you read it, though it's long and ramble-y, and be aware that it contains some spoilers for My Soul To Take and the other books in the series.
Reading My Soul To Take for the first time, I'd known Tod would be awesome, thanks to the fantastic post advocating him in the YA Sisterhood's Crush Tournament. And I did like him. And I do love him. But I did notice a few strange things about him reading this book through again.
At first, he kinda sorta seems to very much dislike Nash. And obviously (as we know having read Reaper and If I Die) that is not the case. (Of course, by the later parts of the book, he's showing more concern about Nash's well-being.) But not only that, he seemed to very much hate bean sidhes in general, which is weird, because, reaper or not, Tod was once purely bean sidhe, and in the other books, as far as I can tell, he never gave any signal of disliking his fellow bean sidhes. He seems angry in this book, kinda jerkish. He doesn't exactly seem like the same nice (if dead) guy we meet in Reaper and get to know throughout the later books.
But I do have a theory on all that--Reaper takes place both right before and right after Tod becomes a reaper, so he's still retaining his human opinions. Then, by If I Die, Tod's met Kaylee and she makes him feel alive again, and happy. But in My Soul To Take, Tod's been dead for two years and he's pretty much become full reaper, just better-looking and with a better sense of humor.
I think Nash says something to that effect to Kaylee--something about Tod not having the same values and opinions as a human. In If I Die, Tod himself says it. Something like, "Only two years dead, and already it was getting harder for me to feel anything."
But deep down in there, I still see the Tod I come to love. And by the dramatic ending, he's definitely shining through the cracks of Tod's reaper-ness.
On the other hand, I made a startling discovery rereading this book. I don't hate Nash as much as I thought I did. And even though I still kind of am angry at him a lot and kinda hate him, I remember now why I used to love him. But he just doesn't get it. He's stubborn and angry and bitter and he won't let himself be convinced that maybe things aren't exactly as they seem. He's just a kid, honestly. The thing that's annoyed me most about his character is simply that he assumes that Tod is jealous of him or mean to him because Nash lived and he died. And Tod's just standing there knowing he loves his brother more than he will ever know.
Another thing I found cool was going back and reading Kaylee's dad's explanation of what happened the night Kaylee died. Because knowing what we know about that situation and the reaper involved (the stuff that happens in If I Die), it's really interesting to see the hints dropped and the base laid for later reference.
I know this is really long when it was supposed to be short, but I'd just like to mention Sophie and Kaylee really quick. Sophie...I'm forming new opinions on Sophie. I never really HATED her, just found her annoying. Reading Never To Sleep, I found a new respect for her, even if she was still kind of a oblivious, spoiled little girl at the end. Rereading My Soul To Take, I realized that's her problem. She's just a spoiled, oblivious little girl, so who can expect her to be brave and self-sufficient like Kaylee when she's never had an opportunity to be?
And then Kaylee. It was interesting to go back, knowing what was to come, and read about her when she was naive and had no idea what was going on, when she was more innocent and hadn't seen the horrors the Netherworld had to offer. Or the good things...certain others had to offer.
I loved reading this part:
"Reapers aren't our enemies, Kaylee. They just don't particularly enjoy our company."Oh, Kaylee. You have no idea what's in store. :)
Something told me the feeling would be mutual.
Anyway, those are my feelings on reading My Soul To Take a second time.
Again, a big thanks to Fiktshun for hosting this awesome fun time, and to Rachel Vincent for writing such great books!