Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: My Soul to Take, by Rachel Vincent

Photo by rfduck

One night Kaylee and her best friend Emma sneak their way into a nightclub. They're having a great time, until Kaylee feels the urge to scream rising up her throat. She is convinced that one of the other girls dancing is about to die. Terrified, she leaves the building. The only one who can comfort her is Nash Hudson, one of the most popular boys at school, and his sudden interest in her is almost as confusing as the screaming.

She doesn't want him to find out the truth - this has happened before. Last time, she told her aunt and uncle about it, and they sent her to a mental health unit, where she was given drugs and not allowed to leave until she said she'd gotten over it, that her delusions were gone.  But when she confesses all, Nash seems to have an explanation...

I was originally drawn to My Soul to Take and the rest of the Soul Screamers series because it explores the banshee myth, and I was really intrigued to see how banshees could be placed into a teen fiction universe. I read a few positive reviews of the series, mostly from Jo at Once Upon a Bookcase, so I was quite looking forward to giving it a try, and happily I was given a copy at the MIRA Ink Blogger Party.

Kaylee is a thoughtful, strong-willed protagonist, who insists on pursuing the truth and won't take the easy way out. Nash doesn't have as vibrant a personality, but I'm sure he'll blossom in later novels, especially as his rivalry with Ted develops. The characterisation of the supporting cast was really good considering that this is a pretty short novel and there are quite a lot of secondary characters. I really liked Uncle Brendon, Aunt Val, Ted, and Emma. I didn't like Sophie, Kaylee's spoilt cousin, but I enjoyed disliking her and found her character convincing.

I did guess what Kaylee's dad's big reveal was going to be, but, despite various clues along the way, I didn't suspect what the final twists would be. At times the pacing is a bit off and it seemed to speed up a lot more towards the end, but I think pacing in a novel like this must be really hard. It's the first in a series of seven books, so Rachel Vincent had to give a realistic amount of information to the reader but also keep a lot of secrets, and I think she managed this really well, though Kaylee did seem a bit too accepting at times.

I don't think My Soul to Take is a lifechanging, must-read kind of book, but I'm sure it's not supposed to be. It's fun, competently-written supernatural romance/drama, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you like supernatural fiction and would like a break from all the vampires and fairies, give this a try.


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