By far the best part of the Soul Screamers series in the first two books is the mythology. Rachel Vincent makes use of Celtic and other mythologies to devise a paranormal landscape not quite like any I’ve ever read about. There’s a depth and cleverness here I generally don’t find in paranormal titles. The heroine learns that she’s a bean sidhe, more commonly known as a banshee. You know, those women who shriek? Flattering, amirite?
There’s more to the world then that, though. So far, Vincent’s also introduced reapers (as in grim), demons, and fiends. In addition, there’s the human world and the Netherworld, a sort of parallel to the world we knew, full of dark, paranormal creatures. The Netherworld is also full of carnivorous, poisonous plants. Also, I have to say that I love this book for including a Little Shop of Horrors reference. Thus far, the series has been pretty light, but the world building is good and leaves room for some really intense, heartbreaking stories.
Speaking of heartbreaking, I’d really love for the series to head in the direction of that initial short story in tone. In My Soul to Lose, the reader gets to see Kaylee’s time in a mental institution after she started screaming and wouldn’t stop. She has no idea why that happened until a year later in the events of My Soul to Take. It’s dark and creepy and awesome. Plus, this mental hospital had rules and didn’t leave the doors open for the patients to wander around like every other one I’ve read about in YA. So yay for door locks!
The cast has yet to make me fall in love, but they’re interesting. Kaylee’s a nice girl. She may actually be rather average looking, though I would guess a bit better than average, but she doesn’t have every guy ever falling in love with her. Plus, she and Emma, her best friend, actually seem to like each other. Best of all, even though Emma’s more popular, prettier and does well with guys, Kaylee doesn’t resent her in the slightest. The romance hasn’t made me swoon, but it’s nice that what I thought might be a love triangle with Nash and Tod so far isn’t. In the first two books, it’s just Nash and Kaylee building a fairly normal teenage relationship and dealing with ordinary relationship problems, while also having all that paranormal stuff.
What Left Me Wanting More:
At this point, I have only two concerns, one of which is more objective and one more subjective. In My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save, Kaylee’s relationship with her cousin isn’t great. In fact, her cousin comes off as the standard bitchy mean girl. I want to see this develop as the series goes along. I’m assuming it will, but I’ll be annoyed if that doesn’t happen. The other worry I have about my relationship with Soul Screamers is that it seems like this might get pretty episodic, more like Dead Like Me than Croak. I prefer my fiction to have a larger narrative driving the story forward, but My Soul to Save was basically another little paranormal mystery. While I will probably like all the episodes, just as I did with Dead Like Me, I might not like any of it as much as the beginning.
The Final Verdict:
That said, reviews seem to indicate that this series only improves, and quite a bit from here. Thus, I sort of expect I’ll come back, look at this review, and laugh at my concerns. That’s part of the fun, though, right? Anyway, that’s how I feel right at this moment.