Whoa. I knew this series got better at a certain point, based on ratings from trusted reviewers, but it’s still startling to go from steady 3 star books to a much higher rating. I’ve been waiting for Vincent to bring it, and she totally did. If I Die gets a bit darker and raises the stakes. Also, it’s a much more emotional read than the previous ones.
Up to this point, I really never had any feels about the Soul Screamers series. I’ve enjoyed it, but my black heart felt nothing in particular. Here, the feels appeared. Surprisingly enough, they were pretty much all romance-based. I say surprisingly, because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the romance and from a logical level I’m still not entirely certain. What I can say for sure is that Vincent does a really good job setting up the switchover to Tod. I still find the love triangle with brothers frustrating and am a bit disappointed that she and Tod couldn’t continue to be good friends. At the same time, they’re very shippable. As you can tell, I am conflicted.
The reason this works so well despite my complex feelings on the matter and the source of the feelings is the truth bombs Tod drops left and right. Tod has seen a lot through the course of the series, and he’s gone from a fairly passive observer to a major player in the game. His arguments for why he cares for Kaylee and for why they’re better suited than she and Nash are accurate. In fact, Kaylee suddenly becomes a lot more likable once the door closes on her and Nash. It’s shown that they’re not necessarily a good couple, though they wanted to make it work. Free of him, she’s a better person, more free to carry out those impulses she always had to argue with Nash about throughout the whole book; he never wanted her to help others or risk anything, but that’s the kind of person she is.
The plot follows along the standard mystery lines of the other books in the series. The difference is that the mystery has a more personal impact, because, at the same time, Kaylee’s faced with knowledge of her own impending, irreversible death. I think the plot was also helped by the fact that the adults weren’t kept out of the loop this time. The other books felt a bit like child’s play, no matter how dangerous, because, ultimately, there was always a cavalry of trained adults they could bring in if shit hit the fan. In this case, the adults were informed and the outcome still didn’t look bright.
What Left Me Wanting More:
If I Die had two main downsides. The first is that I totally called the ending in chapter one. Not every detail, but it was pretty obvious how everything was going to resolve. The second is that things do turn out rather conveniently. The ending could have been much more heartbreaking. Then again, this has been a fairly fluffy paranormal series, and its fans wouldn’t have been pleased with the sort of bleak ending I would have loved.
The Final Verdict:
Reading the Soul Screamers has now paid off. I only hope this quality can be sustained through the next couple of books, or even improved on.