- Young Adult Fiction
- Soul Screamers, Vol. 1: My Soul to Lose / My Soul to Take / My Soul tSave (Soul Screamers 0.5-2)
Soul Screamers, Vol. 1: My Soul to Lose / My Soul to Take / My Soul tSave (Soul Screamers 0.5-2)
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.
And so I did.
Soul Screamers Vol 1 is a 3-in-1 collection of My Soul to Lose, My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save. The first being a sort of short story/prequel thing and then the first couple books from the series. Convenient, yes, and I read the whole damned thing in like 3 days. Considering I work full time and have a wild and crazy 2 year old that is epic time.
LOVE this series. Rachel Vincent totally pulled me into her world of bean sidhe (pronounced banshee) and the Netherworld. I can totally see why Kaylee was a favored heroine.
Kaylee Cavanaugh has panic attacks. Okay, not exactly panic attacks, but that’s what she calls them. Normal panic attacks don’t involve sickening dread, deafening screams that leave you hoarse, and the matter-of-fact knowledge that the person causing the panic attack is going to die.
Kaylee was raised by her uncle and his family after her mother passed when she was young and her father pulled a no-show dad number and took off to Ireland. Constantly in the shadow of her socialite cousin, Kaylee really didn’t register on many radars. That is until she discovers the truth behind her screams.
After an uncomfortable stint at the local psych ward Kaylee thinks she is pretty much crazy, or dying of a crazy brain cancer. Thanks to the hotness known as Nash Hudson (let me take a moment to get my hormones under control) she learns that she is not crazy, but part of a long line of bean sidhes, a Gaelic group of folk that, when paired male and female, help souls cross over. The female holds the soul with her scream, or highly swoon worthy singing as heard by the male bean sidhe, and the male directs the soul on where to go. Only problem is this sort of soul guiding really pisses off the resident reapers (as in the Grimm kind) who would much rather harvest the souls on their own.
In the prequel, My Soul to Lose, we see what happened at the mental hospital and why Kaylee is so determined to find a way to prove she is not crazy. It is heart wrenching to see the hurt and pain she went through there. To know her only family left her there to basically rot. Finally her uncle gets her out, but Kaylee is left with so many questions.
My Soul to Take kicks off about a year after the whole screaming episode that landed her in the hospital. Soon we are pulled into a world were girls are dying in mysterious ways and Kaylee is there bearing witness to nearly all of them. Her urge to scream for the souls nearly tears her apart. Her BFF Em is beside herself, but Nash comes to the rescue by calming Kaylee down. As a fellow bean sidhe he has some special mojo at work. Together, Nash and Kaylee soon figure out there is a rogue reaper out there and they team up with Nash’s older, Tod, who just so happens to be a reaper-in-training to get to the bottom of things. Kaylee begins to tap into her abilities and Nash is there for her every step of the way.
My Soul to Save takes us on another journey as Kaylee begins official bean sidhe training with Nash’s mom. Nash and Kaylee are now attached at the hip and Kaylee’s dad has finally given in to attempt to be the dad he never was. Everything seems to be going well, but an old flame of Tod’s, a megawatt star called Addison Page, has apparently sold her soul to get the fortune and fame she has. The best part, she is destines to die and be reaped in just days. A mega media mogul has made a business of getting young stars to sell their soul for fortune and fame without really explaining the fine contractual print; their soul becomes essentially damned. The crew works tirelessly till the very last minute to save Addison and her little sister’s souls before it’s too late.
Miss Rachel has great style. The books were a wonderfully paced fast read, even if it clocked at 570 pages all together. The insight to the world of bean sidhes, and the Gaelic background it came from, was fascinating. I have to say I am a HUGE sucker for anything Celtic/Gaelic. I am not certain how much was actually based on real Celtic folklore, but it was all very convincing.
Kaylee is adorable. She is good natured, but fierce in that ‘I’m not gonna take crap from you’ kind of way. She is loyal to her friends and family, but will not be a rug. It was great to see her kind of grow up with each book. She starts out thinking she is a sandwich shy of a picnic, but then finally embraces her lineage and her power.
Nash… Oh wow. I want a Nash of my very own. He is just as loyal as Kaylee and that totally shows in how he still stands by his brother. They are on different teams now, team bean sidhe and team reaper, but he still obviously cares for Tod. Nash also believes in Kaylee…fiercely. There is just nothing in this world hotter than that.
The action was pretty much non-stop and I never felt like the story was too predictable. The swoon-worthy moments between Kaylee and Nash were awesomesauce and I often had to either take a deep steadying breath or fight the furious giggles festering in my belly. In the end I see why Kaylee's crew put up such a great fight for her. She is a wonderful heroine and has a great ‘I’m going to do the right thing even if it kills me’ attitude. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the series shapes up!