My Soul to Save: It’s okay

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Rachel Vincent Soul Screamers 2. My Soul to SaveMy Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save begins at a pop concert. The opening act is Addison Page, an up-and-coming singer who dated Kaylee’s reaper friend, Tod, back when he was alive in the normal sense. After her set, superstar Eden takes the stage. When Eden collapses mid-concert, Kaylee doesn’t feel the urge to scream, so she’s sure the pop star will be fine. But Eden dies, and when Kaylee sees the sludgy substance that wafts from the body, she learns that Eden didn’t have a soul.

Turns out that Dekker Corporation, a children’s media conglomerate (obviously based on Disney), is promising young hopefuls fame and fortune in exchange for their souls, and that Addison, too, has taken Dekker up on the offer. Tod can’t bear the thought of Addison suffering Eden’s fate, and so he, Kaylee, and Nash set out to break Addison’s contract and reunite her with her soul. Now, Kaylee must learn to navigate the eerie, dangerous Netherworld, while dealing with normal teenage annoyances like being grounded.

My Soul to Save is a quick read that moves along at a brisk pace, and it’s an OK book, but not as good as My Soul to Take. One disappointment is the romance. I still haven’t fallen for Nash. He’s a flatter character here than in the previous book, and he doesn’t do much to convince me that his feelings for Kaylee run deep. Sure, he’s angrily protective of her throughout the book, and the several scenes of makeoutus interruptus make it clear he lusts after her. But only in his rant to Addison, near the end, does he really seem to speak from the heart rather than from the id.

I’m also realizing that I simply don’t like books in which innocent people get stuck in Hell permanently. Sure, send them there if the plot needs it, but then make with the rescuing, OK? Toward the end, Kaylee narrates: “My dad said that I couldn’t save them all, and on my good days, I have to admit that he was right. Eventually, people have to learn to make their own choices, and to deal with the consequences.” Which is fine when you’re talking about people who knowingly sold their souls. But what about those girls from the first book? They’re explicitly said to be suffering in the Netherworld, but they didn’t do anything wrong, and one of them was actually sent there because of a choice that Kaylee made. My inner idealist was hoping that Kaylee’s trip to the Netherworld would include saving those book-one girls. My inner idealist was disappointed.

Soul Screamers — (2009-2013) Young adult. My Soul to Lose is a free prequel novella in ebook format. Reaper is a novella available on Kindle or audio. Publisher: 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 the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next… SOUL SCREAMERS The last thing you hear before you die…

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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