My Soul to Steal: One of the better YA paranormal series

young adult Rachel Vincent Soul Screamers 4. My Soul to StealRachel Vincent Soul Screamers My Soul to StealMy Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

At the end of My Soul to Keep, the relationship between Kaylee and Nash was in limbo. My Soul to Steal opens with Nash recovering but guilt-ridden, Kaylee not quite ready to forgive him, and Nash’s ex-girlfriend Sabine arriving on the scene. Nash and Sabine had an intense relationship two years ago but parted without closure after Tod’s death. Now, Sabine is determined to take advantage of the rift between Nash and Kaylee, and take Nash back for herself.

Oh, and Sabine is a mara, or Nightmare, who feeds by giving people horrible dreams and soaking up their fears. When Kaylee learns this, she’s sure Sabine is behind a new string of tragedies at their high school. The truth, however, may be worse still…

My Soul to Steal is literally painful to read at times. If you’ve been following Kaylee, it hurts to see the way she’s treated here, and to see the way this strong character is manipulated into doubting herself. I can’t say I ever really liked Nash, and in My Soul to Keep he messed up severely — and he doesn’t do much to redeem himself here. It’s not so much that he’s attracted to Sabine. I get why he’d have conflicting feelings. It’s the way it takes far too long for him to stick up for Kaylee in any meaningful way against Sabine’s bullying and manipulation. Tod has a huge agenda, but he’s right. Kaylee and Nash don’t belong together. I will retroactively like this book better if it’s the precursor to Nash not turning out to be Kaylee’s eventual love interest — and I will retroactively like it less if it leads to a mushy happy ending between the two. I’m not sure Rachel Vincent could make me “buy” a mushy happy ending for this couple at this point.

But enough about the romance. There’s another plotline here, though the structure of my review reflects the relative prominence of the two plots pretty accurately. If I have a gripe about My Soul to Steal, it’s that the balance is off. The romantic triangle drowns out the “evil forces invading the high school” story a bit too much. As wrenching as the love story is, I can’t help but think that what happens to some of Kaylee’s teachers and classmates is worse, and more irrevocable, and could have used more development. When this plotline does move to the front burner, though, it’s terrifying and well executed. It’s always enjoyable — in a creepy sort of way — to travel to the Netherworld and see what horrors Vincent has cooked up for Kaylee and for us.

While My Soul to Steal isn’t the strongest of the Soul Screamers books — so far I’d have to grant that title to Keep — this is still one of the better young adult paranormal series out there. Vincent gives us intense emotion, plenty of scares, and a wonderful heroine to follow. I can’t wait for book five, which will be titled If I Die.


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KELLY LASITER 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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3 comments

  1. Nice Review, Kelly. I found the Soul Screamer series as a free Kindle book and have followed the series since.

    I am looking forward to the next in the series. I like the premise and for me, it’s fun easy reading with a little romance thrown in. I do like that Kaylee sets a fairly good example for todays youth.

    I’m also glad she didn’t automatically take Nash back in after his lies, drug use, etc…

    I’ve missed seeing you around Goodreads! My fault, I’ve been so sick and basically bedridden since Dec. 3 but my disease is being better controlled now. Still stuck in bed but at least I can think again!

    Love the changes to your site, it’s brilliant!

    Stop by and see me some time!

    Kristi-The Book Faery’s Blog

    My twitter is @the_bookfaery

  2. Glad you are feeling better! <3

    Yeah, I love how strong Kaylee is and that she doesn’t just become a doormat because she falls in love. I don’t like Nash–never really did–but even if I did like him, I think it’s good for girls to see you can have boundaries in your relationship and stand up for yourself.

  3. Thank you, Kelly :o] I can’t wait to re-enter ‘civilization’ again! I cannot believe how much I’ve missed being sick and bedridden for so long-going on 3 years now. I usually rally around for a few weeks and can do some things with my friends and family but those times were precious and few. I’m hopeful that is changing :o] Once I couldn’t even get out of bed the last 5 months is when they sent me to the most wonderful specialist who has connections everywhere. She just moved here and I was so fortunate and blessed to have found her (hugest smile ever). So, yes, I am cautiously optimistic and hopeful that quality of life is just around the corner! Enough about that! Sorry to bring it up but want to share my joy!

    I like to see a female (or male) protagonist actually set a good example in books that teens read. If they can get one strong moral lesson across, it makes me happy. I liked the Anti-drug and Anti-abuse in the last book.

    Actually, I liked Nash until the last book-I felt like he wanted to be a better person because of Kaylee’s influence but alas, not so. I think that’s why I’m looking forward to If I Die.

    Also, this is one of the few series that actually doesn’t draw the same story out over 6-8 books as a few very popular series do-a deplorable money-making scheme or lack of creativity-I have no idea which, LOL, but I’ve written 2 reviews on each of those ‘series’ that run over $10 each for just over 200 pages. At least with The Soul Screamer’s series the underlying premise remains, of course, but there’s a new storyline for each book and that’s how it should be done.

    OK, done now, LOL!
    Hope you’re having a really relaxing Sunday!

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