My Soul to Take: Solid YA fantasy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsRachel Vincent Soul Screamers 1. My Soul to TakeMy Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee Cavanaugh wants to be a normal teenage girl, but her “panic attacks” stand in the way. Kaylee can sense when someone is about to die. She can’t save the dying person, though, and can’t warn them. All she can do is let out an unearthly scream. If you’re familiar with mythology, you can probably guess what kind of supernatural being Kaylee turns out to be!

As My Soul to Take begins, Kaylee learns that her premonitions are real and that her screaming episodes aren’t symptoms of mental illness. Beautiful young girls are dropping dead for no apparent reason. Only Kaylee can see who the next victim will be. With the help of Nash, a gorgeous, popular boy who is also more than he seems, Kaylee sets out to learn who or what is killing these girls and stop the deaths.

Rachel Vincent does a great job of raising the tension and the stakes in the story, bringing the deaths closer and closer to home until the suspense makes you want to — well, scream! I also liked the mythology she has created. The parts based on folklore are well-researched and feel “rooted,” and the parts invented by Vincent make sense and hang together well with the folklore.

I’m not quite sold on the Kaylee/Nash romance yet. Nash is presented as this love-’em-and-leave-’em type who only dates conventionally beautiful girls, yet he goes from player to perfect boyfriend in 2.5 seconds when his life intersects with Kaylee’s. I’m just not quite convinced that Nash would be so into Kaylee if the metaphysics were taken out of the equation. On the positive side, these are questions that Kaylee asks herself, and asks Nash, throughout the novel. And, there are a few hints that Nash’s past might not be as lurid as school gossip paints it. As the series continues, I hope this turns out to be the case.

Overall, Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take is a solid YA fantasy featuring an original mythology and a strong heroine. If you liked Amber Kizer‘s Meridian, you will probably like My Soul to Take, and vice versa.

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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