After all the YA paranormal books I’ve read this last year, I thought I’d seen it all and nothing could surprise me. Then along comes Rachel Vincent’s My Soul To Take, first book in The Soul Screamers series, and completely blows me away.
Kaylee Cavanaugh just wants to get on with being a normal teenage girl. Things have been rough for a while, she lost her mum when she was only small and her Dad bailed out on her leaving her with her aunt, uncle and cousin. It’s hardly surprising she had that mini breakdown and ended up in hospital recently. But that’s behind her now. Or so she thinks. When she catches the attention of Nash Hudson, hottest guy in school, things definitely seem to be going Kaylee’s way, until young girls around her start dropping down dead for no apparent reason and Kaylee seems able to predict the impending death by screaming, very loudly. Rather than putting him off, Nash seems to know more about Kaylee’s screaming than she does, but what secrets is he hiding? Is anything in Kaylee’s world as it seems?
I LOVED this book from beginning to end. Right from the start I was absolutely hooked by the original and unique plot and Rachel Vincent’s easy, sassy writing style. I love anything with mythology or folklore at the heart of the story and My Soul To Take is packed with both. I’ve heard the term Banshee before, mostly in relation to loud-mouthed women, but that’s as much as I knew. Vincent’s take on the Banshee, or Bean Sidhe, was like a fascinating breath of fresh air.
Along with the intriguing plot lines, what really drove this book for me was the sassy and fast paced writing style and dialogue between characters. Kaylee herself has a tragic enough past that’s easy to sympathise with, but she’s just the right amount of feisty and strong as to not become a victim – or too snarky it borders on aggressive (something that really turns me off about a character). Kaylee’s best friend Emma made a big impact on me despite having a pretty minor role, as did Emma’s mum who we only meet through telephone conversations but sounds like a great character. I’d love to see more from them in future instalments.
There’s plenty of mystery in there too: Why are the girls dying? What’s her dad doing in Ireland rather than with his abandoned daughter? And of course what is it that Nash knows about Kaylee and her wailing abilities? I couldn’t work out if he was a good guy or bad, but really loved the interactions between the two. Mostly this is an unpredictable book and despite trying to guess where things were headed, I had no idea. There is one plot twist I did guess involving Tom, (a reaper!) however this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book at all and he remains one of the most intriguing characters in the book.
There’s a lot to like about My Soul To Take. It’s fresh, it’s different, it’s fast paced and punchy, packed with mystery and mythology. I have one gripe, which isn’t to do with Rachel Vincent’s writing but the tag line on the front of the book saying ‘Twilight fans will love it’. Sure, they probably will. But this book is nothing like Twilight, in my opinion it’s better and I’m pretty certain people who didn’t love Twilight will very much enjoy this book too! My Soul To Take is in a class of it’s own. I loved every page, couldn’t put the book down and can’t wait for the next instalment released in February this year here in the UK. If you’re a fan of YA paranormal but feeling a little burned out, then this is definitely the book for you.
Released in the UK January 2011 by Mira. Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy for review.