Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent
Book Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 279

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 her need to scream than she does.

And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I got this book through the Harlequin Teen Panel, and I was very excited to read it after reading nothing but good reviews. Reading all this wonderful feedback gave me some pretty high expectations. These expectations were exceeded in some cases, and fell flat in others.

First off, Rachel Vincent is a sensational writer. Her style was easy to follow and refreshingly descriptive. She set the mood and tone of the novel perfectly. Lately I’ve read too many books that either talk down to teenagers, or portray the characters like 30 year olds instead of 17 year olds. But Vincent found a nice middle ground. The entire novel is told through Kaylee’s point of view, and being inside her head was enjoyable. She was rational and smart, and very real.

I also have to give Miss Rachel some major bonus points for the originality! I have read enough about vampires and werewolves and ghosts (oh my!) to last me a lifetime. But I have yet to come across another book about banshees. Or bean sidhes, as it’s originally spelled. I actually didn’t know very much about bean sidhe mythology, and I wasn’t very interested in it until I read My Soul to Take. After I finished, I went and started looking up all sorts of information, and I must say I have a new favorite mythological creature. (Funnily enough, my friends call me a banshee all the time because I can do this weird high pitched keening, kinda like Kaylee. I wonder why I’ve never bothered to look into it.)

Kaylee as a protagonist was great. My only complaint was that I’m a little tired of the “But I’m not that pretty!” schtick, but at least she didn’t emphasize it that much. Kaylee carried a lot of baggage from a terrible childhood. Her mother died, her father dumped her with her aunt and uncle and barely talked to her or even visited, and at one point she was institutionalized. And she isn’t on very good terms with her prim and perfect cousin Sophie, either. But she’s got a good friend Emma, who is there for her even when Kaylee is having her “panic attacks”, which is actually her soul song for the people who are about to die. I would have actually liked to see more Emma in the novel. She was in there a lot at the beginning, then slowly dwindled away until she just stopped appearing by the last few chapters.  

Plotwise, it was very interesting and unique. We were introduced to creatures not seen much in the YA market, such as banshees and grim reapers. My qualm about the plot is that it happened over a period of 4 days, and so much happens in the four days that honestly, it doesn’t seem like it’s possible for everything that took place to happen in four days. (Also, while we’re on the subject of timing, at one point, Kaylee takes a shower, gets dressed, and blow dries her hair in all of 20 minutes. Girls, I think you’ll agree when I say that I take 20 minutes just to get dressed, let alone shower and blow dry my hair. That was so unrealistic I couldn’t help but notice that one sentence).

And in the course of these four days, Miss Rachel Vincent falls into the dreaded love snare that it seems every YA book these days is falling into: the ‘I’m in love with you, even though we just met’ trap. Yes, my friends. I know. Admittedly, there is a sense of gradualness to Kaylee and Nash’s relationship (Nash is, of course, a jock, gorgeous, and one of the most popular guys at school) but it still happens fairly quickly for my taste.

Definitely a good book, and worth the read, although if you’re nitpicky like me, you’ll notice these things like I did. But, either way, I do recommend this book.

Wow, this was a long review. :)



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