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Book Review: My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

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It is difficult enough to forgive the unforgivable but when you’re a bean sidhe and that betrayal involves your Demon’s Breath-addicted boyfriend enabling a demon to possess your body, it can be especially trying.  Kaylee Cavanaugh is just beginning to put the pieces of her life and relationship with Nash back together when she is confronted with her worst nightmare. Literally.

Nash’s ex-girlfriend Sabine is back on the scene and she is a mara, the walking nightmare of lore that infuses slumbering humans with bad dreams and feeds off their fears. Sabine makes no secret of the fact that she wants Nash back and not only is she his first love, there is the slight technicality that they never actually broke up in the first place.

When teachers at Eastlake High begin dying in their sleep, Kaylee wastes no time in reaching the conclusion that it is Sabine who is killing them, draining their life energy as she harvests their fears.  But can Kaylee put aside her jealousy for long enough to see that Sabine might not be involved and she certainly isn’t behind the wave of toxic jealousy that is tearing the school apart?

My Soul to Steal - Rachel Vincent (UK cover)My Soul to Steal is the fourth book in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series and it is certainly the best in the series yet. With the scene set and the characters established, My Soul to Steal is non-stop action from the first page.  Apart from meeting the mara, we are introduced to more demons, hellions and creatures of the Netherworld creatures including hypnos, who feed from human energy through the barrier between the two realms.

Rachel Vincent steps up her imaginative and disturbing descriptions of the Netherworld and the scenes at the twisted Netherworld version of Eastlake High were fantastic.  As I read about the crimson creeper and deformed Netherworld creatures,  I couldn’t help thinking that this is one series that needs to be brought to life in television or film.

Nash’s dead, grim reaper brother Tod played a much greater part in My Soul to Steal, saving the show at the last minute as usual.  There is something brewing in his swirling bean sidhe eyes and I can’t help but wish that it means that he and Kaylee will become an item in the next book.  Not that she seems to notice of course.

Clueless about Tod’s intentions or not, I like Kaylee as a protagonist.  I like that she had enough self-respect to maintain her distance from Nash because of his betrayal and despite their undeniable mutual love.  So many young adult novels feature weak-minded lead female characters and Kaylee Cavanaugh certainly isn’t one of them.

Aside from Tod, the other characters I’d like to receive more attention are Alec and Kaylee’s cousin Sophie. Who cares if Alec is technically 40-something? After being held hostage in the Netherworld for 25 years, he has the body and mind of a teenager. Surely he could find a suitable love interest?  After everything she has been through, I’d like to see Sophie grow a personality and take a greater role in the books. With her previous forays into the Netherworld, it could make for some interesting plot lines.

I have just realised that My Soul to Steal did not have a preview of the next book in the series, as was the case with the previous three books.  Thankfully I can confirm that If I Die, which appears to be the final book in the Soul Screamers series, was released in the US and Canada in September and should be reaching bookshelves in the UK in February 2012.  I can hardly wait!

About Mandy Southgate

Mandy Southgate is a blogger, serial expat and eternal tourist living and working in London. Aside from writing at Blogcritics, she blogs about travel and London at Emm in London, entertainment and media at Addicted to Media and war crimes, genocide and social justice over at A Passion to Understand.