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…Wow, how much did I love this book? When I first picked up the book my intention was only to read a few chapters before sleeping and I was completely caught up in the storyline, the romance and the characters and it wasn't possible for me to stop reading until I'd finished the book! My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent is such addictive reading and I'm now desperate to read the other books in the series. Rachel Vincent is the author of the hugely popular Shifters series for adults (which I haven't read yet but I soon will!) and this is her first foray into a YA series, titled Soul Screamers.
Kaylee Cavanaugh is a pretty typical teenage girl. She's out with her feisty best friend Emma, sneaking into a bar to dance. And the hottest boy at school starts speaking to her, dancing with her even. She doesn't get to dwell too much on why Nash Hudson has suddenly taken an interest in her when it happens. A scream builds up inside of her and she totally loses it in front of Nash. Because Kaylee is able to sense when someone near her is going to die and she has no choice but to scream as she sees another girl at the bar covered in darkness. This screaming-when-someone-is-about-to-die thing is something Kaylee's never understood or knew much about... until now. When she's finally told what she is and what she can do, Kaylee decides to use her abilities and, with a little help from her friends, decides to look into a series of unexplained deaths in her area.
I have to start by saying that what really, really grabbed me and pulled me into this story so completely, is the tension and chemistry between Kaylee and Nash. Oh my god, they're so HOT together. The flirting, the almost kissing, the kissing. I absolutely adore their relationship right from the very start, but what I love about them and all of Rachel Vincent's characters is how much more there is to find out about them still. It's tantalising! Nash has a reputation of past conquests, but he hints that all is not as it seems... I'm dying to find out.
But as intriguing as Kaylee and Nash's relationship is, I was just as pulled into the mystery surrounding a series of deaths involving teenage girls in Kaylee's town and equally finding out more of the mythology of bean sidhe. I can't say that I've read any books involving banshees so everything was entirely new to me and I did love this aspect of the story. Later on, when we meet the reaper, Tod, I was just as interested in learning the limitations and structure surrounding his 'job' as well. It's fascinating. Kaylee is a character that really doesn't seem capable of letting go of this sense of moral obligation that she feels. She really must do everything she can in order to help these poor girls dying and makes some risky choices to do what she can.
And that's what I loved most about this book, the characters. Each seems very complicated and engaging and it makes me excited to read more in this series. I loved Kaylee's strength as she's able to accept and deal with all this new information about bean sidhe, as well as hunt down the person reponsible for horrible things, with Nash by her side. Kaylee's best friend, Emma, seems like a fun girl with an attitude. And Tod, the reaper with the most surprises.
And with these characters come the very complicated relationships that each has with their family members. Kaylee's snooty cousin. Kaylee's dad, who bailed on her long ago. The sort of sweet relationship between Nash and his mother. I love a book that explores the intricacies and complications involved with families.
It's been awhile since I've been this excited over the first book in a series, but here I am, almost bouncing in my seat unable to wait for the sequel. So this is me, highly recommending that you read this book! It's out today and the sequel, My Soul to Save next month. YAY!
Q. I found the chemistry between Kaylee and Nash to be very HOT, where do you get your inspiration for your male characters?
A. Thank you! Nash is a sort of compilation of several guys I dated in high school, and a few I wanted to date. He’s hot. He’s fit. He’s nice, but he has issues (which becomes more evident as the series progresses). He has some serious power, and he struggles with using it responsibly—and he doesn’t always win that struggle. And, of course, he’s part fantasy—an eighteen year old boy willing to risk his life over and over for the girl he loves. Not that that couldn’t ever happen, but it’s not the typical real-world boyfriend experience. It’s better. ;)
Q. You've been writing an adult series, the Shifters before this, why the move into YA and what has been the biggest change to the way in which you write?
A. Well, I haven’t actually stopped writing for adults. I’m just doing both now. Writing YA has made me want to write sexual tension (it’s all about the buildup!) rather than those open-door sex scenes. I’d rather concentrate on what they feel for each other and why than on what they’re actually doing. ;)
Q.How much of your stories are planned and how much are left up to chance during writing?
A. My books are always completely plotted out before I start them. They have to be, because my editor has to approve the story first. But inevitably, something changes during the execution. Usually something big. ;)
Q. I can't say that I've read very much about bean sidhe or reapers before now, what sort of research did you have to do in order to establish your mythology?
A. I researched what I could find of the original Irish bean sidhe lore, and some of the similar Manx and Scottish folklore, then I expanded on it, adding the bits that worked with my own world building. As for the reapers, I made it all up. What’s in the book is what worked for my world building and seemed logical to me. I’ve since heard from a couple of people, including my CP, that some of the reaper bits are similar to a show that used to be on TV, but I have yet to watch that show. I’m saving it for after the series has run its course, so I don’t accidentally appropriate any of its world building. ;)
Q. I love the characters that you've created in this book and I'm absolutely dying to know more about each of them - who is your favourite character and why?
A. Well, obviously I love Kaylee. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write from her perspective. She’s smart, and she’s loyal, and she’s strong, and growing stronger emotionally with each book. But she’s forced to compromise on her ideals sometimes, which I think makes her an interesting character study. Other than Kaylee, Tod and Sabine are always fun to write, and Emma has her moments. As does Kaylee’s dad.
Q. What were you like as a teenager and which of your characters would you say you were most like?
A. I was a reader, and I marched in the band. I took honors classes (Except for math. I hate math.) and I had a definite circle of friends I tended to stick with. I don’t know that I was much like any of the soul screamers characters, though. Their lives are influenced by what they’ve been through, and they’ve been through a lot of stuff that isn’t possible in our world. But I think I would have liked to hang out with Kaylee and Emma, if I lived in their world as a teen. ;)
Q. For me, reading My Soul To Take was absolutely addictive, I really, really couldn't put it down for anything. What's your biggest addiction?
A. Movies. Books. Rock Band. Coffee. I’m pretty normal.
Q. And finally, what surprises can we look forward to in the next Soul Screamers book?
A. Sabine, Nash’s ex, is the big surprise in My Soul To Steal, and so far readers either love her, or they love to hate her. Or both. I’m really looking forward to the reactions. It was fun, writing a bad girl. ;)
Thank you very much Rachel! I can't wait to read My Soul To Steal and I'm even more intrigued by Sabine's character...
Find out more about Rachel Vincent on her website, Rachel's blog, her Twitter ID, her Facebook page or at MIRA Ink's new website (which goes live next Monday!).
The Soul Screamers is really a series that you need to read!