Review: Soul Screamers, Volume One by Rachel Vincent

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Soul Screamers, Volume One by Rachel VincentSoul Screamers, Volume 1: My Soul To Lose / My Soul to Take / My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 22, 2011
Genres: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 570
Format: Paperback
Source: BEA
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three-stars

It starts with a scream….

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's compelling Soul Screamers series keeps getting better—here, for the first time, the original stories are compiled into one special volume….

My Soul to Lose
—The prequel: never before in print!—

Kaylee is just your average girl shopping at the mall with friends—until a terrified scream bursts from her that cannot be stopped. Taken to a hospital ward, will she be able to save her mind—and her life?

My Soul to Take

She's always felt different, but now Kaylee discovers why. The screams that cannot be denied mean that someone near her will die—and she can never save them. Because saving one life means taking another….

My Soul to Save

Going on dates with her boyfriend is still new to Kaylee. But when the singer of the band they're seeing dies onstage and Kaylee doesn't scream, she knows something crazy is going on. Soon she discovers souls can indeed be sold….

Thanks to BEA 2012, I’ve had a pretty copy of this omnibus sitting on my shelves for a year and a half. While, ideally, I’d already have read everything I had from all the conferences I’ve attended, practically that just doesn’t happen, even though I try. Eventually, though, the time comes, and the time has come for me to binge read this series. I went into Soul Screamers with very low expectations, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of these opening books, which came out in the wave of paranormal. I’ll be reviewing the omnibus as a whole, covering the novella and both books, rather than doing separate reviews, but they’re shouldn’t be any spoilers for either book.

By far the best part of the Soul Screamers series in the first two books is the mythology. Rachel Vincent makes use of Celtic and other mythologies to devise a paranormal landscape not quite like any I’ve ever read about. There’s a depth and cleverness here I generally don’t find in paranormal titles. The heroine learns that she’s a bean sidhe, more commonly known as a banshee. You know, those women who shriek? Flattering, amirite?

There’s more to the world then that, though. So far, Vincent’s also introduced reapers (as in grim), demons, and fiends. In addition, there’s the human world and the Netherworld, a sort of parallel to the world we knew, full of dark, paranormal creatures. The Netherworld is also full of carnivorous, poisonous plants. Also, I have to say that I love this book for including a Little Shop of Horrors reference. Thus far, the series has been pretty light, but the world building is good and leaves room for some really intense, heartbreaking stories.

Speaking of heartbreaking, I’d really love for the series to head in the direction of that initial short story in tone. In My Soul to Lose, the reader gets to see Kaylee’s time in a mental institution after she started screaming and wouldn’t stop. She has no idea why that happened until a year later in the events of My Soul to Take. It’s dark and creepy and awesome. Plus, this mental hospital had rules and didn’t leave the doors open for the patients to wander around like every other one I’ve read about in YA. So yay for door locks!

The cast has yet to make me fall in love, but they’re interesting. Kaylee’s a nice girl. She may actually be rather average looking, though I would guess a bit better than average, but she doesn’t have every guy ever falling in love with her. Plus, she and Emma, her best friend, actually seem to like each other. Best of all, even though Emma’s more popular, prettier and does well with guys, Kaylee doesn’t resent her in the slightest. The romance hasn’t made me swoon, but it’s nice that what I thought might be a love triangle with Nash and Tod so far isn’t. In the first two books, it’s just Nash and Kaylee building a fairly normal teenage relationship and dealing with ordinary relationship problems, while also having all that paranormal stuff.

At this point, I have only two concerns, one of which is more objective and one more subjective. In My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save, Kaylee’s relationship with her cousin isn’t great. In fact, her cousin comes off as the standard bitchy mean girl. I want to see this develop as the series goes along. I’m assuming it will, but I’ll be annoyed if that doesn’t happen. The other worry I have about my relationship with Soul Screamers is that it seems like this might get pretty episodic, more like Dead Like Me than Croak. I prefer my fiction to have a larger narrative driving the story forward, but My Soul to Save was basically another little paranormal mystery. While I will probably like all the episodes, just as I did with Dead Like Me, I might not like any of it as much as the beginning.

That said, reviews seem to indicate that this series only improves, and quite a bit from here. Thus, I sort of expect I’ll come back, look at this review, and laugh at my concerns. That’s part of the fun, though, right? Anyway, that’s how I feel right at this moment.

Favorite Quote:

“Yeah, well, what’s a little mental illness and pathological screaming among family?”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

awesome reapers

6 responses to “Review: Soul Screamers, Volume One by Rachel Vincent”

  1. Lesley says:

    Love that gif!

    I read the first book in the series – I’m gonna say My Soul to Take – last year and liked it, but never got around to looking at the rest of the series. Maybe it’s time for me to revisit.
    Lesley recently posted…ON THE FENCEMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, the series never quite got to outstanding for me, since I never really got emotionally attached, but they’re all fun and they get really good for a while.

  2. Soma Rostam says:

    I absolutely LOVE the covers of the soul screamers series and the titles of the novels, too.
    I am definitely going to have to read this soon
    GREAT review
    Your reader,
    Soma
    Soma Rostam recently posted…Bout of Books 11.0 Wrap Up!My Profile

  3. That gif made me chuckle at the end 😛

    I’ve read the short story The Reaper, and even though it wasn’t focused on Kaylee, I still loved it. I always meant to go back and get the collections, but I’m still working on that 😛 I’ve got a bit more confidence in it now though!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Interview: Kat Spears, Author of Sway!My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      It’s from Dead Like Me. 🙂

      It’s definitely a fun series and one of the better paranormal things. It gets really good around book four or so.

  4. Gillian says:

    Ooooo, I want to read these now! DAMN YOU.
    Gillian recently posted…Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

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