Warning! There will be spoilers about the Soul Screamer books 1-5 in this review.
Before I Wake was one of the books of 2012 I couldn't wait to get my hands on. The ending of If I Die was heartbreaking, shocking and beautiful at the same time and I needed to know what would happen next to Kaylee and Tod. I was hoping for some happy time without murder and angst. I knew this wouldn't be the case. This is still a Rachel Vincent series. Always when you think you had it all this author take sit up a notch and proves once again that you haven't read anything yet. Before I Wake is even more heart-wrenching, there is more death, more emotions and the stakes are higher than ever before.
Kaylee is the star of the soul screamer books. They are written from her point of view and we got to know her as a perceptive, compassionate, powerful and loving young girl who will fight for her family and friends and everyone else, who deserves it. She constantly puts everybody else's needs higher than hers. She had to go though a lot of pain, both emotionally and literally.okay, she made does make mistakes, she isn't perfect. But that all makes her so much more human and believable. So I was worrying how she would deal with loosing her humanity, after being resurrected. In a lot of paranormal books with immortal beings everything is peachy and people are as happy they can be because they can't die. Kaylee struggles, heavily. She feels detached from life. Like a visitor, a un-involved bystander. This was so hard to read, I felt so sorry for her. Surviving all the bad things (kind of) and then she is so unhappy. And as usual she tries to puts up a good facade to not worry everyone else. Her only help is Tod, he does understand as he feels the same. He is her anchor. The scenes between them are sweet and loveable and I was melting away. They a growing so much as couple in this book, it's adorable.
But as if this wouldn't be hard enough, Kaylee also has to start working. Saving souls that were stolen. And somebody is very active in her area. Old enemies are back and strong then ever. Kaylee and Tod, and all the others have to start fighting harder then ever before. The plot was very gripping. I started reading and couldn't put the book down until the last page. What an ending! What a shocker! I never ever would have guessed something like this.
I also enjoyed all the supporting characters. Now that I know them so well, it's like meeting old friends. I'm actually starting to like Sabine. She is a straight-forward as ever, but in a way her heart is on the right place. In contrast to Nash. He infuriates me. He is always the victim, he is blaming people left and right and is swimming in self-pity. Of course he was framed by Kaylee for something he hadn't done, but she came back to make this right. And he still is so furious with her and doesn't even try to see her point. It's amazing how a character can change or at least my perception of him. I loved him in the first few books and now I just want to kick his butt.
Overall this was the perfect sequel to If I Die. I can't really criticise anything. I love this book and though I wish these character wouldn't have to go through so much crap it's still great. I can't even imagine what will happen in the last book. Every time I think: That's it, what more could possibly happen and go wrong? I guess I have to wait and see. Rachel Vincent just finished the first draft of With All My Soul and it will be published in April 2013.