I start with the goodies. This is the best Soul Screamer book so far. The plot is so captivating and especially the character development is convincing and moving. I was already a true fan of the Soul Screamer series before I read this book, but with If I Die this series moved into my personal Top10. Just to give you an idea how much I value this book.
I think one of the main reason why I love this book so much is Kaylee. She is such a loveable and endearing character. One the one hand she is an almost typical American teenager. She wants to survive high school without being a complete outsider, she wants to hang out with her best friend Emma, she wants to get to know her father better and she is determined on protecting all the students on her school from the evils of the Netherworld. One the other hand she is still recovering from the events, that took place in book 3 and 4. Obviously I can’t completely avoid spoilers, but I’d like to keep it down as much as possible, so no further explanations here. However, Kaylee is just so sweet, brave and unselfish you have to adore her. Of course she isn’t perfect. She likes to omit things, she isn’t overly forgiving (though I can understand this) and she is big in avoiding personal problems she doesn’t want to deal with. Anyway, these characters traits make it even more effortless to relate to her.
I thought Kaylee had it rough before, so I was’t prepared for the bombshell, which dropped right in the beginning of If I Die. I was shocked and in complete denial. Kaylee is the main character here; nothing world-changingly bad. Please! Nevertheless Kaylee has to face a grim future or rather non-existing future. And if you thought that this would make her suddenly focus more on herself, you were wrong. As usual Kaylee is on a mission to save somebody. And she can’t be stopped.
The story line is gripping from the first page and I was glued to the book. I couldn’t put it down for even a minute. I had to know what will happen to Kaylee and her friends. Will she manage to protect the other schoolgirls from the evil Incubus-teacher? And what about herself? The plot was amazing. There were unexpected twists and the tension was almost unbearable. Also the dialogues between Kaylee and the not-so-innocent and not-so-sweet nightmare-girl Sabine were fascinating, sometimes painful, occasionally hilarious and never boring. These two together are definitely not a team made in heaven. And in between there were these calm and emotional scenes between Kaylee and her friends and family, which just ripped my heart out and made my rethink what is important in life. I know that’s not something you expect to experience while reading a paranormal, young adult book. However Kaylee’s circumstances and her attitude about it, made me questioning
I shouldn’t forget to mention the gorgeous Hudson brothers, Tod and Nash. Both are hell-bend on helping Kaylee, no matter how. My favourite is clearly Tod. Since the beginning of the series, he underwent such an enormous character development, I have to adore him. And when you read what he is doing for Kaylee, you will love him too. I promise. And thankfully he hasn’t lot his wit. Nash on the other hand is kind of stuck. He isn’t dealing well with the recent changes and behaves more and more like a spoiled and a bit ignorant child. He definitely means well, has a kind heart and I can understand what he is going through but that doesn’t always make me like him or his actions.
The end of the book left my in a puddle of tears. It was shocking, it was completely unexpected and it’s perfect. It may not be what I wished but it’s so well written and choreographed I’m just completely out of words. I must have re-read the last few chapters at least 5 to 10 times, they are just so beautiful and heart-wrenching, I can’t get enough of it. And honestly I can’t say more, you have to experience this for yourself. And if you want me to point out some negative or annoying thing about this books you are out of luck. Even if there are a few minor points, they don’t matter at all in the overall reading experience.
Finally I have to point out that this is one of my favourite young adult, paranormal books. Actually it’s just one of my favourite books, no matter which genre. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I ranted and my heart broke a little bit as well. I can’t wait to see what Rachel Vincent will present us in the next Soul Screamer book, which will come out this summer. Luckily.
* review copy courtesy of Mira Ink *