Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul To Take

Author: Rachel Vincent

Pages: 279

Summary (from


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 the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

The last thing you hear before you die...

Kaylee is average.

Not beautiful, not surrounded by boys vying for her affections, nor walking around with A+'s hanging from her backpack. She is, as far as she knows, completly uninteresting.

Except for the panic attacks.

Unsure of how they or when they started, at a loss to what causes them, Kaylee can only hope that the horrible, overwhelming melencholy doesn't return--at least, not when she's in public. But that's exactly what happens when, while clubbing with her best friend Emma and chatting with the hottest guy in school, she spots a girl. Beautiful and blond, there is seemingly nothing wrong with her. Except the darkness.

Suddenly, Kaylee has to scream. She can't talk, can't even breath. She doesn't know why, but she knows she has to scream.

The boy in question, Nash, a known player, helps her from the building along with Emma and meraculously does what no one else can by calming her down. But, after the initial panic wears off, Kaylee begins to wonder...why would the most sought-after boy in school go out of his way to help her? Does he have an agenda?

But Kaylee quickly learns that Nash is probably the most honest person in her life after the girl that triggered her attack shows up dead for no reason. On the verge of a breakdown, Nash is the one who tells her she is a bean sidhe, pronouned Banshee. Traditionally, bean sidhes are Irish fairies who's mourning cries are seen as high-pitched shrieks to everyone but the spirits of the dead or the 'male' bean sidhes.

The best parf of My Soul To Take is definetly the way Ms. Vincent takes an old, nearly forgotten myth and makes it her own. Everyone has heard the phrase "scream like a banshee", but no one really knows where it originates. My father, born and raised in Ireland, had spent many hours when I was younger talking his mouth off about the banshee legend, which was partly the reason I picked up this novel. Vincent is true to the original myth, while adding her own spin to it that appeals to the younger generations who might no be familiar with banshees. She has a lovely writing style that captures the typical 'teen angst' aspect of most YA literature, but also lays out this entire world-beneath-a-world that's both horrifying and mesmorizing. I love the love/hate relationship the author creates for Kaylee's family, and I LOVE Kaylee and Nash's relationship. It's all too often I read a book with a couple that A-DORE each other but no one really knows why (*ahem* Twilight *ahem*), but Kaylee and Nash just work. Though my only gripe would have to be that the transition between Kaylee being paranoid of Nash and being in lurv with Nash is a bit rushed, you can still feel their chemestry leaping off the page.

The main reason I read supernatural YA books is because I like the thought of a coming-of-age tale where the protagonist has to 'discover who she/he is" while battling otherworldly creatures. My Soul To Take delivers wonderfully in that aspect, having Kaylee try to seperate herself from both her snotty cousin and beautiful best friend while trying to deal with her new-found powers. Very, very angsty. I love it.

An issue I had, however, mostly stems from the summary--"when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason"--being a bit misleading. It makes it sound like every five minutes one of Kaylee's school friends are dropping dead in the middle fo biology when, in fact, only three girls die, only one of which Kaylee actually knows, and one doesn't even go to her school. This may be the publisher's doing, but I found it a bit irritating how subtle the book is compared to the summary.

Other then that, My Soul To Take was a enjoyable, fun read that I'd defintly suggest to any fans of the supernatural and re-tellings of ancient myths.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Also: In honor of the upcoming release of the latest in the Dexter series, Dexter By Design, I'll be having a Dexter week, in which I'll review the entire series thus far, PLUS the hit television series. So...look out for that...=]


Jessica (BookLover) said...

I liked this one, too. The thing for me is this: I think I could have done without the Kaylee and Nash romance. It just seemed to be thrown in for good measure. I'm not saying that I didn't want them together, I just wouldn't have complained if the romance was drawn out a little more throughout the series; especially since this was a rather short read, in my opinion.

I enjoyed your review! Keep 'em coming. :)

(Sorry for the long comments.)

Kate said...

Looking forward to your Dexter week. That should be interesting.

Rachel said...

I'll have to read this soon. Rachel Vincent is a great author. Great review!

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