Series: Soul Screamers #6
Published by Mira on July 6th 2012
Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking her life is much harder than ex-teen banshee Kaylee expected. Now she's fighting to stay visible to the human world and struggling to find time alone with her new reaper boyfriend Tod.
To stay in the mortal realm, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls and, when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life...
Before I Wake is the penultimate book in the Soul Screamers series and although it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of If I Die, it is still a very emotional and exhilarating ride. Rachel Vincent certainly had her work cut out for her in this one having to deal with the aftermath of the last book – and I have to say she does an excellent good job. I think If I Die was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Before I Wake rises to the challenge admirably though it is perhaps a little slower to get going initially.
Kaylee is still trying to come to terms with the fact that she is technically dead, while still pretending to the outside world that she wasn’t killed in the attack by her Incubus teacher. Kaylee was brought back to be a ‘reclamation’ agent but she is having a tough time re-integrating into her old life and only her new boyfriend Tod seems to be able to help her deal with this (being dead himself he is the only one who really understands how unsettled she feels).
Kaylee feels disconnected from the world and it doesn’t help that she is still trying to deal with the fallout from her actions in the last book. Nash (and by extension Sabine) are barely speaking to her plus Thane, the psychotic reaper, is back in town causing mayhem.
Kaylee has a more problematic enemy to deal with though. Avari, the hellion who has become obsessed with possessing her soul, is once more hell-bent on claiming her. Avari has found a way to possess the bodies of the dead (including the girls that Kaylee tried and failed to save in the first book). When Avari inhabits someone a little closer to home and a tragedy occurs, Kaylee knows that she will have to stop Avari once and for all before she risks losing all her friends and family…
In many ways Before I Wake feels like a set up book and it suffers a little because of this. There is not a lot of resolution at the end but it has hopefully paved the way for what is sure to be a thrilling finale in With All My Soul. Nevertheless, it is still a gripping entry in the series and I enjoyed the fact that we got to spend a lot of time with the characters and that their inter-relationships took the centre stage this time around.
There was a lot of time devoted to how disconnected Kaylee felt which did pull me out of the story a little. Thank heavens for the presence of Tod. Tod has really developed into a wonderful character (though I loved him from the first). He was completely there for Kaylee and we got to see a lot of wonderful scenes between the pair as they are discovering more and more about each other. One of the things I didn’t like about Kaylee’s relationship with Nash was that there was so very little build-up. Not a problem with Kaylee and Tod.
The relationship has been growing over the course of the books (not just in If I Die) and seeing their relationship evolve has been one of my favourite parts of the series. Tod always seemed to be such a lonely character, struggling to maintain a grip on his humanity, so it was great to see him have the chance of a future with Kaylee. Seeing the two explore their new-found love was heart-warming (and terrifying because there is still one more book to go and so many things can still go wrong!).
I still cannot help feeling sorry for Nash though, even though I think Tod and Kaylee are much better suited. I also felt bad for Sabine having to watch Nash pine over Kaylee and I didn’t really like the way he was treating her. The love quadrangle still has mileage in it yet but I am hopeful it will work out well for all concerned. Luca was an interesting character (though anyone who would willingly go out with Sophie would need to be a little cracked!). I enjoyed seeing Emma play more of a role and I also liked seeing a bit more of Alec.
**SPOILER ALERT – HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW**
Oh Alec we barely knew you – his death really hit me hard because I was just not expecting it at all.
**END OF SPOILER**
This series seems to be getting steadily darker so while I am looking forward to the final book, I am a little scared about what is going to happen. Once thing is for sure, Rachel Vincent never fails to pull on the heartstrings. With All My Soul is bound to be an emotional journey and I will be sorry to say goodbye to Kaylee, Tod, Nash and the rest of the gang.