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14 May 2012 @ 12:41 am
{ My Soul to Steal Review }  
Alright, another book is up for review. Taking a brief break from all these drabbles to bring you another insight on the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent.

The book this time? My Soul to Steal.

  This is a second read-through and I think what I found most interesting about my reactions reading through it again (apart from the obvious love that I have for Tod) was how uncomfortable I got with some of this book. And while I think that when I usually say that something makes me uncomfortable that that's a bad thing, in the case of this book I think that it was actually really good.

I think one of the things that I like most about this series is the fact that it makes you, as a reader, confront a lot of these issues. As a high school student, I really didn't run into drugs because I hung out by myself a lot and worked on my own hobbies. So, getting to see this side of teenage culture is really interesting. Vincent also handles it really well: I didn't like Nash very much at first (not a jock fan, sorry) but seeing him go through the pain of an addiction, struggling to get over it and then make everything up to Kaylee really made him more believable and "real" as a character to me. I felt like I could emphasize with him. Because, okay, don't you hate it when one character seems to have everything going for them all the time? Obviously, this is most common with Sophie, but it's there a little bit with Nash, too. And maybe this is just because I wasn't in the most popular group when I was in high school, but I think as an author I'm just waiting for the powerful kids to fall. And while Nash does help Kaylee out, I think that there's a part of the reader that wants something bad to happen to him, just because he seems too perfect.

Seriously, think about it. Whenever something goes wrong, Nash is almost always like "Don't tell your dad, Kaylee!" or "Oh hey, I already know about this" or "Don't worry, it's just one more popular thing I keep up with." I like that Vincent doesn't disappoint on this: she lets Nash fall when it's his time to go. And that is pretty great.

But to be totally truthful, probably the part of this book that was hardest for me to stomach (and this is great, actually, because it means that Vincent's prose is resonating with my emotions and all that jazz) is the pain of Kaylee's imminent break-up with Nash. At the time of this re-read, I actually have read If I Die, but my feelings from the first time that I read this book to now haven't changed all that much. It still sucks having to read through all that because you know that the pain that this girl is feeling is real. This is probably what I like most about this series. Obviously, I love the world that Vincent's created, but the best world is pretty useless unless you have a bunch of cool characters populating it. Especially tricky is working with a female hero. As should be obvious from my username, I'm a girl, but it's difficult to write girls. Seriously.

Look at the girls in fiction. You have a few standouts, but there are a lot that either are pushovers or are just shells of strength that their authors made so that they wouldn't be criticized for making a weak heroine. It's really, really difficult to write a female lead that doesn't make the readership feel like they're reading a second-class book. Maybe it's just my particular problem as a writer, but I don't think so, judging from the selection at the book store. When you think of a leader character that's a dreamer and an adventurer, you probably think of a boy from the start. I do. I'm not trying to turn this into a feminist blog or a rant, but I think it's relevant to the writing, which is what this little corner of the many-cornered internet is about. I think that the way that Vincent has written Kaylee deserves some appreciation, and significant appreciation at that, because it's really a tough task that she's setting for herself.

But yeah, I could definitely relate to Kaylee all through this book. The pre-break-up scenes are probably worst for this character's heart, but they're some of the most charged and honest writing that I've read in a long while. This book isn't being written from a distance, and I think that's what makes the readership keep coming back. I mean, of course everyone wants to see Tod being all cool and badass, but truthfully, I don't think it would have the same kind of devoted fans if the person writing it really didn't know their character. I know that I haven't said too much about the plot, but the big part of this book for me was the break-up and the way that Nash and Kaylee's relationship was portrayed. I also really liked more of the foreshadowing that I caught with Alec and Avari this time around.

Overall, very good. If I Die is really great, and I'm looking forward to reading that next and then digging into Before I Wake.