Author: Rachel Vincent. Release date: 2011. Publisher: Harlequin. ISBN: 9780373210329.
Personal thoughts: I was a huge fan of the first two novels in this series, but have to admit that with the third and fourth installments, I began to lose interest. I was curious to see how Rachel Vincent decided to continue the series, and found the result to be pleasing. Overall, I can safely say that I am a fan of the Soul Screamers series and enjoyed the supernatural personalities and happenings in all five novels. I look forward to seeing what Rachel Vincent comes up with next.
Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Kaylee Cavanaugh’s life has been anything but normal since she found out six months before that she’s a bean sidhe (or banshee): a mythical death herald with the ability to guide souls as they depart from their earthly bodies. Kaylee and her boyfriend Nash, a male bean sidhe, have battled countless demons, hellions and other supernatural creatures with the help of Tod, Nash’s Grim Reaper brother, Harmony, Tod and Nash’s bean sidhe mother, and Sabine, Nash’s ex-girlfriend who is (literally) a living nightmare, or mara. Nothing has prepared Kaylee for what she is about to learn: Tod saw her name of the Reaper List, and she has only six days before her borrowed lifeline expires. To make matters worse (if that’s possible), one of Kaylee’s classmates winds up in the hospital after a terrible and tragic miscarriage. Kaylee and Sabine suspect that the school’s hot new math teacher is the father of the child, and that Mr. Beck might actually be a succubus: a love demon fixated on fathering a son. Fearing that Mr. Beck has set his sights on her best friend, Emma, Kaylee must work with what little time she has to ensure that those she loves are safe even after her inevitable death.
Review: The hugely popular Soul Screamers series continues in author Rachel Vincent’s fifth installment, If I Die. Those who have not read the previous four books beware: it is necessary to move through this series sequentially in order to keep up with the various characters and plot references. Those who have made it through the other titles, however, will find the fifth novel to be a bit of a mixed bag. It is clear from the start that the author is intent upon changing things up in this novel, particularly where Kaylee’s romantic attachments are concerned. In the first few novels, Kaylee’s relationship with boyfriend and fellow bean sidhe Nash seemed to be infallible. The fourth novel, My Soul to Steal, however, put a large crinkle in things with the addition of Nash’s devoted ex-girlfriend, Sabine, and his newfound addiction to demon’s breath. In If I Die, Nash seems to be even more of a loose cannon, setting the relationship into a tailspin, a tailspin that leads Kaylee to the comforting arms of Nash’s Reaper brother Tod. Whether Kaylee winds up with Nash or Tod is the primary focus of If I Die, and the final decision is sure to delight some and upset others. Overall, this fifth installment manages to shake up the series quite a bit. The ending seems a bit rushed, but, when all is said and done, the Soul Screamers has proven to be a delightful paranormal series for tween, teen and adult readers alike. Hopefully it will continue to be enjoyable in the sixth novel, Before I Wake, due to be released in July 2012.
Reading level: Grade 7+
Similar titles: Rest of the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, Misfit by Jon Skovron.
Themes: Bean sidhes (banshees), demons, netherworld, mythology/lore, romance, sibling relationships, death.
Awards/Reviews: Fifth installment in well-reviewed series.
Series Information: Fifth installment in Soul Screamers series. Other installments: My Soul to Take (Book 1), My Soul to Save (Book 2), My Soul to Keep (Book 3), My Soul to Steal (Book 4). Sixth installment, Before I Wake, to be released in July 2012.
- Why do you think Kaylee wasn’t that upset when she learned she was going to die? How would you feel if you were her?
- Would you want to stop Mr. Beck? Why or why not?
- Were you happy with who Kaylee chose to be with at the end of the novel? Why or why not?
- Which novel in the Soul Screamers series is your favorite? Why?
- Who is your favorite character in the Soul Screamers series? Why?