14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2012
All things considered, Kaylee Cavanaugh was pretty lucky. Sure, she died. But she got a second chance. And although she technically wasn't alive, at least she wasn't a reaper. She didn't have to take souls, just reclaim them.
Immortality, however, wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Sure, she could make herself invisible when she wanted to hang out with her boyfriend. No, she didn't have to sleep. No, she didn't have to eat unless she wanted to. No, she wouldn't age. And no, she didn't actually have to go to school. That was her choice.
But being invisible was easier than being corporeal - not ideal when trying to pretend to be normal at school. Not being able to sleep left long periods of time with little to do and no one to do it with. Not aging meant that nearly everyone she cared about would eventually be gone.
And being immortal didn't mean being invincible.
So when someone from Kaylee's past looks to make a deal, she must decide whether the risk of working with them is greater than the danger of facing down her enemies alone. Not a decision she ever thought she'd have to make. Not a decision she ever wanted to make. And not someone whose side she ever thought she'd have to choose. Especially when she knows they can't be trusted.
The sixth installment in the Soul Screamers series, Before I Wake is every bit as tension-filled, emotionally charged, intense, gripping and entertaining as its predecessor. With new dangers, the return of old enemies and even greater obstacles to overcome, this book is nerve-wracking, suspenseful, heartbreakingly sweet and sad and absolutely unputdownable.
As with each of the previous books in the series, Before I Wake takes things to the next level - more excitement, more heat, deadlier threats and more complex challenges for the characters to face. Especially for the story's heroine, Kaylee Cavanaugh.
While she struggles to cope with her new existence, or lack thereof, she must find a way to balance school, her new job, her new boyfriend, her ex-boyfriend, her Dad's overprotectiveness, and a mara who still manages to get under her skin.
Engaging from start to finish, Before I Wake delves into just what "life" is like for Kaylee. It touches on the very real issues of isolation, loneliness and despair that come with not quite being part of the world around her. And it shows that immortality does not always guarantee a happy ending.
But the story also shows a positive change in the way Kaylee interacts with the people in her life. She's developed a new strength never before seen in the series, she's become more confident in who she is and her importance in the lives of the people around her and she's become more forgiving and understanding of those who have let her down in the past.
We also get to see a more witty, fun and flirtatious Kaylee. Even with the enemies that plague her existence. Even with the return of someone she hoped she'd never have to see again. And even with an ex who is not about to make things easy on her just because she died.
Add to this a new mystery to solve, a threat that no one ever saw coming and one not everyone may survive, and you have a story that will captivate, that will surprise and that will leave the door open for the possibility of anything - good or bad - to happen.
Before I Wake is an absolute must read that not only doesn't suffer a lag, but challenges itself to be better than what came before. It's a nail-biter. It's a heartbreaker and a heart-stopper. It's a fast-paced, intense, incredibly addictive and wildly entertaining addition to the series. It's shocking. It breaks the rules. It leaves readers anxious for the final installment.
And it's all connected by author Rachel Vincent's heart-felt, tearful and beautiful passages and the humorous, fun and sarcastic dialogue readers have come to expect.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
I was a bit conflicted about giving this book 4 stars when I would have liked to have given it 5. I love the series and absolutely loved "If I Die." I think I was a little frustrated with Kaylee in this book because her actions were not in sync with what she kept thinking she needed to do. Her friends and family were in danger from the Hellion Avari who had found a way of crossing into the human realm. Kaylee was given back a Hellion-forged dagger, which could oust Avari from possessing a soul and recover the soul at the same time. With imminent danger looming, Kaylee would want to keep that dagger with her at all times, right? Sigh (from me), she left it in the car. Sigh, she left it on the picnic table. Sigh, it's in her room. Sigh, she has to call someone to give it back to her. When a friend is in immediate danger, she takes time to text for help because she doesn't like talking to the person. Hmm, I wonder if she'll get there in time. When a friend dies, the parents gather everyone together for a cookout at the lake for Kaylee's birthday and also under the guise of there being "safety in numbers." Immediately, the kids break up into pairs and get as far away from everyone as possible so they can make out. So much for safety in numbers...but nothing could go wrong, right? Right. What I did like about the book is that it read a bit like a murder mystery. Kaylee is trying to solve murders by working out who the different players are, all while getting used to her undead status. The ending reveals a very different Kaylee, one who would not leave the all important dagger in her car. I liked that Kaylee and look forward to the next book. Her earlier character was understandably overwhelmed and a bit in denial till the end, but I would have liked to have seen more acknowledgment of that from Kaylee...maybe more conflict in how she wanted to protect her family and friends, but was finding it hard to keep herself up for the task. It would have explained some of her more lackadaisical choices. I would also recommend new readers start with the earlier books as many previous events and characters are referred to before they are explained.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2012
This has to be the best one yet, even thoug it's a roller coaster ride of emotions. I won't bore you with a plot summary as I know other reviewers are fond of doing that. I don't think anyone will guess the ending to this book because it's completely unexpected, but that's usually the way it should be in a novel like this. The main group of characters goes through so much, yet again, and just compounds the pain and emotional torture they've been through up to this point. I can't wait to read "With All My Soul", the final book in the series, to see how Kaylee triumphs over all the evil she's faced. Anyone who enjoyed the previous books in the series should definitely read this one because it's well worth it. You won't regret it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2012
[Also available on my blog.]
This was, by far, my favorite of the Soul Screamers books in a long while. The last few I read were, while very good in content, a little hard to get through. There were just a lot of slow spots that you had to read before getting to the exciting parts. This one, though, seemed to go by much faster, and I had no trouble getting through it. I even ended up reading it faster than I had planned.
And I was not prepared for the emotional trip that this book took me on. Not prepared at all.
In this book, Kaylee is dealing with the fact that she's dead and has decided to continue going to school and why any of that matters when she sometimes forgets to breathe. She's dealing with something that I hadn't really thought about before, but makes total sense with the fact that she's dead. And it's very nice that she has Tod during all of this, since he's gone through all of it before.
I love Kaylee and Tod together. Tod is so sweet to and good for her, and they need each other. I loved all of their little moments together, and the step they've taken. I don't think I was fully sold on them before, but I definitely am now. Plus Kaylee's dad (who is a fantastic dad) has to deal with them being a couple, as well as Nash.
Nash is just a problem all his own, and I'm having a hard time with him. Because, first of all, yea, maybe she should have been there for him more when he was going through his addiction, but what he did to her is unforgivable. And then I understand why he's mad about being framed, but Kaylee had her reasons, and she did all she could to get him off the hook. I want to feel more bad for him than I do, but he just needs to move on with his life. He's stuck in a depressed, self-centered state of mind, and he just needs to get over it already. And he needs to wake up to the fact that he has Sabine.
I don't mind Sabine so much anymore; although I didn't much from the beginning, either. She's very straightforward, which I like. And maybe she doesn't always do the best things, but she has her reasons for them, and she's very open about those reasons.
Sophie, Kaylee's cousin: I'm not a big fan of her, for obvious reasons. But she kind of interested me in this book. Mainly because of Luca, a new character we met in this book. And the fact that she met him in the Netherworld in an e-book that I have not read but want to. This book especially made me want to know how, seeing as I want to know more about their relationship and how they met.
Quite a bit happened in this book, and it made it very obvious that something big with Avari, the demon they've been slowly fighting for a while now, is going to happen. I think it has taken way too long for Kaylee to get actually mad at him, but it has finally happened, and I am excited to see what goes down in the next, and final, book. Something big near the end of this book happened with Emma, and I'm intrigued to see what comes of that in the next book. And something happened with one of the characters that made me cry a little; a character that I liked but didn't think I had such big feelings for. I'm not going to ruin it, but I wasn't expecting it until it happened, and something seemed off, and then I was right and I really didn't want to be.
I'm just looking forward to the last book, but definitely not the wait for it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2012
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie
If I Die was positively the best book in the Soul Screamers series. It really raised the bar and actually made me excited for the sequel. However, when I finally read Before I Wake, it had me really disappointed. Don't get me wrong; Before I Wake is a perfectly good novel, but compared to the awesomest read ever, it really can't compare. I feel like Before I Wake was supernumerary after If I Die, but that's only my opinion.
My favorite part of the whole book is any part that includes Tod. I was so happy for Tod and Kaylee when they finally became a couple! I was in my own happy land! If you're Team Tod, you'll definitely be swooning over all his moments. He's my favorite character in the whole series, other than Kaylee, of course. I mean, he's just so hilarious and loyal and caring. What else can a girl ask for?
If I could summarize what happens in Before I Wake, it would be "Kaylee meets a necromancer and Avari is back with more treacherous plans. Don't forget all the excessive deaths that happen!" Honestly, a lot of people die. Some people aren't major characters, but a few totally are. I was so confused as to why Rachel Vincent would kill so many people if it makes the book so hard to read, but hey, at least it was really interesting! Still, I really hated the deaths of certain characters. It was just too many deaths in such a short time.
Another thing I really do admire is how Sophie gets a larger role in the story. Yeah, it might be because she's dating a necromancer, but I really do appreciate how she participates in the action. Or at least she tries to. I like how she and Kaylee improve their relationship throughout the book; character development is a huge part of a book for me. I'm really glad that both characters develop in a realistic way.
Definitely read Before I Wake! It's not lacking in action, that's for sure. And if you have a thing for Tod, you should definitely check this book out. Believe me, you won't be disappointed! If you're Team Nash, I don't know what to say. Maybe reread the first and the second book and have a good time remembering?
This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
Before I Wake is the 6th book in the Soul Screamers series and I'm going to assume that anyone who is reading this review has already read the previous books. If you're not up to date with the series then look away now because this review will contain spoilers for If I Die. I'm a massive Rachel Vincent fan, I love her adult books but I also love this series - in fact it is one of my favourite YA series so I couldn't wait to read this book! For those who haven't started reading these books yet I just have to ask you why the heck not? Go out and grab a copy of My Soul to Take immediately - I promise you won't regret it!
This instalment to the series sees Kaylee trying to come to terms with her death and her subsequent afterlife as an extractor. She is finding it hard to remain visible to her friends and family and often starts to disappear if she loses her concentration - not something that makes it easy to avoid attention at school. She also has to learn how to use the new abilities she has and discover how they will help her with her new role in the reclamation department. From her first assignment she realises that nothing is going to be quite what she expected and she is going to have to face an old foe who has developed surprising and worrying new skills. Luckily she has the support of Tod and her family but things are going to get worse before they can get better.
As the second to last book in the series you can expect some dramatic events in Before I Wake. Things that will shock and horrify you but also moments that will squeeze your heart and make you sigh happily. Kaylee has been through so much in the last few months but she has grown so much stronger because of it. No matter how hard her life has been she has always tried to stand up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves. She has always tried to protect the innocent even if it comes at a high cost to herself so fans won't be surprised to see that selflessness continue. She has to face some truly horrible events in this book though, things that are going to have lasting consequences on her and those around her.
I absolutely love the developments in Kaylee and Tod's relationship, they are so sweet together and I couldn't be more happy with the way things have turned out. I was firmly on team Nash for the earlier books but I really think that with everything they have been through there could have been no happy ever after for them. It was nice to see them start to regain a bit of their previous friendship though and I hope that Nash continues to sort himself out and get over his Frost addiction. Anyway, as far as Kaylee's love life goes I'm now definitely a member of team Tod!
I really liked the addition of Luca to the story, we were introduced to his character in the Never to Sleep novella and I had a feeling we'd be seeing more of him. I'm looking forward to finding out more about his abilities. We also get to see Sophie from a different light in this book, I'm still not her biggest fan but it seems like she has finally started to grow up a bit - about time really! I don't want to talk about any more of the plot so I'm just going to say that this is another great instalment to a fantastic series. As much as I'm dying to read With All My Soul I'm equally sad that this series is coming to a close. I'm going to miss Kaylee and gang after it ends! I'm sure that this is a series I will be re-reading in the future though and that has to be the highest praise I can give it because I hardly ever re-read books anymore.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
Anyway, I just finished Before I Wake this afternoon. I love the Soul Screamer Series so so so much. And Tod...major swoon. I'm still not sure if anything can beat out the 5th book, If I Die. I mean what can top a starstruck lover giving up his afterlife for the girl he loved, then she turns around and bargains with the powers that be to bring Tod back as a Reaper and free Nash of all false murder charges. Kaylee is quite the bargainer...I want her on my side in the end.
The sixth installment had me giggling at Kaylee's and Tod's witty banter, Sabine's complete insanity, and Sophie's uncomfortable acceptance of her, now, not-crazy cousin. After all, Luca and Sofie visited the Netherworld in a little novella, Never to Sleep. But...tears also made an appearance while watching Kaylee struggle to "live," her dad learn to let go, and seeing Nash hurt. Regardless of the scenario, everyone in this little group has made their mistakes, from drug addiction to actually trying to auction off someone to the evil Avari so she can get to the boy she loves. What I admired most about this book, is Kaylee's refusal to leave a single one of her friends without protection, no matter how messed up they were.
Kaylee is everything I wish I could be and, at the same time, everything I am. She's loyal, strong, and take charge. She's also scared, a tad bit depressed, and completely lost at times. I mean, I think about the next ten years and freak out, can you imagine looking forward to eternity? No thank you. She has also found her true love, someone that can remain by her side for all of eternity - assuming neither of them break any rules that will end their afterlives or get re-killed by Avari and his band of hellions.
Rachel is one of few authors who make you care about the side characters just as much as you care about Kaylee, Tod, and Nash. While there are times I would like to strangle Sabine, Before I Wake gives you some insight into her lover for Nash and her fears. Who knew the mara had fears, she's a living, breathing nightmare after all. She's waiting for Nash to get over Kaylee, which absolutely cannot be easy. Nash is struggling through his love and hatred for Kaylee - slowly and awkwardly. His dependence on mind-altering substances poses some major issues.
Emma's finally found a boyfriend, a human boyfriend. I love the way Emma's character is written because she's not the "weak little human" among her group of friends. She's strong in her own ways and a totally kick ass friend to Kaylee. She never runs screaming when Kaylee tells her about Avari's newest endeavor - the ability to physically cross over from the Netherworld to the human plane. Stealing souls from everyday normal humans and Reapers and Extractors.
Avari's plan culminates at the end of the book, leaving us with another cliffhanger. I can't imagine waiting on the final story.
Many things are resolved in Before I Wake but others remain unknown and uncharted. My heart quickened with excitement, slowed with Kaylee's desperation, and stilled in terror. If you haven't started this series, I recommend you do so soon. And...never fear, the times Kaylee's story seems slow or uncomfortable all rebound, leaving readers wondering WTH?!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2012
My Thoughts: No Spoilers right, please? I thought Vincent couldn't outdo herself from her last novel. Boy, was I wrong!
In Before I Wake, we are back with Kaylee and her crew. Things are insane. Things have changed a lot for Kaylee. She isn't dating Nash anymore and she's finally with the one I wanted her with. Yay.
Kaylee is dead, can't get much worse than that, right? Think again.
An old friend (not) is back and Kaylee has a new set of problems to deal with. Not to mention, she doesn't really need to eat or sleep anymore. Gosh, that sure does take a lot of out life. With this new person back in town, she is just a pawn in his evil game.
Lets just say this, Kaylee has so much to deal with it could really make a girl go crazy. The plot ,wow, just wow. I can't really say much. I don't want to ruin this novel or any of the other ones with crazy details.
Lets talk about Tod and Nash for a second. I still like them both, I really do, but I still love Tod's wicked sense of humor. I love how he always knows the right things to say and Before I Wake is no different. It's funny, it's sad, it's awesome.
I was happy to be back with all my favorite characters. I'm happy to have read this novel!
Its probably one of my favorites of the series so far even though I loved them all!!! And the ending, oh Vincent, why do you do this to us? Why do you make us get all into it, and just end it like that? Its so freaking devastating!!!
Lets leave it at this, Before I Wake was AWESOME!!! So freaking AWESOME!!
Overall: Please read this series if you haven't already! You will fall in love with it! Team Tod! I'm so excited for the next in the series, I just want to jump up and down!!! Be warned, this novel might make you cry! I did a few times!!!! But I was also laughing at times! Geez, Vincent you done it again!!!
Cover: Love it! This series has the prettiest covers ever!!!
What I'd Give It: 5/5 Cupcakes
Review Taken From Princess Bookie
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
In all honesty I was quite hesitant to read this book- "If I Die", the fifth book in this series, was one of my most favourite books of 2011 and I personally felt that the series was wonderfully wrapped up with that book and as such, no further books would be necessary. Admittedly this book didn't blow me away quite as much as "If I Die" and while I am a bit on the fence about whether or not this book was needed I did enjoy it as a whole.
Admittedly I had a bit of trouble getting into this book initially- I had two major complaints, one being that I found the writing to be quite flat, I couldn't connect to much of what was going on in the book because I wasn't feeling anything (ie. characters deaths, etc.)- the only times I didn't have a trouble connecting to the book were the cute moments between Kaylee and Tod (not unlike how those are the only moments that Kaylee truly FEELS anything). The other complaint I had of the beginning of the book was the kissing- I felt that there was far too much of it going on (which was the first time I have ever experienced that while reading a YA book- usually I am vying for more kissing in YA books, rather than less)- for the first couple of chapters all Kaylee and Tod did when they were together was make-out (on almost every page there was at least one reference to kissing). Why this bothered me was that I felt like they felt the need to make-out every five seconds to reiterate the fact that they were dating (ie. if we make-out lots we will convince everyone around us that we are in LURV). However, that complaint soon diminished as I realized that there was a reason behind it.
Complaints aside, one of my most favourite parts of this book was without a doubt the characters, their complexity, and development. As I am sure many have come to know through my (near constant) complaints of him (and referring to him as a douchenozzle on a number of occasion) I am not a Nash fan. In the slightest. Not even in the first book of the series before all of the shizz went down. That being said, I did start to like him a *bit* in this book (more so the end of the book when he started to get over his looking at Kaylee with puppy dog eyes). I think that where I disliked him as a boyfriend for Kaylee I can like him as a really close friend. Also, I really liked Sabine in this book, more so than I have in any other book- in showing her vulnerabilities in this book I found her to be much more real, genuine, and relateable. As for Tod? Well, my thinking of him being utterly swoon-worthy was only solidified in this book.
Another of my favourite parts of this book was the snark- I am ashamed to say that I had forgotten just how snarky and funny of an author Rachel Vincent is. Countless times while reading this book I found myself bursting out loud from what came out of the characters mouths- whether it be Tod, Sabine, Nash, or even Kaylee (yes, I am happy to say that Kaylee amped up on the snark in this book, as one of the characters said, death looks good on her).
All in all, while I don't know if this was a necessary addition to the series I did still find it quite entertaining. And despite my reservations I am looking forward to seeing what the seventh and final book in the series, "With All My Soul", has in store for us!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2012
Kaylee Cavanaugh's death was inevitable, but no one expected her life to end the way it did. It was a Thursday when Kaylee's life ended and her afterlife began. It has now been a month since that fateful day and Kaylee's going back to school. But pretending to be alive is harder than it looks. Then when Kaylee goes on a practice soul retrieval, she comes face-to-face with an old family enemy. The stakes have risen and it's not only Kaylee's soul at risk.
Where If I Die had an air of hopelessness, inevitability, and soul-crushing heartache; Before I Wake has an air of being left adrift, but has undercurrents of power and heart wrenching beauty. Fan, myself included, wondered if Rachel Vincent could out-do If I Die, and she blew it out of the water with Before I Wake.
I think we see Kaylee's true strength in Before I Wake. She has always been strong, no one will contest that, but in Before I Wake we see her at perhaps her weakest and still she manages to pull herself together. Kaylee is like the heart of the group--when she died, the group crumbled, they are only strong as long as Kaylee is. Kaylee's experience with death and her subsequent afterlife have made her stronger and has made her value life even more than she did when she was alive.
Kaylee's selflessness is epic. There really is something "intriguing" and "rare" about it. And that is why Avari wants her. I liked the way Thane described the differences between Kaylee and Avari: "You protect people with lies, and he manipulates people with the truth. You keep saving those who've hurt you, and he hurts people who've done him no harm." Kaylee's unrelenting selflessness is what makes her one of my favorite heroines. I'm glad that she didn't lose it when she died. But there are consequences that come with that selflessness; some are good, some are bad, and some are lasting and can never be taken back.
The addition of Luca to the gang was refreshing. We met him in Never to Sleep, and it was great to learn a bit more about him. Luca's abilities as a necromancer are pretty creepy, though. He's like an undead radar--he can tell you where the reinstated (i.e. Tod, Kaylee) are located, where a corpse can be found, AND he can reanimate the dead. It just makes you shiver in revulsion. But aside from his creepy abilities, Luca seems like a pretty great guy, and to be able to handle Sophie he must have unlimited patience. I don't know how he does it.
I absolutely LOVED the developments in Tod and Kaylee's relationship. Their relationship seems more natural and effortless than Kaylee's relationship with Nash did. Kaylee and Tod started out as friends, grew to care and love each other, and now they are facing forever together. Their hearts literally beat for each other, and they are the only thing that makes the other feel truly alive. I couldn't help but swoon. I love how well they compliment each other. Tod refers to Kaylee as being the strongest person he's ever met, but I loved how when Kaylee was weak or vulnerable, Tod was her strength. I am so very happy that Kaylee chose Tod. I don't know how she withstood his charms for so long.
Here are some of my favorite Tod/Kaylee quotes:
"Forever used to feel like a curse. Now it feels like a promise." (Page 65)
"You make me feel alive. Every time I touch you, I feel like there's some kind of charge flowing between us. Like tiny little bolts of lightning, setting me on fire." (Page 67)
"You don't make me feel normal. You make me feel amazing, like I'm more alive now than I was back when my heart beat on its own." (Page 118)
"How is it possible that every time you open your mouth, I--" fall more in love with you "--melt a little more? Seriously. There's nothing in here but mush." (Page 129)
"Not much scare me anymore, but I'm terrified of losing you, Kaylee. I don't want to let you go long enough for that to happen." (Page 188)
And these are only in the first half of the book. There's a lot more mushiness to enjoy and swoon over.
We wondered if Rachel Vincent could out-do If I Die and she more than did so with Before I Wake. Now with the series finale coming in With All My Soul, Kaylee's out for revenge and I can't wait to see how Rachel Vincent will bring this series to a close. I have a feeling it will be one of the best finales I've ever read and I'll be sad to see it end.