November 12, 2012

Review: Before I Wake, by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent
Title:  Before I Wake
Series: Soul Screamers (#6)
ISBN: 9780373210619
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, June 26th 2012

Buy your copy: Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I died on a Thursday—killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it.

The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school

Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend.

But to earn her keep in the human world, 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.” GoodReads’ blurb

How do you rate a book that kept you up until five in the morning for three days in a row? How do you rate it when it makes you look at the shadows in an entirely different way? When it really makes you wonder if the lead character will actually manage to pull it off?

Exactly. This is Top Quality (totally deserving of the capitals, too)!

You know that, when this series began, I loved how original it was, tackling creatures no one else ever had and giving us an incredibly detailed world that I couldn’t wait to know more about (see my review of book 1). You know that I despaired of Kaylee’s hero complex, too—of her obsession with blaming herself and making herself responsible—and that at some point this almost made me scream (see my review of book 3). You surely know that there was a short novella (more on that here) and that by the time I reach this book, I’ve called a total game-changer in this series (that’d be my review of book 5).

One wonders what the next step is. Well, this is the next step: Best. Series. Ever.

There might be other books that present kick-ass heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, super interesting takes on myths new or old, plot twists impossible to predict... But I find that those series are few and far in between, and it’s extremely hard to find all those characteristics wrapped in one single title.

The stakes were high in If I Die, but Before I Wake does something I didn’t think it would: adds a whole new layer of danger to the conflict. Makes it so intimate that it nearly scares you, so gut-wrenching that you can’t help but feel with the characters when they face their impossible odds and their grim (no pun intended) situations.  

The characters don’t stay as they were in book five, either. They still grow. They still respond to their world and evolve accordingly. I couldn’t love Tod more at this point, frankly, but I’ve also grown to appreciate Nash once more, to value Faythe for what she is (one hell of a kick-ass friend!), and to understand Sophie, Kaylee’s father and even the despicable Reaper we thought we’d never see again.

In a nutshell: read this book. Do it now. If you haven’t read the five titles before it, get them ASAP and work your way through them back-to-back, because what you’ll find at the end is so worth it.


  1. Love your review!! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did. I definitely agree with you on the characters' growth. After book 5, you'd think they would be done, but they aren't. I really enjoyed Tod's time in this book and the man that he became because of Kaylee. I even started to like Nash again.

    With All My Soul can't get here soon enough!

    1. Totally agree! I need to see how this one wraps up. Plus, Rachel Vincent has said that by the time all's said and done, Kaylee will be as badass as Faythe, and I really want to see how she gets there!

  2. MAN! I need to seriously start this series! I've heard that it was good, but still that good at book 6 is very encouraging.

    1. Yes, you do need to start it! Book three might drive you up the wall at times, but trust me--this story gets only better and better, and now it's a fave!

      By the way: audio version for this one, hands down. The voice acting is amazing, and Tod's low rumble will leave you gaga!

  3. Oh, fine! So shoot me. I have yet to finish the second book. But you make a very convincing case, Ron, and as soon as I find my way out of these review copies, at least enough to see light at the end of a tunnel, I'll re-start this. All the things you've mentioned are the things I appreciate so I see no reason not to.
    Thank you for pushing me, again. :)