I was so excited for this book! I was glad that I didn’t read If I Die before late May, so I only had to wait for about a month… Also, I won a signed copy of If I Die in the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge hosted by Fiktshun (yay!), so I am GIVING AWAY my unsigned copy (perfect condition, no bends/broken spine) AS WELL as a copy of Before I Wake to two lucky winners! So if you haven’t read If I Die, this is your chance to win it and catch up with the series :) You might want to skip my review for BIW though…
Check the bottom of this post for more information on the giveaways.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR IF I DIE
Published June 26, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Paperback, 339 pages
Blurb from goodreads:
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...
Review (no spoilers for BIW):
The ending of If I Die marked a turning point in this series. What would happen after Kaylee’s death and reanimation was anyone’s guess, but saving souls from being stolen and sold on the hellion blackmarket definitely sounded like her kind of job. However, it was also clear that experiencing and remembering her own murder, killing her math teacher (no matter how evil he was), and the Afterlife would change her and her relationships with her friends, family, and boyfriend.
Kaylee feels very disconnected from everyone around her, especially late at night when no one else is up. Everyday life and school seem pointless when she will never age, never graduate, never go to college or have kids. She also has trouble to stay visible and corporeal – especially at school. The circumstances of what to the rest of the world was her almost-death are mysterious enough to attract a lot of media attention as well as unwanted gawking and questioning by her fellow students. Her new popularity is awful to her and makes her want to disappear – which makes it hard for her not to do just that…
In addition to that, Thane the rogue reaper is back and stealing souls once more – and Kaylee now has the job to stop him by reclaiming them with the help of Luca the Necromancer (and Sophie’s new boyfriend). Of course, Thane in the real world means Avari is back at his scheming… and the consequences for humanity should he succeed are worse than ever before. Talk about raising the stakes. You thought possessing Kaylee’s friends was bad? You have no idea…
Then there is, of course, the Tod-Kaylee-Nash-Sabine love-knot. And it is still… knotty. Nash is still furious about Kaylee framing him for murder. However, Tod and Kaylee’s relationship is absolutely beautiful. I love how they interact with one another, and I promise you scenes that will make you fan yourself with your bookmark and dry your eyes with your sleeves.
The plot in this installment of the series unravels wonderfully and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s very very hard to put down. Also, I would not have thought it was possible to cram so much plot and drama and heartbreak into the last two dozen or so pages. Kaylee’s trials in If I Die could never have prepared her for this, and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out in With All My Soul, the last novel in the series. I thought that If I Die was hard to top, but Rachel Vincent definitely did it with Before I Wake!
Personal thoughts (SPOILERS AHEAD):
*sigh* Kaylee and Tod… seriously one of my favorite couples ever. And all that without being mushy-gushy super-sweet! Because that kind of stuff makes me gag… but here it’s just sincere. It’s realistic. It’s bloody, and desperate, and tender, and perfect. Not to mention hot. I loved all the scenes of them together. Tod finds the perfect words. And I love the snark of course (also Sabine’s).
I was really worried about Kaylee at the beginning because her state of mind read like depression. I don’t know what I expected and it actually makes sense the way it is in the book, but I was unprepared for the effect that the afterlife and facing eternity would have on her. Just because she didn’t die (well, not for very long) her problems are not solved all of a sudden. She still has her soul. Avari still wants it. And he knows just how to make her suffer…
I expected Avari-problems, but I never thought he’d find a way to actually cross over and wear the skin of the people Kaylee lost (people she thinks she failed) in a mockery of resurrection. I never expected Avari to make Kaylee ‘kill’ him/them over and over and over with her hellion-forged dagger. It was nauseating. The thought that someone could just pick one of your friends, kill them, then wear them like a suit…
And then Alec… oh god. I actually thought something was off. But there was no way Kaylee could have known. Still – she was the one who killed him, and I don’t know how she will ever deal with that… on another note, I really liked Avari’s speech about what he has planned for Kaylee. It was beautifully written, and I wouldn’t have expected such almost poetic thoughts from a hellion.
While I had an inkling about Alec, I was completely caught by surprise when it comes to Emma. When she died, I just… it was too awful. I was so glad that she now lives on in Lydia, but I can’t imagine that she’ll be thrilled about having a different body, and having to share it (from what I understood anyway). Did Lydia’s siphon abilities survive and transfer to Emma?
Also, there are still the unresolved plot strands about Emma’s sister who is pregnant with Beck’s baby. That is sure to come up again. In addition, I am still wondering why Kaylee’s mother’s lifespan ended after only 13 years. Why did Thane pick Kaylee in the first place all those years ago? I would love to know more about the older banshee generation…
Time to bring my rambling thoughts to a close. I absolutely loved Before I Wake! It had me guessing, and hurting, and scheming, and laughing, and missing tram stops while I was reading. I cannot wait to read With All My Soul to see how the larger, overall arc of this series turns out! I really have no idea how it could end, how to bring closure to it. But I’m sure Rachel Vincent has it all figured out ;)
Have you read BIW? What were your reactions? Comments make me happy :)
Now on to the giveaways!
- Giveaway ends on July 16, 12:01 a.m. (EST)
- One entry per person. I will check the IP addresses and multiple entries will be deleted.
- You must be 13 or older.
- Since I am just starting out as a blogger, I require you to follow me in some way. I might make this optional in later giveaways.
- The BIW giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to you.
- The IID giveaway is restricted to Europe, the US and Canada because I will have to ship this copy myself.
- I will contact the winners by email. If they do not respond within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.
Good luck, and feel free to spread the word! If something doesn’t work or you have questions, tell me in the comments. a Rafflecopter giveaway