Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback, 377 pages
What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...
After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.
But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has...
The following review is based on a copy I won in Rachel from Fiktshun's With All My Soul Mini-Challenge. Thanks again for hosting it, Rachel!
Review (no spoilers):
It’s been a while since I’ve finished the last book in a longer series. Final books are always a double-edged sword for me: on the one hand, I can’t wait to see how everything turns out and to find some sort of closure. On the other hand, this is the final goodbye. Although I’ve only known the characters in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series for a bit over a year, the thought that I’ll never read about Kaylee, Tod, Nash, Sabine & co again hurts – even if I’m happy with the way their story ended!
The ending of Before I Wake left me reeling. So many dead! Emma in a new body. Her sister still pregnant. Avari and the other hellions still a threat. Well, let me say that Kaylee is sick and tired of being threatened. In this last book of the series, she is struggling with an emotion we previously don’t notice as much in her: anger. Such a wealth of it, in fact, that she captures the attention of Ira, a hellion of Wrath. Now before you think ‘great, another hellion is just what she needed’ let me tell you that Ira is quite different from the other hellions in the books. He’s dangerous as they come, of course, but I actually… liked him. I was fascinated by him. That fact that he’s described as rather handsome didn’t hurt, neither did his obvious distaste for Avari. And though his price is steep, he could help Kaylee free herself from Avari… if she is willing to pay.
Want a taste of him? There you go...
"I am the hot thrum of blood rushing through your veins. Every thud of knuckles against flesh is the cry of my true name. I am the glint of rage in your ex's eyes, the livid grinding of his teeth. My pulse is the wave of anger washing over the crowd. The swin of a corpse from the noose. The final twitch of a man murdered in revenge. I know you, Kaylee Cavanaugh. I know you very, very well, and I can give you what you want most in the world." (With All My Soul, page 82)
I really liked that we got to see Kaylee angry for once: It only makes sense. The book starts with Emma’s funeral, which Emma is attending in the body of the girl that used to be Lydia. Then there is Emma’s sister, pregnant with an incubus baby and determined to keep it even though it will probably be her death sentence. Furthermore, Avari has once more abducted some of the people that are most precious to her. In short, Kaylee has every right to be pissed and she wants to free herself and her loved ones of this hellion threat once and for all.
Yet as always, she isn’t alone in this mess, and there are a lot of discussions among the group about taking risks. I liked this because the others called Kaylee out on her sometimes a bit hypocritical habit of wanting to face all the dangers for those she loves and not granting others their right to do the same thing. The group dynamic and dialogue in the book were fantastic, as always! Sabine is of course a great addition to that, and I love how she gets so many mean-but-true lines!
Emma’s character arc was another part of the book I really enjoyed. The transition from one body to another wasn’t exactly smooth for her, and she has to face the truth that she’s actually quite a bit more vain than she thought. Instead of blond, tall, and curvy she is now rather flat and mousy. She isn’t used to nobody paying her any attention. Add to that the fact that Lydia’s body is providing her with a new set of abilities she is struggling to control, and that she has to watch her family mourning her own death. Oh, and let’s not forget that her body is technically that of an asylum escapee… and you know how hard these places are to check out of, right?
Then, of course, there’s the romance *sigh* I love Tod and Kaylee so much. They have the type of relationship I’d hope to find with someone one day. They support one another but give each other their space. I love how they’re equal to each other, able to stand on their own, but stronger together. And yes, we do get some wonderful, swoon-worthy scenes between the two of them… but also plenty bittersweet ones. Especially towards the ending, when Kaylee has to make a difficult and painful decision.
I don’t really know what else I can talk about without spoilers. Let’s just say that even though With All My Soul didn’t pack the same emotional punch that If I Die and Before I Wake had for me (I don’t know why, might just be me/the mood I was in) it is definitely a worthy conclusion to the series! It continues the great mixture of painful/gruesome scenes and fun dialogue I enjoy so much. Once it gets going, you will not want to put it down, and there’s a twist I really wasn’t expecting!
In the end, all the plot strands and questions are resolved, but there is also a certain openness regarding the futures of those who survive, which I think is a great balance. Ira is a surprising but genius addition to the series and I’m kind of sad that we only get to spend one book with him. If you’ve been scared to read this last book and see the series end I can tell you this: it will not be painless, but it will leave you satisfied, so go out and get it already ;)
Have you read With All My Soul already, or started the series at all? What are your thoughts? Any remarks on my review? Let me know in the comments :)