Review: Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

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....


Warning: spoilers for previous books.

After the amazing precedent of If I Die, I was actually worried that Before I Wake wouldn’t live up to its standards. And for the first quarter of the book, I did actually wonder. It seemed like everything I wanted had happened and I had no real reason to continue reading, so why was I? Kaylee was still the same selfless character, Tod was still a snark Apricot jam loving Reaper and the rest of the characters hadn’t really changed from If I Die. Sabine was a bit nicer though.

Then something strange happened.

A new mystery was brought forward and suddenly, I was interested again as to how this would all work out. But then, I kind of started to get disinterested. Because what stakes were there to Kaylee? I didn’t really understand what Kaylee could lose because she was already dead and she couldn’t grasp a hold on humanity while adjusting to live in the human world so I felt like she didn’t even want to be dead/alive. She was floating in her mind absently and the only thing that felt alive to her was Tod (which I totally approve of), but after a while even that got boring.

I think what’s dragging this series out for me is Kaylee herself. I mean, she died protecting other people and she still isn’t sick of saving people and help them. I just don’t get it. Surely there is not one person who can die and still feel compassionate about saving people. Sure, her job kind of required it (saving stolen souls and all that), but come on! Surely you had enough by now? I kind of feel like I should go back and re-rate all the books because this isn’t the first time Kaylee’s compulsion for helping others has annoyed me. But it’s the sixth book and this act is starting to wain on me, much like it is on Avari (yes, he’s still around). She died and still has no sense of self preservation which is beyond ridiculous.

It’s really the last quarter of the book that saved me. Because each book in this series has really been a stand-alone plot. Yeah, some aspects continue throughout the books (Demons breath and Avari for example), but each mystery is solved and dealt with by the final page. Before I Wake was different. By the last page, Kaylee is out for revenge and that has me excited for With All My Soul. And this is why I don’t want to re-rate all the other books. Because as much as Kaylee has annoyed me now and before, I desperately want the next book to see what happens which is where Vincent did it right.

I’m so torn on this rating. It was better than the other books, but at the same time it grated on my nerves which made me hate it, but the ending just makes me want the last book even more. I feel like I can’t rate it any lower than the other books because it was better despite my commentating, but I can’t rate it any higher either. I hate this confliction!

Review: 4 stars
Date Published: June 26th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Source: bought
Format: paperback
Date Read: July 2012
Page Count: 336
Series/Stand Alone: Soul Screamers #6


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