My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
After sneaking into a club with her best friend, Kaylee Cavanaugh’s attention is diverted by a young woman. She’s pretty, yes, but there’s something about her that leaves Kaylee full of dread and with a terrifying urge to scream. Kaylee is “absolutely certain that something was not right with that girl.” But, apart from perhaps imbibing a few too many drinks, nothing appears to be wrong with the girl. Fortunately for Kaylee, the need to scream abates without any sound escaping her, and, maybe best of all, without scaring off Nash Hudson, one of the hottest guys in school, whom she ran into at the club.
The next morning, however, Kaylee learns that the girl she saw died later that night. And a few days later, the same thing happens again. Kaylee has no idea what’s wrong with her, but Nash seems to know more than he should. Nash may be able to provide some of the answers Kaylee is looking for, but not all of them. Such as, why are seemingly healthy girls suddenly dying from unknown causes throughout the city?
As a protagonist, Kaylee is, well, similar to a lot of the main characters in YA urban/paranormal fantasies. Really, there isn’t much that distinguishes her from them. (You know, apart from the, er, thing that sometimes makes her want to scream.) Likewise, most of the secondary characters are not fleshed out, but come across as stock characters. And it sometimes seems as if Vincent decided to kill two birds with one stone with Nash’s character by having him fulfill two roles, Provider of Explanatory Dialogue and The Love Interest. The romance between Kaylee and Nash is perfunctory, and I actually think the story could have worked just as well without it — meaning not without Nash, but without the Kaylee-Nash romance — but I’m hoping that this, as well as the development of some of the other secondary characters, will improve in the next two books.
What elevates My Soul to Take are the novelty of its mythology and the suspense angle. While the setting is pretty generic, I very much enjoyed Vincent’s re-imagining of folklore. I found this aspect of the worldbuilding clever and well done. Vincent also builds tension into the story efficiently and organically, and the mystery is actually suspenseful, leaving readers guessing. It’s not filler or merely an excuse for Kaylee and Nash to spend time together. But with this said, I’m still not invested in their romantic relationship thus far.
My Soul to Take will be published on July 28. The second book in the series, My Soul to Save, is scheduled for January 2010, and book three, My Soul to Keep, for June 2010. A free prequel is available at the Harlequin Teen site and the eHarlequin store.
** quoted from ARC; ARC received from the publisher **