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Monday, 14 May 2012

Book Review: My Soul to Steal - Rachel Vincent

 Published on January 4th 2011 by Harlequin

Goodreads Description:
Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

When I read this book for the second time, I noticed a lot of things that I didn't realize the first time around. I guess it's because the first time through, I had been more focused on the plot rather than everything else, so I'm pleased to get the chance to see everything in a bigger perspective.

It started off pretty fast and I couldn't say where there was a time that I found that the pacing was slow. I'm starting to find that as the series progresses, the faster the action. Anyway, onto the review:

The main conflict of this book is between the constant war between Kaylee, and a new character, Sabine Campbell. When she first arrives, she was so happy to see Nash that it rang some bells in my mind. Especially their reactions to each other upon their reunion. There was no way that they were just friends. To Kaylee's horror, Sabine was Nash's ex-girlfriend, but technically, as Tod put it, "they never did" break up. So where does that put Kaylee? Especially when she wasn't so sure about her relationship with Nash considering what had happened between them in the last book. To make matters worse, Kaylee lost a major advantage to what she would have had over Nash's ex. Sabine wasn't human either. In fact, she was the living personification of a nightmare.

And indeed, she has the abilities to give nightmares to anyone she wishes. So any guesses to who Sabine directs most of them at? If you guessed Nash's current girlfriend, then pat yourself on the back. But like the true heroine that Kaylee is, she refuses to give Nash up. The harder Sabine pulls, the more determined Kaylee is to keep Nash at her side. How does the guy feel about this? Well, let's just say that he's at a loss between the two girls. After a major descent from the top of the social ladder, Nash is left with very few friends, with Sabine quickly promoted to the "best friend" position. However, his current girlfriend doesn't like that fact. So what's a guy to do? He can either keep one of them or lose them both.

I have to admit that the set of characters in this book annoyed me most when I compare them to the other books in the series. If you read Rachel Vincent's Niederwald or Fearless, you would have already had the chance to meet Sabine Campbell. Back then, I sympathized for her character, after everything that she has gone through. In some ways, Kaylee seems to have it good. She has a family who cares for her, a best friend that she can always depend on and a pretty good life in general. On the other hand, Sabine doesn't have a permanent family because she unintentionally scares them to the point that she can't stay with a family for too long. However, despite those reasons, it still irritated me whenever Sabine came into the picture. It's something about her in-your-face type of personality and the way she talks that makes me grit my teeth.

As for Kaylee, I can see why she refuses to lose to someone like Sabine, but on the second read, I started to feel that she was a little over the top with her stubborness. Yes, she had something strong and special with Nash, but after the incident in the previous book, that bond became fragile. Almost to the point that it would break with the smallest amount of applied pressure. Despite being told that over and over, Kaylee refused to give Nash up. Even when it was pointed out that perhaps Nash wasn't the best thing for her, Kaylee snapped at her friends and was hurt by their betrayal. Not to mention, quickly jumping to conclusions that Sabine, the mara, was dangerous and a potential threat to them all. In normal circumstances (like if Nash's ex-girlfriend was determined to take the "ex" part out of the equation), Kaylee would have thought things through a little more, such as getting as much information as she could get and talking it out with others instead of pointing fingers. But unfortunately, her extreme dislike for Sabine made her skip all of that and become reckless.

Nash in this book didn't win any favors from me either. Personally, I thought that he was rather useless throughout this book since he couldn't decide what to do regarding the love-triangle that he was in. But I guess that I would also have to cut him some slack after all he has been through. Again and again, he made several promises to Kaylee, only to break them in the end. And as a result of that, Kaylee was provoked mercilessly by Sabine on several occasions. He wants to strengthen his bond with his girlfriend, but I just thought that he needed to get back to the Nash that we met in the first book. Which seems like an impossible feat as of the moment.

And Tod? The not-so-dead reaper? There were a lot of hints about him that I didn't see on the first read, so I'm delighted to be able to catch each one on the second time through. The oh-so-subtle hints regarding his character made me love him even more. He truly cares for his friends and family and tries to do the right thing, even if it meant being hurt in the process. His selflessness only adds to his character. Whenever Kaylee is in need of a friend who knew everything that had gone on, Tod was the perfect person. So yes, Tod has deserved his time in the spotlight.

In general, I liked this book well enough. The conflict between Kaylee and Sabine could be a little long after a while, but it really did give me a bigger look into both of their characters. That they both have darker sides to them. The characters in general grew a lot since the last book. Probably due to the fact that they went through hell to survive until now. The relationships between the characters was probably the most important aspect of this book as we learn a lot from reading their reactions towards one another. Rachel Vincent has done an amazing job (like always) to make anyone really passionate about her characters. To give a damn about what happens to each of them and feeling their emotions as if they were our own.

As an ending note, I have to say that I really really can't wait to read the next one, as it is my favorite book out of the whole series.

Source: Owned
My Rating:  4 and a half coffee cups (Loved it)


  1. Hey! We reviewed the same book on the same day! :)

    I loved your in-depth comments about the characters. You've gone into much more explaining than I'd have ever been able to... and you've nailed it. Sabine is a character that I do understand, but somehow I feel I'd not be able to be friends with her. (I'd probably trip her down the stairs or something... she's just too much). Her conflict with Kaylee was tiring at times, but I enjoyed it as a whole.

    The only thing I didn't like was the choice Kaylee made in the end, but knowing how it goes in If I Die makes it all better, doesn't it?

    I love Tod, and I agree with you: Nash has gone coward, if he wants a shot he needs to get back to book 1.

    1. Thank you! I always enjoy reading what other people think of a book that I liked.

      Same here, while I sympathize for her and understand her character, I probably wouldn't be friends with her either. While it's good that she's honest, but I feel that she words it in a way to hurt others as much as possible (namely Kaylee) and that's one of the aspects that I didn't like about her. While the Kaylee-Sabine-Nash drama was quite long, I was somewhat glad that Kaylee wasn't going to throw in the towel against someone like Sabine, but at the same time, I wished that she stopped for a moment and listened to what everyone else said about her relationship with Nash and realize it for herself.

      Haha yes, it's much better knowing what happens in If I Die since I feel that it redeems the choice that Kaylee made in My Soul to Steal.

      Poor Nash has been through a lot, but he needs to recover from his problems before having a shot at Kaylee, like you said.