Tuesday, February 22, 2011

YA Crossover: Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers

Just when I thought I couldn't stand another thing paranormal -- romance, mystery, chick lit, whatever -- I came across My Soul to Lose while cruising around Amazon one afternoon. This novella by Rachel Vincent is the prequel to the rest of her Soul Screamers series. The premise sounded interesting and unusual, and it was only a couple of dollars, so I decided to give it a go and I'm really glad I did. The story features high school student Kaylee Cavanaugh, who lives with her aunt and uncle due to the early death of her mother and her father's inability to cope with his grief and a small child. Kaylee's life is essentially normal otherwise, other than a few incidents she has been told are simply panic attacks. Then one day Kaylee is at the mall with her best friend, and suddenly starts seeing shadows forming around a young man in a wheelchair. The next thing you know, Kaylee is screaming uncontrollably, and she finally ends up in a psych ward. Eventually she is sprung, but doesn't leave with a lot of answers. We don't find out until part way through the first full length book in the series, My Soul To Take, that Kaylee screams and sees shadows not because she is having panic attacks or some kind of psychotic episoe, but because she is a banshee. The myths surrounding these creatures who wail over the dead are correct in some of the basics, but off in the details, as Kaylee learns. Vincent's twist on the banshee legends and her use of folklore combined with a modern day setting creates an interesting story. The paranormal elements are consistent and the response they elicit in the unsuspecting humans who encounter them is very believable.
Though the heroine is a teenager this is a series that adult fans of paranormal stories will enjoy, as Kaylee's experiences go well beyond study hall and proms. There is a romantic element, as well. Anyone who has not completely blocked out the memories of their teenage years will be able to relate to Kaylee. Overall, this series is a nice change from vampires, and is well paced and populated with likeable (or hateable!) characters.


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