“Forever used to feel like a curse. Now it feels like a promise.”
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….
As any regular reader of this blog know, Soul Screamers series is one of the few paranormal novels that I continue reading past of first three books. Normally, for paranormal series I can only handle a trilogy, more than that will need a lot of push and convincing already. But in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series I don’t need any convincing, I can devour every single page of every book of this series anytime.
So we are now on the sixth book, after this, only one book is left before Kaylee’s story will end. After the previous book, If I Die, I honestly don’t know how Rachel Vincent can top her plot anymore. I mean, seriously she kill Kaylee, her main protagonist of this series in that book. But as I said from my review before, If I Die is the game changer part of Soul Screamers series, it remade the whole series by giving the ultimate twist which in return leaves a lot of room for more twist and turns to the next book. Just like Kaylee’s new found life anything can happen in here and Before I Wake surely used that advantage to continue Kaylee’s adventure to the living world and Netherworld.
After Kaylee’s death from If I Die, she is back again with us, and this time as one of the undead. Kaylee is now working as an extractor, reclaiming stolen souls. She is trying to live a normal life in-spite of the fact that she doesn’t actually living anymore. As hard as she tried, connecting to the real world is not easy. Most of the times she is drifting away, that even as simple task as breathing is not normal anymore.
Before I Wake focus on how Kaylee tried to adapt with her new life. It’s a big adjustment for her, pretending to be alive in front of everyone and to care in mundane things even she knows for a fact that those things are not for her anymore. The way Rachel Vincent explores Kaylee’s conflicting emotions in staying to the living world is smoothly done. She made Kaylee vulnerable without stripping her hero complex character. The Kaylee who is struggling to exist for everyone she cares and love is the typical Kaylee we all know. Which just shows that even she thinks she is loosing her humanity after death, she is still the same Kaylee who will do anything for the sake of the people she loves.
And with Kaylee being newly dead, not only her is doing an adjustment but also the people around her, the people who knows what really happened to her after the incident with her Math professor from If I Die. Kaylee’s father is one of those people and he is just as lost as Kaylee. But he is trying his best to help Kaylee, trying to live life as normal as he could. I think no one suffers as much as he did when Kaylee died, not even Tod nor Nash. As a father who is just catching up with his daughter after leaving her to his brother, he is still in the process of making up with Kaylee, but after her death, how can he catch up anymore? Even if Kaylee linger around, pretending to be alive things isn’t the same anymore. He lost his daughter and nothing can change that, not even Kaylee’s ability to be visible and linger around.
Other than Kaylee’s Dad, Tod is the most supportive to Kaylee. I think no one understand Kaylee better than Tod. Being also undead, he’s the one who really knows and understand what Kaylee’s going through. He’s been there before, fighting the boredom and monotonous of afterlife. And he is really a great help to Kaylee as he is always there to support her and reminds her that everything will be alright. When Kaylee thought that she is losing her humanity, Tod is there to remind and show her the reality of the situation. He keeps Kaylee’s hope and make her afterlife more meaningful.
“You’re not lost, Kaylee. You can’t ever be lost, because I’ll always know where you are. And if I’m not there with you, I’m on my way, and nothing standing between us will be standing for very long.”
Nash is still as oblivious as he is. He doesn’t have even have a slightest clue how much Tod love him. Poor boy, if he only knew what his brother did for him. Well, eventually he will knows for sure, there’s only one book left and I think Rachel Vincent will use that revelation to give Nash and Tod their long-waited reconciliation. I still believe that Nash deserve happiness and peace even he acted as a jerk sometimes. That’s why it is nice to see in here that he is at least trying to build-up some sort of friendship with Kaylee. He is just lost and I know he’ll find the way back soon. He will be the same Nash that we met during the start of this series or maybe better.
Avari as a nemesis doesn’t feel so frightening to read anymore. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t feel Avari as a real threat in here. As if Avari is not a worthy enemy for Kaylee. We all know that Kaylee can really kick-ass and a heroine with a heart like her, for sure she she can do anything she put her heart into. She already gave her life to save Emma, Sophie and Nash in If I Die, isn’t that enough proof of what she can really do? So why gave her again her old nemesis who’s only motivation is his greediness? If there’s just more reason why Avari isn’t giving up getting Kaylee’s soul, the plot may be more thrilling to read. Sorry but being a hellion of greed isn’t enough reason for me, I really wish there’s a deep-seated motivations behind his plans. I didn’t get it from this book but I’m hoping that the next and final book will give me enough reasons. That there is a much deeper motivations from Avari than his greediness.
Before I Wake is a solid story that continues the ever exciting and engaging Soul Screamers series. With Rachel Vincent’s top notch writing, witty dialogues and fast-paced plot, Soul Screamers continue to be on its game of being one of the best young adult paranormal series out there.