Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: With All My Soul

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.
But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has . . . Quoted from Goodreads


Yet another excellent series comes to an end.  I'll be honest, the first few books were good, but these last ones have been great. The first ones kept me interested in the series, if not exactly riveted.  I think I waited for the fourth one to come out before reading the third. After that, well, I they have grown into something I absolutely couldn't wait to read.

I'm going to try and avoid giving away too many spoilers.  Of course I won't give away any from this last book, and maybe not even from the book or two before, but I do want to tell you what I feel makes this series great.

First, Kaylee.  Of course, a main character is always key to the success of the story, and Kaylee is likable enough in her own way.  What makes her so endearing, though, is her personal growth.  She is not the same person we meet in My Soul to Take.  She has been through so much and it changed her in a good way.

Second, the romance.  I love Tod and Nash and the whole, awkward love triangle.  Actually, while it absolutely is a love triangle at several points in the series, it never feels like one.  I love how Kaylee handled her relationship with both brothers (and yes, it was a bit messy, and absolutely not perfect, but I like the way it played out).  I love the growth.  If you want a realistic romance, one that still sweeps you off your feet and has plenty of paranormal twists, this is it.  Despite all the different paranormal creatures, the relationships in this book are real and honest in a way that a lot of YA books never try to achieve. Plus, well, I love Kaylee's relationship with . . . the person she ends up with.  It's absolutely adorable.

 Third, everybody else.  Each one of the side characters has their own subplot, and I appreciate that.  Yes, this is absolutely Kaylee's story, but it could be any of theirs.  Yes, there are aspects of them I don't like,  *cough* Sabine *cough,* but I respect, and sometimes really enjoy, them as characters. It's kind of like real life, where there are certain people you just can't stand but you still admire certain qualities.  And the parents!  Yes, I love that Kaylee, Tod & Nash, Sophie, and even Emma have very present parents. In the case of the paranormal set, their parents help them out with their problems.  They are people they can go to when things go wrong.  It doesn't take anything away from the teenagers.  There is still plenty of peril to go around, most of which Kaylee ends up facing in one form or another, but they have strong, functioning relationships with parents they actually talk to and respect.  I love it. 

Fourth, the mythology.  First, writing a book about Bean Sidhes and Reapers and Demons was unique and kind of brilliant.  Rachel Vincent took a few well known myths and build an interesting world on top of that.  Sure, parts of it are familiar, but some of the ideas are absolute genius.  Plus, while she gave her characters some really cool powers, they always have limits, and the bad guys are way stronger than our heroes.

Fifth, real life issues.  Yes, a lot of books deal with abandonment, love,  friendship, or not being understood, and this series touches on all of that, but it also deals with other stuff, like drug addiction, break-ups, working with people you dislike, and even a little bit with abortion.  Most of them are dealt with in a paranormal way, but the issues are still there, and I thought she handled them in a very tasteful way.

Sixth, the ending.  I love this ending.  It's absolutely perfect.  Yes, these books have sadness and heartbreak, lots of people die, and there is a lot of sacrifice, but then ending . . . well, like I said before, the ending was perfect.

So did I enjoy this series?  Absolutely, yes (with the caveat that it's geared for older teens rather than younger ones). It has great characters, a solid mythology, and   lots of peril and adventure.  If you want paranormal adventure with realistic characters and relationships or are just looking for a wonderful romance, you should check this out. It's a solid 4.5 stars for me.  Now I'm just  hoping Rachel Vincent decides to write another YA series.

No comments:

Post a Comment