Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Note: This review contains required spoilers from If I Die (VBC review). If you have not read the previous Soul Screamers book, read at your own risk. However, if you’re current on the series, we won’t give anything from Before I Wake away.
If I Die was a game-changing book. The Soul Screamers world as we knew it was turned upside down, relationships were broken, lives were lost and new futures were laid out. Before I Wake had a lot to live up to and I was not disappointed.
We pick up a month after Kaylee died and was thrust into her new job as an extractor with very little time to recover. Kaylee feels increasingly disconnected, struggling to remain a part of her old life and not fade into the afterlife after she has been so fundamentally changed. But when souls are being stolen, she is forced to band together with her friends to figure out who’s behind it before more people die and more souls are lost. An old foe has upped the ante, forcing Kaylee to take some truly heartbreaking actions.
This installment packs an emotional punch and the fearless writing that has become a trademark of Rachel Vincent’s books. I’ve come to love people I hated, dislike people I loved and go into every new book knowing I will never guess what’s coming. There were plenty of twists and turns and more than one moment that caused my jaw to drop when reading Before I Wake.
The ticking clock toward her death in If I Die caused Kaylee to step away from all the teenage angst and focus on what is truly important to her. This carries through to Before I Wake and I loved how much she has grown. She truly steps into the heroine’s shoes, taking charge and acting as an equal to the adults in the series. There is a maturity to Kaylee, not only in how she handled situations but also in her relationship with Tod. He acts as an anchor for her, always stepping in to support her or make her smile, providing some of the sweetest moments to date.
After being forced to frame him for her murder, things between Kaylee’s and Nash are pretty strained. There are plenty of confused and hurt feelings and it leads to some of my favorite Sabine/Kaylee interactions. Many more of our favorite characters make appearances, as well as some blasts from the past. As the serial soul thief gets closer and closer to the group, all the teens are forced to face past issues and build bridges. It gets to the point where you don’t know who to trust or who will be in danger next.
Before I Wake was gut-wrenching at times, heartwarming at others and I loved every minute of it. It left me feeling like most, if not all, of the characters were ready for the final book With All My Soul next year (even if I’m not). Every Soul Screamers book tops the last and this one was no different.
Sexual content: kissing, non graphic sex