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Book Thoughts: My Soul to Steal

Title: My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers #4)

Author: Rachel Vincent

Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

Pages: 352

Release date: December 21, 2010

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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.

My thoughts on My Soul to Steal are based on a re-read of this fourth full-length book in the series. I had a chance to read MStSteal the first time in November 2010, thanks to an early galley I received courtesy of NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN. My re-read is based on the finished eBook I purchased and I re-read it having read the five full-length books and three novellas in this series currently available.

As I’d already reviewed this book for the blog, Goodreads and Amazon, I’ve chosen to post my thoughts on the re-read instead of re-reviewing it. But if I were to re-rate it, I would give My Soul to Steal five stars, as I did when I first read it.

Re-reading My Soul to Steal was even more nerve-wracking than the first time. I knew what was coming, which made things so much more torturous. The knots that I had when I read it the first time were nothing like the ones that I had on this second read.

I agonized over every anguish-filled moment that Kaylee had when Sabine entered the picture. And my heart ached for her with the knowledge of everything that was to happen. But having read If I Die, there was also a certain sadness that blanketed the events in My Soul to Steal. A sadness that wasn’t as deep on first read.

It wasn’t until this book in the series where my hope for Kaylee and Nash’s relationship took a nosedive. On first read I blamed it all on Nash. Even though his addiction fueled his decisions, they were still ultimately his to make. He made bad choices and hurt Kaylee worse than anyone should be hurt. And while with both reads I never felt Kaylee should completely forgive him, I did feel, on second read, that he deserved to be with someone who could.

When I first read MStSteal, I was so caught up in Kaylee’s pain that I thought that Tod and Emma weren’t being good friends. I thought they were traitorous to her for even thinking that Nash should be with Sabine. But on second read, I thought the opposite. Even Sabine’s words – the ones that weren’t just meant to get to Kaylee – made so much sense. As much as Nash messed up, he deserved a chance at happiness. And he deserved the chance to be able to forgive himself.

Until this book, I’d always felt Kaylee was incredibly strong. In this installment, I felt that she was at her weakest. Because of what happened with Nash in My Soul to Keep and also because of the mara’s presence and influence in this book, her insecurities and fears were at an all-time high. Which made her the most sympathetic she’s been in this series so far in a book that is the most heartbreaking so far.

For the re-read I attempted to take the time to keep track of all those details I was sure I missed on first read because I was rushing through it, riding that wave of tortured, anxiety-filled emotion that takes hold with each and every book that Rachel Vincent writes.

And while I noticed a few things that I missed on that first read, I was caught up in the emotional roller coaster. Again. So, I may have missed a few, though I tried so hard not to.

What I did notice is that there is definitely some foreshadowing about Tod’s feelings toward Kaylee. What those are exactly is still to be determined. But on more than one occasion he was fighting hard to hide some emotion in those swirly eyes of his.

I was also able to look past some of Sabine’s behavior. What I hadn’t realized on first read was that some of that meanness may have been a direct result of the hellion’s influence. Just as some of Kaylee’s insecurities were. Sabine’s need to be forgiven by Emma and the fact that she did apologize to Kaylee were really what drove this home.

While she may have been just as relentless in her pursuit of Nash, she may not have been as cruel as she had been when doing so. At least I hope not. Because, while on first read I didn’t have a single ounce of sympathy toward her, I did sympathize with her quite a bit this second time around.

I was just as caught up in the mystery, chaos and utter mayhem when re-reading My Soul to Steal as I was when first discovering the story. I did re-read it in one sitting and was even more invested in the story’s outcome – as if it may have somehow changed from what I’d remembered – than I was the first time.

And the re-read has made me even more desperate to get started on the next book in the series. While on first read I was utterly heartbroken, I still had a thread of hope, albeit a fragile one, for Kaylee and Nash. And I definitely needed some time to recover from My Soul to Steal.

But now, although I’m still heartbroken for the pair, I don’t need any time to recover. And knowing what’s ahead in the next book, makes me that much more anxious to get started.

***

As much of my connection with Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series is an emotional one, I thought I’d compare the range of emotions the author put me through between the first read and the second.

Emotions on first read: Shock. Anger. Angst. Heartache. Anger. Rage. Anger. Betrayal. Fear. Hopelessness. Nervousness. Some more anger. Anxiety. A little more rage. Hopefulness. Disgust. A lot more angst. Relief. A little more hope.

Emotions on second read: Heartache. Sadness. A little despair. Anger. Disgust. Angst. Heartbreak. Sympathy. Understanding. Some more sadness. A touch more anger. A lot more angst. Just a little bit more anger. HOPE.

***

And since I didn’t list a favorite passage in my review, I thought I’d share two of them here.

“I don’t think there are words for what we are, Nash.” Yet I could think of at least one: broken.

Nash and I were like the wreckage of two cars that had hit head-on. We were tangled up in each other so thoroughly that I could no longer tell which parts of us were him and which were me. We could probably never be truly untangled – not after what we’d been through together – but I had serious doubts we could ever really recapture what we’d had.

“…It kills me to sit here knowing I no longer have the right to lean over this table and kiss you. I want to be the first person you call the next time something goes wrong. I want to know that you’re eventually going to be able to forgive me. And I’m not gonna do anything to jeopardize that possibility.” He took a deep breath and held my gaze. “But Sabine needs me…”

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