Plot: This picks up where the previous book left off. Nash and Kaylee are still struggling with their relationship, but are starting to get to a better place, even if Sabine is still in the picture. At the beginning of the book, Todd pays Kaylee's dad a visit with some grim (get it?) news: Her time is up. She's come up on the reaping list and is scheduled for death in less than a week. Meanwhile, girls at her school are getting pregnant, having horrifying miscarriages, and Kaylee suspects one of her teachers may be a Netherworld creature trying to propagate his own species using high school girls. Kaylee must race against the clock to get rid of this creature before she dies, come to terms with her own, apparently unstoppable death, and help others in her life do the same. High school's never complicated, though. :D
Characters: There's a "surprising" turn of events in this book as far as the characters and their romantic relationships go. I actually wasn't all that surprised, myself. I suspected that a certain crush was happening several books ago, but I couldn't tell if it was just me or if that was where the author was going. Well, now I have my answer. I have to say, it was a very risky thing for the author to do. She introduced a love triangle between major characters a full five books into the series. She ran the risk of fans hating the idea. I have no idea whether many of them did or not, but it wasn't a problem for me. I sort of liked it. Once it happened, I was instantly rooting for the other couple. :D
Ending: I liked the end. Between two possible outcomes, it did the one that was the most provocative and kept the reader going until the final page. It's also the ending that puts the most interesting potential into the next installment of the series.
Overall: I loved this book! Out of the entire series so far, I think this is my favorite! So great! Can't wait to dive into the next volume!
Never to Sleep (Soul Screamers 5.5)
Plot: This short story between installments begins near the end of the last book, but it's told from Sophie's (Kaylee's snotty cousin) point of view. Basically, Sophie has her first Netherworld experience--that she is conscious for and remembers, anyway--and meets a boy who happens to be Necromancer along the way.
Characters: I'll admit I didn't think I'd like this short very much. Kaylee's cousin is a mean-girl super-princess who the reader has been primed to hate in the regular series. Why would I want to read something from her point of view? Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at how readable the story was. Written in Vincent's trademark, high-school-girl style, we actually learn a lot about Sophie and her motivations. Don't get me wrong, how shallow Sophie is, is also driven home plenty of times. But given her personality and the world she was raised in, you can at least see why she believes and acts like what she does.
Ending: I really like how his ended. In a matter of 70 pages, Sophie gains strength of character and the ability to stand up to her even-snottier friend and competition for dance team captain. I liked that she came away from the experience feeling stronger and more confident. Very well-executed character arc.
Overall: Really enjoyed it. It just makes me want to dive into the next installment that much more to see how Sophie's role in the story will change, now that she knows all about the Netherworld.
Have you read the Soul Screamers series?