Before I Wake, I read books two and three. I just realized I never reviewed book one, My Soul to Take, so here's a good one sentence summary: The unique premise (banshees!) makes for a fun, exciting read even when the characters act too quickly or the narrative is caught up in exposition.
The first three books all follow different paranormal conflicts, with some of the character issues carrying over (such as main character Kaylee's tension with her cousin Sophie) so it's easy to jump in to book two or three if you haven't read the previous installments. Of course, it does spoil the outcomes of the issues in the previous books, so if you're super wary of spoilers, I'd say to stop reading this post. But if not, onwards!
My Soul to Save, follows Kaylee, her boyfriend Nash, and the grim reaper Tod as they attempt to save the souls of some teen starlets who sold them in exchange for their immense fame and fortune. Not the most original people to need saving for this sort of business, but it sure does make for a fun read. Although the main celebrity, Addison, first appears in this book, both her personality and inner conflict regarding the benefits vs. costs of selling her soul are actually pretty well-drawn-- the presence of her family and her connection to Tod make her problems complex and emotional. I also enjoy this novel's abundance of action; because the gang expectantly encounters some sketchy Netherworld characters and have to get their hands dirty while trying to negotiate a deal to save souls, there's a nice amount of twists and turns that make this a purely enjoyable read. I'm not a big fan of some of the real world issues, though. Kaylee and Nash's relationship doesn't interest me despite how intense Kaylee claims it is, and I would have enjoyed reading more about Kaylee's difficulties in keeping up with her father and best friend Emma as she tries to keep them unaware about her dangerous banshee business.
Book three, My Soul to Keep, follows Kaylee, Nash, and Tod as they try to discover what's up with some of their friend's newfound addiction to Demon's Breath, a substance that should never have made it from the Netherworld to the real world. Definitely not as exciting of a plot as the previous book, so I didn't enjoy it quite as much. I still liked it though since it brought out more of the characters than I think the previous books did. I especially enjoyed Kaylee's actions near the end-- I'm glad she can stand up for herself and realize the most important parts of her relationships. I also like the villain in this book because although he sometimes seems a bit over-the-top, he sure does bring out the worst in people, and that makes for a tension-filled read.
Overall, I actually really like this series. Paranormal is definitely not my thing, but these are fun and unique, so reading them is a treat.
Book details: My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save are available individually and, along with the prequel short story My Soul to Lose, as the omnibus Soul Screamers: Volume One. My Soul to Keep is still flying solo.
Source: gifted books one and two, book three from the Harlequin Teen Panel