The Literary Horizon: My Soul to Take, Guardian of the Dead

I’ve never been shy about my less than loving relationship with supernatural fiction; the taxonomic problems alone make dealing with the genre a headache for me. Make that young adult supernatural fiction and, while I’m not adverse to them, I rarely seek them out. That being said, I do have two titles on my reading list that are firmly YA supernatural fiction—and I really want to read them.

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

via Amazon

I added this one to my list when TJ reviewed it two years ago; forget vampires, werewolves, and the Fair Folk, here we’ve got a mystery (and romance) centering around banshees and grim reapers. (If the “mythological creatures connected to death” thing continues in this series, I’m going to hope valkyries enter into it at some point.)

She found it to be unique, although the romance was lacking and the twist at the end sounds like it shot the book in the foot. Trisha at The YAs YAs YAs had a similar opinion; an interesting world with a lacking romance—she also notes that Nash appears to be both mentor and love interest. Hmm.

My Soul to Take was published on August 1, 2009.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.

Debut author Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this unique, incredible adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.

via Amazon

This recommendation came to me on one of the strangest nights of my life, which ended in a panel about queer characters in young adult literature. Out of breath, I raised my hand and asked for book recommendations with explicitly asexual characters in them, and this one was the first one I got. Sure, she’s a minor character, but it also sounds like a good book to boot.

Cindy at Fantasy Book Critic enjoyed the worldbuilding and characters, but found the pacing slow and the infodumps dry. Kate at Read This Book! thoroughly enjoyed it, however, citing only one character’s actions that she didn’t like.

Guardian of the Dead was published on April 1, 2010.

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