Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from the society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylphs attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies - human and creature alike - let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
Jodi Meadow's debut novel INCARNATE is a beautifully unique and compelling story about reincarnation, theology, romance, and is so much more than you first expect.
Before opening the pretty pages of this book (yes they have butterflies on the chapter pages and again yes I couldn't stop staring at them), sometimes you have to set your expectations lower than you want to especially when it comes to readers praising a particular book title to a point where it overwhelms you. Now I don't know about you guys . . . but I don't like feeling disappointed in a book and find myself questioning what people saw in them. It has happened to me on many accounts and I don't like it one bit. However in this case, I went into this book with no high-set expectations and surprisingly I came out with a great result. With the reincarnation element being overdone nowadays in young adult literature, that my friends had no real effect on this book whatsoever and it rather made the storyline stand all on its own.
One of the clear standouts INCARNATE gets right is the high fantasy world Meadow's has created. Reincarnation. Slyphs. Dragons. You name it. I mean, the complexity of it - while it can be disconcerting at times - was both intriguing and fascinating and exciting, and I desperately wanted to know more and more of the history behind the worlds of Heart and Range. However, the only problem I had was the whole gender-changing concept for the character's reincarnations. So for example, when a person reincarnates each and every time, apparently their soul can come back as either a boy or a girl which changes overtime of the reincarnation obviously, and sometimes I felt that was to be a little 'strange' through my eyes. While I accept reincarnation (at least from my understanding of it) can be pretty unpredictable but I don't know . . . I just got weirded out by it. Especially when it came to the present time boys in the book, who were girls beforehand and la-de-da . . . yeah you get the drift. I've found the boys less attractive that way.
Aside from the technical side of the storyline, I really enjoyed unfolding the layers of the sometimes-endearing and the sometimes-complicated love story between Ana and Sam. With Ana being shunned and forever known as the 'nosoul' - as she supposedly took the place of Ciana's soul whom was supposed to be born but instead Ana was - I truly understood why she acted the way she did when it came to Sam wanting to get to know her and with her always being the one to pull away from him. After all, for her whole life she was miserable and her whole society and even her abusive mother for heaven's sakes thought her to be worth nothing . . . and Ana was made to believe this. So while Ana may seem reclusive, defensive and unattached from the people trying to connect with her, she has her reasons and has a lot of things that she needs to resolve for herself, and I guess that's what made her such a believable and an enjoyable young heroine. But then of course we have Sam - the love interest and just about the only person whom is willing to put aside what Ana is and focus on their new friendship. I admit, at first it was a rocky road for Ana and Sam to admit their feelings for one another, but thank god for no insta-love being involved. I was kind of worried for that. But without explaining the whole ordeal between them, I'll just say . . . everything worked well for their relationship and it was written in a way that you could respect it. Again, thank god for no insta-love.
The romance and the world weren't the only things I loved about INCARNATE. It was the element of music that had truly moved me. The music featured in this book was what helped stitch this book together and added such a great depth to the storyline. I loved it so much but not because I love music myself but for the mere fact that it made us readers forget about what Ana went through in her past and rather brought out a whole new side to her that is secretly hidden beneath all that pain of hers. The idea that music can change someone's world forever . . . it was clearly shown through this novel and I loved it a lot.
Overall, this is a great start for a series. While I found some scenes happening too fast and were created for the sake of more action sequences (the main reason for why I'm given this book 3 1/2 stars), however I still enjoyed everything this debut novel had to offer. With a well-developed plot, a slow-burning romance and with plenty of things to keep you guessing until the final pages . . . INCARNATE is definitely something you don't want to miss out on. I mean, just look at the beautiful shining cover!
3 1/2 / 5 stars