February 6, 2014

Latest Read: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Here are the basics ...
Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Publication date: Jan. 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy
Source: Gift from Alexa (Thanks!)

Summary: Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories 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 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. Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and when he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But will Ana's enemies 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? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Why, oh why, didn't I read this series sooner? It's one of those books that was always on my radar but for whatever reason, never took the plunge to start. What reeled me in immediately about Incarnate was its concept, which was unlike anything I've read before. In the Range, the world Jodi Meadows created, there are a million souls that exist and get reincarnated over and over again. These souls may wake up in brand new bodies every time but they retain memories and experiences from their past lives. Everyone knows everyone and friendships have spanned thousands of years. And then comes Ana. On the night of her birth, a soul vanished and Ana is born with a new soul, completely her own. Her existence strikes fear and suspicion in those around her and she struggles to understand who, or what, she is. But it's impossible to do that while living in seclusion with her horrible (horrible!) mother Li, until on Ana's 18th birthday she decides to travel to Heart, the city where the council and the main library resides. She's determined to find answers and that's where the story begins.

The author doesn't waste any preamble and throws the reader into Ana's current situation of leaving her home to find answers. I thought this was a great way to start off the book. For me, it was easy to piece together the information revealed along the way and it wasn't before long that I was in the journey with Ana. Well Ana and Sam, the guy she meets almost immediately when he saves her from sylphs. (Sylphs are shadow creatures that can burn people. Oh and there are dragons in this book too!)  Ana is a complex character who goes from living in seclusion to being in a city of people. People who have centuries of experience to draw upon and her feelings of inadequacy and loneliness are captured perfectly by the author. You get the sense at the magnitude of what Ana experiences and how small she feels in comparison. But that doesn't stop her. She faces so much fearlessly and sarcastically (loved this about her!) and I wanted her to be given the same chances as everyone else. (I also wanted to Sam to kiss her but more on that in a minute.)

Even though this is Ana's story, Sam becomes a huge part of her life and her journey to figure out who she is and their relationship was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the book. He's so patient to earn her trust and the tension between them leapt off the pages. He's both open and closed off with her but little by little, he shares his secrets and gives us a better understanding of what it's like to be on the other side. To be someone who comes back again and again. I really enjoyed how the book made me think about what a soul means, reincarnation and the whole idea of soulmates. Can two souls really recognize each other? I like to think Ana and Sam do.

(No) reservations: The writing was solid and I pretty much flew through the book. There was this one scene towards the end, in the middle of all the action, that I had a little difficult visualizing but aside from that, the world-building was strong and vivid.

Do I recommend?: I do! Don't wait as long as I did! Plus the all three books are out now so this would be a great time to do a binge-read.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. You don't understand how happy my heart is that you've now read this series! I've seriously loved it since I first read Incarnate in its debut year, and I feel like it often gets overlooked. It's so solid though, in terms of building the world, the wonderful characters (especially Ana, who's awesome, and Sam, who's swoon-worthy) and the incredibly compelling, thoughtful story based around an interesting premise. Basically, I love the Incarnate series and I'm SO HAPPY that you loved it too!

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  2. Ha! I'm pretty sure the first thing I wrote about this book was "why didn't I read it sooner?!" It was absolutely phenomenal and I loved both it and Asunder. Cannot WAIT to get my hands on Infinite! :)

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  3. I like this series, but I still struggle with Ana and Sam sometimes - he's just so much older than her, and sometimes it's painfully obvious. I also felt like Ana kind of lost her purpose for a while, and let herself get sidetracked by her romance with Sam. I just picked up Infinite the other day though, and I'm excited to see how it all ends!

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