Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows

Release date: January 31st 2012
Published by: HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars

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 society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph 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.

My thoughts:

Incarnate first caught my eye by its cover – seriously, Harper Collins did an awesome job at it, and although I didn’t know at first why there was a girl with a butterfly mask in the cover, it has everything to do with the story. I’ve never read a book about reincarnation, so I was quite curious about it.

In the world created by Jodi Meadows, everyone who dies gets back in new bodies, with the same souls – and remembering everything that happened in previous lives. It’s fascinating and disturbing, and I found myself yearning for more information. However, the background wasn’t deeply introduced, and I expect more will be dealt with as the series progresses.

Ana wasn’t supposed to be born. Her soul is new, and basically, that makes her the only newsoul in the whole world. A stranger and a freak, Ana was raised – badly – by Lin, her mother. And when she turns eighteen, her only goal is to find out who she is, and why she was born. After all, there must be some sort of reason… right?

She crosses path with Sam, who apparently doesn’t have prejudice against her. He’s her guide, and takes care of her. He is – you can probably guess by now – the love interest of the book. To be sincere, I loved the way Sam took care of Ana, and how it didn’t matter to him if she was a newsoul. I loved how he turned out to be someone greater and more important than I imagined, and how, even then, his concern for Ana didn’t diminish.

Their relationship isn’t insta-love, but slow and tense and nearly impossible to exist. Jodi Meadows did a good job at it, but after one third of the book, things got out of control. You know when there’s that point in a relationship in which the characters throw themselves at each other, and don’t care for anything else, except their true love? Yep, that’s Sam and Ana. More than ever, I was annoyed that such a good relationship got this predictable. I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if they didn’t get together.

Oh, that’s not the only thing that made me say “What the hell” more than five times – literally. In the end, every possible thing happened, and the plot was so fast and full of blood and danger and death that it just didn’t make sense. There’s so much one young girl can handle, and Incarnate really forced it. Half of the things that happened in the end could’ve been avoided, and the other half really didn’t make sense. I’m not exaggerating.

Overall, Incarnate is a good debut, and I hope that, in the next books, the characters as well as the plot will get better, and be more realistic. Not that reincarnation can be that realistic, but you got my point. Jodi Meadows is a promising author, and I look forward to her next work, nonetheless.

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