19 January 2012

(ARC) YA Book Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Release Date: 31 January 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Goodreads description:
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?
My Thoughts...

In Heart, everyone is an old soul--quite literally.  Each of the million souls that have existed since the beginning of memory are continually reincarnated after the death of the physical body--until one year the temple goes dark and a soul is lost forever.  Ana is born during that time and the people of Heart believe that she "stole" the place of the old soul.  Treated as an outcast, Ana grows up in an unloving home and is cast out into the snow on her eighteenth birthday, where she survives only on the kindness of a stranger...
Ana is a broken character at the beginning of the story.  Everything that her mother has taught her in her eighteen years of life has been meant to tear her down and make her feel like a nobody.  Despite such awful circumstances, Ana has chosen to propser, teaching herself to read and appreciate music (even though she knows her mother will punish her for those things).  When Ana is rescued by Sam, she experiences her frst glimpses of what it might feel like to be accepted by others--to have friends.  I loved watching Ana develop and grow.  So much of her perspective must change in order for this to happen--she has to experience a true shift in her thinking to appreciate that others might accept her more than her parents did.  She's easy to connect and sympathize with from the beginning.  Her voice has an authentic quality that makes her likeable from page one.

Sam is an unexpected ray of light and hope in Ana's life.  He recues her without realizing who she is but continues to treat her well even after he knows--much to Ana's surprise.  Once she stops trying to run away from him, he offers her the friendship that she's always longed for (whether she realized it or not).  I liked Sam from the moment that he recued Ana.  He is simply fabulous in the way that he doesn't judge her and he forces her to look beyond the things that her mother taught her about herself--strives to convince her that she is not a "nosoul" but a "newsoul."

Ms. Meadows' writing and storytelling simply captivated me.  I read this book in the span of one evening--I couldn't put it down. Ana's story really drew me in from page one and I couldn't wait to see where her journey would take her.   The story that Incarnate offers readers is beautifully written and refreshingly unique.  I loved her take on reincarnation and the implications that it holds for life and love.  The story wraps up beautifully without leaving the reader hanging onto a heart-breaking cliffhanger while leaving plenty of room for growth in future installments.  I, personally, cannot wait to read more of Ana's story.


Chelsea Spencer said...

Great review! I really like the concept of this book--

Donna @ The Happy Booker said...

Awesome review! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I didn't feel the same about it but that is the beauty of this whole book blogging thing. Considering it from your perspective, I can see why you enjoyed the story. My problem with it was the dialog and since that is one of my particular pet peeves, I found it hard to overlook what I thought was poor dialog and appreciate the merits of the story itself. I will say that I agree with you that the story is definitely unique. I haven't read anything too similar to Incarnate's premise. 

Tiffany said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one as well. The writing and descriptions of everything really sucked me in. Also, Sam and Ana were just adorable together and I love the way he treated her.

manda-rae said...

I'm looking forward to this book!  Great review!

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