Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Title:  Incarnate (New Soul #1)
Author:  Jodi Meadows
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  January 31, 2012

For the last five thousand years, the same one million souls have always been reincarnated into new bodies, retaining their minds, memories, and skill sets of past lifetimes. Always, that is, until once. Eighteen years ago Ana, the newsoul—nosoul, some call her—was born in another’s place.

Incarnate is the story of this one new soul, raised in isolation by a mother who is ashamed of her. On her eighteenth birthday Ana decides to set out alone for Heart, the capital city, to find out why she was born. Ana hopes knowing why will show her what she is supposed to do with the one lifetime she’s been given. Led to believe that nosouls are worthless, she has trouble accepting the kindness of Sam, a 5,000–year–old teenager who rescues her from a frozen lake she jumped in to escape the Sylph, shadow monsters that live in the Range. Sam offers to take her to Heart, where he is assigned as her guardian. They begin to develop feelings for each other, but that is complicated by the fact that Sam is afraid to love someone who, for all they know, will only live once, who will disappear from his world too quickly. But in Heart, Ana is surrounded by people who see her as a danger and an ugly omen for the future—what if nosouls replace more people? The only way Ana can save herself is to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, and find the answer to the question of whether she will be reborn like Sam and the rest of the inhabitants of Heart (summary courtesy of Harpercollins).

Incarnate is a beautifully woven tale of a world where change is not often seen. While technological advancements do exist, who will invent them is never a mystery. Everyone knows everything about everyone. Diaries are archived in the library for all to access; stories of past lives are lovingly retold time and time again. When Ana arrives, Heart is suddenly faced with something they haven’t seen for 5,000 years—a new person or a new soul. Ana is discriminated against and even hated from the day she is born. Because of her, or so she believes, another soul was not reborn. And that is something many people can’t forget.

Once Ana leaves her house and Li—the mother who hates her—she discovers a world she knew nothing about. A world where pain is not her teacher and people actually care about her and what happens to her.  Ana learns so much during her time with Sam, including how to trust and how to love. Ana finds friends in Heart, but she also finds enemies, those who believe she shouldn’t exist and will do anything to make that happen.  Hopefully the mystery that is her existence can be solved before her time runs out.

Incarnate is an absolutely amazing novel! It appeals to the reader in so many ways. It has mystery, action, suspense, and romance.  Jodi Meadows outdoes herself (and quite frankly, a few others) in this, her debut novel. She knows how to write a novel that is appealing to readers of a variety of genres and she does it flawlessly. The mystery of Ana’s existence keeps the reader guessing from the very beginning—who is she, why is she here, will she come back if she dies? We get action—strange creatures called the Sylph, attacking dragons and heart-stopping chases. But the best part, we get a superbly written romance. Meadows is able to completely capture the hesitant yet urgent sense of new love, the fear of opening oneself so completely to another person, and the wonder of discovering love.  The doubt we all have felt when we first fall in love is magnified in Ana because of the horrible treatment she received growing up. Meadows write a love story that is sweet, yet intense, innocent yet passionate and just flat-out good.

The characters in Incarnate are well-developed and dynamic. Despite the fact that every character save Ana has been alive for 5,000 years, they still manage to show growth and development throughout the story. I enjoyed learning about the various characters reincarnations and how they had lived during those reincarnations. Ana is a perfect heroine; despite the horror and the abuse suffered in her early life and the hate that surrounds her, she perseveres. She learns as many skills as she can, she studies as much as possible to discover where she came from and she fights for the person she loves. Ana is a character to be admired.

The mystery of Heart, the temple of Janan and why millions of souls are continually reincarnated is such an intriguing story that it can’t help but keep the reader engrossed in the story. Meadows weaves this mystery throughout the whole book, never letting it fade into the background and giving the reader just enough information to keep them wanting more. And I definitely want more. I am anxiously awaiting my chance to see exactly what the city of Heart holds, not only for readers, but for its inhabitants as well.

I loved this book; I can’t wait for the next in the series. I loved reading a book that wasn’t about vampires, werewolves or angels, something that is becoming all too common in the young adult genre. Also, there is no love triangle, another aspect of young adult novels that is becoming a bit overdone.  That is something to be excited about. Meadows is able to write a love story that relies on the tension between the characters for its conflict, rather than pulling in a third person to create conflict. Meadows is to be commended for her choice to stray for the typical young adult paranormal formula.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend picking this book up. You will not be disappointed. I will be recommending this book to both of my daughters, as well as my teacher and librarian friends.

My grade for Incarnate by Jodi Meadows:

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to hear Incarnite was good. I'm looking forward to reading it and nice to know it lives up to the hype.


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