Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows
Release date: January 31st, 2012
by HarperCollins Children's Books

Goodreads / Purchase
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?
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review purposes*

Incarnate gives us a fresh, new soul in YA. Originality at its core, Jodi Meadows has written an incredible world with dragons, sylphs, laser pistols, temple with heartbeats; really- how much more imaginative can it get? I was blown away with the imagery that formed in my mind while reading this book. It's a gorgeous, but notably frightening world. I did have a bit of difficulty swallowing the fact that, since everyone is always being reincarnated, they give birth to people they already know. It could even be your own father. However, it is a way of life for them, who am I to say what's unreasonable? I've heard of a mother who used her daughter's egg to get pregnant, which basically means she gave birth to a grandchild of sorts. Is this weird? Of course! But we're living in a world where you can have babies that are literally not your own, so it makes sense to think that living for thousands of years with reincarnation would desensitize people to things that presently blow our minds.

Ana has had to live with her mother telling her she was a Nosoul for all of her 18 years. This turned her into a deeply defensive, cautious young woman who has difficulty putting her trust in others. Ana is a remarkably easy character to like with a realistic voice that stands out. She may have had a hard life, but this makes her loves and joys come from the heart. It's not fake or shallow when she feels something, it's with her whole heart and soul. Sam, the first person to show her kindness, has a heart of gold, but more importantly; the patience of a stone. They have a positively sweet romance that creeps up on you. You suddenly realize you've been longing for them to be together. I was delighted by how perfectly paced their relationship flourished.

We've got originality; we've got charming characters; but let's not forget the fascinating plot that surrounds it all. Mystery after mystery flows inside these pages. I was starved for more information as much as Ana. Why is she the only newsoul? Where did Ciana go? Why was the town of Heart just sitting there? A temple with a heartbeat? It's all so mystifying. We don't get all the answers in this novel, but we do get some, as well as one heck of a promise: that this is the start of an epic series! 

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