Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 2nd, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books, 374 Pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Incarnate #1
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 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?
I will preface this entire review with the statement: I am looking forward to the second book. With that said, I am only going to talk about what I did and did not like about this book, while trying to convey my thoughts in a coherent way. [NOTE: I realize that SO MANY PEOPLE loved loved loved this book, so I was really concerned/confused as to why I did not.]
What I liked
1. As I have seen about a zillion people say is that they loved the cover…which it is difficult to deny how vibrant the colors are and the model (whether real or computer generated) is truly beautiful.
2. The setting — Range & Heart — they both had a lot of potential to be a fantastical place for a strong female protagonist.
3. Sam. He’s caring, gifted, and mysterious.
4. The premise of reincarnation and the idea that souls have been reincarnated for thousands of years due to a god-like figure who created them & provided for them, a city already built.
5. The ending – how it ended (surprising & cliffhanger-ish) and the fact that it ended (whew.)
6. Conspiracy theories & the unknown. It was nice not to be able to guess anything, but that may have been because everything seemed really random to me.
What I did not like
1. The writing. I know that’s quite an important thing to dislike about a book, but the sentence structure, word choice, and flow of the character’s monologues and dialogues were bumbling and awkward for almost the entire book.
2. The pacing of the book — I could have done without (literally) 46% of the book. I could have started in the middle and not have missed a single thing and probably would have given this book one more star [instead of of just 2]. The ending was fast paced and had a lot of action, but the beginning of the book was something I just could have done without.
3. The characters. To me…these characters were just not well fleshed-out. Ana was entirely too self-deprecating and defensive (even when I understand her background and experiences). Reading Ana’s paranoid thoughts almost drove me crazy! Sam was almost TOO nice to the point where I just wanted to scream at him to move on to someone else. Li was a complete nightmare, but seriously someone needs to reign her in. The other souls, residents of Heart, ranged from DEranged to super sweet…which was just…too much.
4. Too much going on in one single book. Okay, so if you haven’t read this book, this won’t spoil it for you, but it will let you know what you’re in for:
*dragons, sylphs, centaurs, (etc.), futuristic/medievil times (?..confused? Yeah, me too.), evil mom, absent father, magic, religious parallels/symbolism/god-like beings (Janan), reincarnation, adventure, romance, masquerade ball, supposed “utopian” society…I could go on all day, but I’d rather not.
5. Futuristic stuff COMBINED with medieval stuff. I could not picture Heart or Range; the time setting was all over the place.
6. I can’t tell you what Ana, Sam, or any other characters looked like. The best description of anything I got from the entire book was the piano keys, the houses in Heart, the eggs that Sam burned at breakfast, and Ana’s masquerade outfit (and that might be because of the cover).
7. THE BUTTERFLY. Goodness…I understand that there will be a comparison or metaphor going on at some point, but it was just TOO repetitive.
8. I usually don’t like seeing the title of the book blatantly thrown out there in a way that is: “HA THAT’S WHERE THE TITLE CAME FROM!”. I’d rather the author develop the story in a way where, upon finishing, I think, “Wow…I cannot think of a better name for this book…it is its name incarnate…(pun initially unintended).”
9. More backstory — I just don’t feel like I had enough information about anyone or anything having to do with the citizens of Heart to properly conjure up an image of what I was reading about.
Sash didn’t care too much for this book either but we know plenty of people who absolutely LOVED it. Check out their reviews here:
HD at Reading Writing Breathing
Anna at Literary Exploration
If you’ve read the book, leave a comment and tell us what you thought!