Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Series: Newsoul #1
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper Collins)
More Info: Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository
Source: DAC Arc Tours
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
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 remember being incredibly nervous about reading Incarnate because of all the hype that had built up around it. But my worrying was incredibly uncalled for - I absolutely LOVED this debut novel. It definitely earns a spot as one of my favorite reads of 2012 so far!
While reading Incarnate, I found that I totally felt for Ana. It would be very difficult to live in a world where everyone has an immediate reaction or even prejudice against you simply because you were born. It is made fairly clear that Ana grew up feeling out of place, shunned and like she didn't even deserve to feel, enjoy or simply live. It hurt my heart because here was this intelligent, lovely and completely determined girl, who no one acknowledges (and she lives with a terrible parent, by the way). One of the best parts of the novel is watching Ana's transformation as she learns that what she feels should be respected, what she wants is valid and that she too places a role in the society, though it's still unclear what that role might be.
As for Sam, well, I LOVED him from the very first time he appears in the novel. How could you not love someone who is incredibly charming, intelligent, artistically inclined, noble and who manages to immediately accept Ana? I love how he never once treated her like she didn't belong or that she wasn't a valid person because of her circumstances of birth. His kindness, affection and the time and effort he spent on Ana, his demonstration of his respect for her wants, opinions and needs - those were all lovely to read about. Watching as he comes to really care for her is simply heartwarming. But more on that later.
This novel completely intrigued me from start to finish. I was never certain of what would happen next, and my curiosity was what had me flipping the pages as quickly as I could! It was always exciting to find out more about Ana and about Heart. I thought there was a great pace to the book, cleverly weaving together the quieter, sweeter moments with the intense, action-packed scenes.
I was totally enthralled as well by the combination of futuristic technology with the presence of creatures like sylph and dragons. Though it was definitely a clash between the stuff of science fiction and the paranormal creatures, I thought it was well done. After all, we don’t know anything about Heart that we don’t learn through Ana’s experience - I personally feel like anything could happen in that place.
The romance was lovely. It moved so, so slow that I was just (mentally) yelling at Sam to get a move on for a lot of the scenes between him and Ana. But the build-up and the end result just more than totally made sense and I now think it wouldn’t have worked any other way.
A quick aside before I give my recommendation - one of my favorite parts of the novel is the masquerade. It was definitely a big event, both in the city and in the novel as a whole, and I loved everything about it - from the descriptions of the festivities and costumes to what went down.
Personally, I say you should...
... definitely read this fantastic debut YA novel! It's got an incredible and quite unique story, as well as elements of romance, paranormal and science fiction. Jodi Meadows did a wonderful job and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!