10 May 2012

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

New soul
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.


No soul

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?


Heart

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?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Incarnate's idea that there are no such thing as "new souls"--there are only the million that have been reincarnated for five thousand years--was a fascinating idea.  It held amazing potential, but it just wasn't there yet.  The writing needed work.  The main character, Ana, needed more development.  It was a story held up only by the setting and atmosphere rather than the characters.

Ana was a great character at first.  She came from a life of neglect and hardship that gave her a slim core of strength and resilience.  It was just, through the progression of the story, her strength dimmed and she became kind of tiresome.  I liked the concept of music throughout the story, but I'm on the fence about if I like how it bound Ana and Sam together.  Sam was a bit too generic for me.  Something about him just didn't work.  Ana's obsession with him didn't quite work either, but at least I knew where she was coming from.  It was as if Ana went from strong young woman seeking her roots to pitiful child in love.

The romance, for some reason, made me giggle, mostly because it was so fluffy that I had to smile.  Not in a bad way, mind you.  It was sweet.

Jodi Meadows had an interesting writing style.  It held a lot of promise mostly because it read more like a well polished first draft than the work of several years (or however long).  Still, there were diamonds hidden amongst the rough.

The idea, however, was brilliant if a bit underdeveloped.  I think Jodi Meadows could have taken her time with building up the world a bit more thoroughly.  Several of the events just didn't click right.  That was the problem I had: there was nothing necessarily "bad" but nothing really hit home.  I feel as if the whole point of the book was missed, like Jodi Meadows never really got to the core of her story.  There was a lack of suspense and drive.  Close, but no cigar.

I'm very hopeful for what will become of Jodi Meadows' skill as a writer.  Her ideas were brilliant.  I really want to see what she does in the sequel.

Quotes
A scream echoed.  Mine.
I inhaled and slapped my hands over my mouth and nose.  Water slammed into my boots and up my sides, covering my face.  Pressure swept the air from my chest and throat in a flurry of bubbles.  Cold soaked my coat, dragging me deep. (p. 16)
There was no telling how long I stood in the center of the cabin, staring at the books I couldn't touch, surrounded by cold and dust and someone else's life.  And his deaths right outside the door.  As long as I didn't move, as long as I didn't think about anything but the point right in front of me--the spine of a red book--I didn't hurt. (p. 54)
He filled my cider cup again.  "Come by and I'll show you a few things.  I tried to teach Sam, but he just eats the batter."
Sam gave an exaggerated sigh.  "I was five and storing up for a growth spurt.  You were practically starving me by making me wait for things to bake." (p. 145)

Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 374
  • published - January 2012
  • publisher - Katherine Tegan Books
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - library :)
  • rating - 4/5
  • series - Newsoul
    • Incarnate
    • Asunder (coming 2013)
    • Untitled #3