22 January, 2012

ARC Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Published: January 2012, KATHERINE TEGAN

Series: Newsoul #1 (upcoming series)
Source: Around The World ARC Tours, no other compensation given for an honest review

From Good Reads:
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?

My Review:
INCARNATE caught my eye with its amazingly beautiful cover. I hoped that the story contained in the pages would impress me as much as the cover art. In some ways I really loved the story and the characters. Ana is an anomoly in her society. She's the first new soul; the first soul to have not been reincarnated from the 1000 souls that have existed for generations. Meadows starts off with Ana leaving the home where she was raised. I use this word with a huge dose of sarcasm, because Ana basically raised herself. While her mother treats her with disdain, the rest of her society treats her with indifference.

It was interesting to see the way that Meadows shaped Ana as a character and her personality with this type of upbringing. In fact, I liked how Meadows shaped all of her characters. Sam was thoughtful and modest (considering his talent) and other ancillary characters that became friends (or at least friendly) with Ana seemed to enrich the plot, not only in terms of how each soul seemed to have their own talent or personality that made them interesting, but also that each soul somehow contributed to the overall enrichment of the community.

The plot itself of INCARNATE had some issues for me. The world initially seemed very similar to a human world, even with the idea that each person living in it had been reincarnated, retaining the memories and connections from past lives. However, the meeting of Sam and Ana was precipitated by Ana being attacked by a sylph, a creature that is mentioned as the attack happens. Very convenient. So too were the dragon attacks that randomly come during certain times, where they served to put someone in danger.

I wasn't necessarily pulled out of the story during these times, but I did feel the introduction of the sylphs and dragons were incongruous with the rest of what was going on at the time. What did it serve for me to read about these events? How did it advance the plot while I was reading? I could see how some readers would find an added danger and heightened mystery about this fantasy world here, but I could also see how some readers might be confused about its relevancy, and even other readers might be put off.

The bottom line: I enjoyed INCARNATE. Perhaps I didn't love it quite as much as I expected, and perhaps I might have found some parts to be odd, but I liked it. I liked the premise of a whole society, save for one, that is solely reincarnated souls. I liked Meadows writing and her characters. For a reader looking for a less complex fantasy story, with a little self-discovery, a little romance and some heart-stopping moments, INCARNATE is the book you want to read.

3/5 for plot
4/5 for characters
4/5 for language

My Rating: 11/15 (3 stars) Recommend

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