NEWSOUL 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. NOSOUL 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? 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.
Hardcover, 384 pages
January 31st 2012 by Katherine Tegen
Four stars: This book has an amazing premise that will make your head spin with possibilities.
Incarnate, presents the idea of reincarnation. Imagine a river flowing through time. The water is filled with thousands of souls. They course through the journey of their lives, spinning and floating through time. The souls reach the end of their existence as they flow over the waterfall, plunging to their deaths. Yet, the waterfall isn't the end. Beneath the churning waters, the souls pause before they rise back up to the surface and again are reborn. Their births signal the start of another trip down the river of time, to again cascade down the waterfall and start anew. The river and waterfall are a continuous circuit for the souls. All the souls have been reincarnated countless times, but they retain their knowledge of their previous lives with each reincarnation. A newborn infant is in reality thousands of years old. The souls have lived with each other for thousands of years. Everyone is known, there are no secrets. That is until the birth of Ana. She is the first new soul born in thousands of years. Her birth is an astonishing development because her appearance prevents the return of another old soul. Ana is a butterfly, an anomaly. A butterfly flitting over the river. Why was she born? Will there be other new souls? What will the arrival of a new soul signify for the old souls? Will Ana's life be short like that of a fluttering butterfly, or will she end up in the river of reincarnation with the other souls?
What I Liked:
- I was absolutely fascinated by the concept of reincarnation. The idea that souls are constantly returning to live new lives, while retaining their personalities and skills from their previous lives had astounding possibilities. My mind was continually pondering over all the potential. Imagine not being able to escape from your past, or the thought of everyone knowing you. Death is not a reprieve for transgressions. You will be forced to rectify your sins in the next life. You could return as a man and then a woman. How about being the parent of a soul in one life time and then returning as the child. This book presents some intriguing ideas, that are mind blowing.
- I loved the characters of Ana and Sam. Ana, for her first eighteen years is raised by her abusive mother. She is ridiculed and told she is worthless and without a soul. As Ana strikes out on her own, she discovers the untruths that her mother ingrained in her. It is amazing to watch her slow and hesitant transformation. Meeting Sam, shows her that not everyone detests her because she is a new soul. Her growth spurred by the friendship and her love of music is like watching a tiny bud, slowly furl open, raising its beautiful petals to the sun. Sam, is an old soul, he has been through numerous lives. He reaches out a hand to the lost butterfly, Ana. His tender patience and kindness are beautiful. He is a reminder to take time to get to know someone who is different. Sam, is a wonderfully written character.
- I adored the relationship between Sam and Ana. Their bond is one that begins with a rescue. To Ana he is a guiding hand in the darkness. Yet, she is afraid, but like a moth attracted to the flame, she can't stay away, even though she trusts no one. Ana hesitantly reaches out and clings to Sam's gentle, wise hand as he slowly leads her out of the darkness into the light of knowledge and friendship. From there their shaky bond grows and flourishes into something wonderful. I think the gradual romantic developments are my favorite. This book does an outstanding job in creating a memorable romance.
- Incarnate, is an astounding debut novel, with excellent characters, creative world building and an exceptional story line. This book establishes a promising beginning to an intriguing new series.
And The Not So Much:
- I admired the world building but it lacked a bit of detail. I wanted to know how far the land extended beyond the city of Heart? Where did the dragons, trolls and centaurs reside? What did the trolls and centaurs do to the humans? What exactly are the sylphs? Providing more in-depth information on the world and the creatures would have enhanced this book.
- I was captivated with this novel and the story line. I loved the presentation of reincarnation. This book would have earned a five star reading had it not faltered at the end. This book abstains from a dreadful cliffhanger, but it concludes rather unexpectedly. At the end of the book I was left frustrated by the tangle of unanswered questions that were left unresolved. I wish Ms. Meadows had crafted a more resolute finish.
If you are searching for a book by a debut author that is outside the box of contemporary YA literature, then look no further. Incarnate, with its engrossing and contemplative story line will amaze and captivate you. Ms. Meadows creates an ingenious new world in Incarnate, the first book in her Newsouls Series. The endless possibilities of reincarnation and philisophical questions will leave you pondering over the infinite outcomes for days. Definitely check this book out!
"What is a soul, but a consciousness born and born again?"
"Souls are sentience, an essence born into a new body when the old one dies."
"Blankets trapped me in a pocket of warm air. Foggy thoughts trapped me in this dream of safety."
"Snow sparkled in moonlight, deceptively peaceful with its smothering silence."
" I was just a butterfly to everyone, and why would anyone in their right mind rescue a butterfly from being ignored by a cat?"
"He played my notes again, but instead of stopping after, he played the most amazing thing my ears had ever heard. Like waves on a lakeshore, and wind through trees. There were lightning strikes, thunder, and pattering rain. Heat and anger, and honey sweetness."
"....some things, like music and poetry, are passions of the soul."
"I was the dissonant note on the end of a masterpiece symphony. I was the brushstroke that ruined the painting."