LENGTH: 374 pages
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
SOURCE: ebook; purchased
SUMMARY: 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?
REVIEW: When I first saw Jodi Meadows’s cover for Incarnate, I immediately wanted to read the book. The cover is gorgeous and the publishers kept with the theme for all three books in the series. Then I started following Meadows on Twitter and became even more intrigued with her as an author. (Incidentally, I always picture her as the girl on the cover of the book since those have been her Twitter avatar for so long.)
The concept of the story appealed to me: reincarnation of the same group of people in the same area over and over again. I realize that the idea behind reincarnation is one of living your life over again until you get it right, but with the original mythology, there is no guarantee of where one will end up when reincarnated. The world Meadows has created ensures that the same souls are reincarnated together over and over again. Imagine having centuries of knowledge about someone: interesting and frightening all at the same time.
The big drawback to the series is the number of cliched devices and coincidences employed. A giant city surrounded by a white wall that pulses called…wait for it…Heart. The region they live in is Range, which is not very original to begin with but then, in the third book, a character even comments that they are “so far out of Range” that they can’t communicate with people back in Heart. Purposefully bad pun? I hope not. Then there are the expected corrupt council members, a plot amongst the leaders to undermine the intellectual awakening Ana brings to Heart, and the burgeoning love story between Ana and her rescuer, Sam. There’s just too much that is familiar plot territory here. The coincidences aren’t much more subtle: the sylph are bad – WAIT – they’re good and they key to unlocking the mysteries of Heart. The masked figure at the party is *gasp* Sam. Ana’s “father” has been studying the secret of Janan’s temple for years and just happened to figure out how to weaken the temple. Only one person has the ability to enter and exit the temple and Ana figures it out.
I’m being a over-dramatic, but understand that I did finish the series. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t stomach reading through to the end, and I did want to know what the conclusion to the story would be. Does the series have flaws? Certainly. However, the writing is good and the focus on Ana’s musical interest is a different twist. All of the issues I have with the series could be improved with more experience and harsher revision. Combine that with Meadows’s killer personality and the fact that she responds to tweets, and I’ll wait to see what Meadows writes next before placing her in the fun-but-fluff category.