Author Website: http://www.jodimeadows.com/
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)
Published in: January, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Let me begin by thanking Rachel of My Reading Pile for hosting an awesome giveaway, where I was among the lucky winners! *Whoopie* That’s where Incarnate came from! Apart from the fantastic and colourful cover, the idea of souls being re-born and the story of a new soul succeeded in capturing my attention till the end of the book.
There have always been a million souls, being reincarnated again and again in different bodies. However, Ana is new. She wasn’t reborn like the other million minus one souls and that’s enough to make her an outcast. For all the others, she’s a ‘Nosoul’. Her mother, Li raised her away from the city of Heart, didn’t treat her well, her father abandoned them when she was born, too humiliated to stay. When an old soul, Ciana died, she went way beyond the usual time limit to be reborn and when the Soul Tellers declared Ana as a new soul, people thought she had taken Ciana’s place and didn’t fit in with them in Heart.
Heart is a walled city with an empty, closed temple, immaculate houses and a marketplace to trade for things. Ana leaves her home as she turns eighteen and sets off towards Heart to find out the truth about herself. However, with a faulty compass and the deadly Slyph lingering in the forests in Range, it’s difficult for her to get to Heart without too much trouble. In an encounter with Slyph, Ana is saved by Sam, who doesn’t care if Ana is the new soul they talked about.
They reach Heart where the people unwillingly accept her and Ana starts a new life. But, there are problems- dragon and Slyph attacks, Sam’s mysterious behaviour, Li’s appearance in Heart, the magical temple and some attackers who corner Ana and Sam! What’s the mystery of Ana’s birth? Why didn’t Ciana get reincarnated? Who is behind the mystery?
What do I think?
The storyline was definitely unique and new for me, so the book was quite refreshing, a break from the usual fantasy stuff. I mean, how often do you read about reincarnation as a story? I quite liked the plot, the setting and the action, especially where Ana’s bound for Heart and travels through the murky forest, meeting dangers now and then. Heart seems like a city that’s been built around a lot of rules, with a city council to oversee everything and make sure the citizens don’t step out of line. Sam, Ana’s love interest, was likeable in the beginning, with his kindness towards the nosoul, strength and bravery. But there are parts when the events themselves question his past claims/dialogues and leave the reader confused, just like Ana. He does a lot to help Ana get accepted in Heart, helps her make friends, teaches her music that she absolutely loves and even saves her life- twice. However, there are parts where he seems to be keeping things from her and I couldn’t help getting distrustful of his behaviour. Anyway, Ana doesn’t question it and it becomes clear at the end, so it was okay. Besides, I loved the way Sam seemed to make Ana believe in herself, to make her realize she belonged. My favourite lines from the book, which moved me somehow:
‘I let go of my wings. Not a nosoul, not a butterfly. A thousand years from now, even if I was never reborn, people would remember me: Ana Incarnate’
Even though the mystery was shown as something so strong that every soul had a view on it, the solution seemed to be unsatisfactory. I mean, we’ve been through more than half of the book learning about the characters, the problems, the mystery, the exciting and intriguing thing with the closed temple, fights and love, we need some solid ending! The mystery of Ana’s ‘newness’ was solved (though only a couple of people knew), it’s clear who was behind Ciana’s permanent death, but the reason seemed mediocre. I felt it should have been something truly heart-wrenching, but it wasn’t. Still, there’s the next book in the series to look forward to (in 2013). I will definitely be going for it to get details on the reasons and all!!!
PS- I loved the cover! Not just because it’s so beautiful, but it visually gives a hint of the theme of the book. A butterfly: that’s what Ana feels like all the time. One time here, another time there! *Applause* for the designing team!
My rating: 4/5
Recommended for: Fantasy, YA, Dystopian lovers.