Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), 2012
Book Blurb: 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.
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?
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 Opinion: I really wanted to like Incarnate. And for a while, I did. I mean, just look at that cover. It is absolutely stunning. But the cover is not the only thing that matters.
The blurb is deceiving. About 75% of Incarnate is Ana and Sam and their romance. 15% is music related. And then there is a mere 10% that is related to plot, worldbuilding, Ana trying to find out who she is, etc.
The romance read a lot like Twilight to me. Ana and Sam are so in love, but there is something keeping them apart. Yet we are never really sure what it is. He seems to like her well enough from the start, as in he doesn’t treat her like garbage because of what she is. And then he completely backs away from most romantic advances. For no real reason. It was very frustrating.
I felt like Incarnate had so much potential, but focused too much on the romance, and therefore left too many holes. Why do the dragons go for the temple every time? Why does Sam leave the house every night? What happened to Ciana? Why was Ana born? These are all questions that go unanswered for the sake of awkward teen romance.
For that matter, Ana and Sam are both eighteen. Should their romance not be a little less awkward? Especially in a society where kids are considered grown at fifteen?
I found Ana to be very angsty for an eighteen year old, and every time Meadows wrote a reminder of her age, I was taken aback. I thought I was reading about a sixteen year old a lot of the time. She is impulse driven, she is angsty, and she didn’t read like someone who would be desperate to show she knew how to take care of herself at three years past the “normal” age for striking out.
If Ana was the first of her kind, where did the term “nosoul” come from? This was a big sticking point for me throughout the entirety of Incarnate. I can see coining the term “newsoul” for Ana, because she is new. But what about “nosoul”? Where did it come from and why? There is no precedent for the term “nosoul”.
The ending showed promise, and then descended into wtf-ery. I just, don’t know.
Bottom Line: I would be interested in seeing some of the questions answered, but I am not confident that they will be. So I may read book two, but I won’t be rushing out for it. This book didn’t deliver what I hoped it would.
(Cover image and book blurb courtesy of Goodreads)