I won an ARC copy of glorious book through Zach's YA Reviews. Winning this book for free has in no way influenced my review or opinion.
Blurb from Goodreads:
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.
In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.
Wow, where to even start with this book? I am not sure. I was anticipating so much with this one. I read Incarnate as soon as it was released, so my wait for this seemed so long. But boy oh boy was it worth it! I mean, I didn't think Jodi Meadows could write something that could outdo her first book. And I was surely hoping this book would not suffer from the middle book syndrome that so many trilogies fall under. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was this book more awesome than the first, but it did not falter in providing a great story that kept me just as captivated as the first!
So, of course, I must talk about the cover of this book. When I first saw the cover for Incarnate, I could not help but stare and stare and stare at it. I mean, the girl, the colors, everything about it was just gorgeous. But when I saw this cover, I was just flabbergasted. It's is utterly gorgeous. My favorite thing about it is the coloring. I just love how vibrant and beautiful they are.
Once again we are brought into the world of Ana and Dossam. It is after Templedark and Heart is learning to put itself back together. It's community is learning to mourn the loss of old souls who may or may not ever return and old souls who are truly gone forever. And they are learning to accept that Newsouls may be born into their community. And the community is still learning to accept and understand Ana.
Throughout this book we watch as Ana grows strong. During Incarnate she is learning who she is and learning where she might fit in. In Asunder, she really shows us who she is. She shows us how strong she is despite not being an old soul. She shows us what she has had to endure in order to learn and grow and become the woman she is. And, yet, people still treat her like she is a child or a new soul, who has nothing from their background to rely on. Nothing to show her the way when she might go to make a mistake. And this becomes a sore spot between her and the community. Even between her and Dossam. But she endures and overcomes.
Dossam, well, he's just as sweet and honorable as he was in Incarnate. But, in this book he made me mad. He kept telling Ana he wanted to be with her, that she was his everything, but was pushing her away at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I understand that him being 5000 years older than her kind of complicates their relationship, but it was like he didn't trust her to know her own needs. He didn't trust her to perhaps make mistakes and learn from them. It was frustrating, tho an essential part of the plot.
The storyline is a bit different in this book. There is violence, romance, friendship, action, and adventure. But things are known to us now. We understand how the community of heart works. But most of all we see the love and pain Ana goes through. And the betrayal is a huge factor, although I do not think we have been introduced to all those who are truly not behind Ana. Despite the clarity this book brings, it still does leave some mystery, for the third installment, which I really liked.
This book mad me laugh in parts, and I cried about three times while reading it. I certainly thought it would not go how I wanted it to, but was surprised to find that in the end I was quite satisfied with how Meadows chose to end things. No huge cliffhanger to keep us guessing for the next book, but enough intrigue to have me wanting to read the third book RIGHT NOW! I think that Asunder speaks volumes on what it is like to accept individuals who are different than ourselves. it certainly made me look a bit into myself to see how I view others and if the way I treat others might be making them feel upset. And there was true focus in this book. Certainly Ana had a goal to make the Newsouls safe and to uncover whatever mystery still hid behind the Temple and Janan.
The best thing about this book for me was Meadow's writing. I loved her writing in Incarnate, but with this book I could so see her growth as an author. I loved her descriptions. So often I could taste and feel the things the characters were tasting and feeling. I love when writing can evoke those emotions in me. This made for a quick read, one which I did not want to put down. I applaud Meadows for being able to take a world that we thought we knew from Incarnate, and turning it upside down and inside out to show us there was still so much more to learn.
5 out of 5 stars from me!