I enjoyed this story and have read it more than once now, each time falling more in *hearts* with Ana and Sam (especially Sam).
Ana's spent her short eighteen years living in seclusion and fear. She's had to decipher almost everything on her own whether it be learning to read or the natural changes taking place in her body. Her own mother, Li (who reminds me of the evil step-mother from Cinderella save for the fact that Li was a man in her previous life) resents Ana for living what she feels should be someone else's life even though Ana had no control over her own birth. She views her as completely useless and makes sure Ana is aware that everyone else shares her opinion. Once Ana gets to Heart she sees for herself that even reincarnated infants come back into the world with enough knowledge to communicate their needs effectively with their parents.
(The first time I was reading I did have a little trouble keeping some of the secondary characters straight especially if they were the opposite gender in their past life.)
Being treated as an outsider from birth has put Ana on the defensive thus making it difficult for her to accept help from others, even those trying to save her life. When she first meets Sam she doesn't know what to make of him. Physically, he looks like a teenager but it becomes pretty obvious he's lived a lifetime or two before. (Or thirty but whose counting?) He throws her off by doing what no one else has ever dared to do before - he talks to her. Not only that but he shows her kindness and continues to even after he realizes who, or what she is. (She expected him to run screaming into the night, but it didn't happen.) He also insists she not refer to herself as a "Nosoul" but a "Newsoul". In his eyes, she's a new life, a person capable of feelings and opinions, definitely someone worth knowing. *Begins work on my TEAM SAM shirt*
Sam believes Ana is a gift not only for the people of Heart but his life as well. *swoons* He does whatever he can to help her as she delves into her past, trying to discover why she was allowed to be born and what purpose she might serve. He introduces her to his friends, explains how Heart's customs work and the jobs get assigned. He answers all of her questions, including those about Janan and attempts to explain the soul joining ceremony that they witness. He tells her that for some, the love two people share is so deep it reaches each person's soul, giving them both a kind of knowledge...that they would "know" each other anywhere regardless of what age, gender or physical condition their body is in when they are reborn. As their relationship continues to grow beyond friendship Ana begins to hear whispers that Sam is just using her. Sam does his best to reassure her of his feelings and she longs to trust her heart which tells her he would never hurt her but there are many who will do whatever necessary to keep them apart.
When the city of Heart falls under attack and Sam goes missing, Ana will be in the fight of her life. In the midst of the battle and chaos no one knows for certain what will happen if Ana is killed. Will she die? Will she be reborn? No matter the outcome, she tries to focus on the only thing she knows for sure; how she feels about Sam and that she'd know "him" anywhere.
With Incarnate, Jodi Meadows, gives us an action packed, love story with interesting characters where danger and fantasy abound. She also drives home the message that every soul, every life has worth regardless of how long it's lived.