Jodi Meadows can write! From the first chapter, she had me hooked. Ana is a lovely, damaged, courageous girl and I was rooting for to find her happily ever after. Sam is an incredible guy, and the chemistry they had together is both sweet and explosive. There are dragons! Sylph! Fire! Traitors! Hot kisses!
But best of all, there's the message that every single life has meaning and importance. I can't recommend this book enough.
First Impressions: When I first came upon this book from Goodreads, I immediately was drawn to the cover. Talk about having some major cover love! HarperTeen books always have the most gorgeous covers on their books. When I read the book synopsis, I got even more excited. It sounded kind of dystopian, which is right up my alley. But, it also had this science fiction aspect with a twinge of fantasy. All of the good stuff rolled into one and this book went into the top of my To-Read pile. There was no way I was going to make this one wait!
Plot & Style of Writing: I’m having a hard time coming up with anything other than that I loved this book! Thinking back on the first 50 pages, all that is coming to mind is that I couldn’t put it back down. I literally sat down for hours until I finished this book. This debut author has delivered an outstanding novel that I believe everyone is going to talking about very soon. I knew that I would love this book, but after reading a few not so very good books lately, I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. This book didn’t disappoint me in the least.
Why did I love this book so much? Firstly, the writing. Jodi Meadows has a gift for world building that very few authors have. She puts a ton of emotion into her writing. It really shows just how much time she must have spent writing this novel. Either she has a natural talent, or she has had some great teachers to help her along the way. Either way, her writing is truly spot-on and I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about her style.
As for the plot, I’ve never seen an author have the ability to blend so many different themes and genres together in a single book. Talk about having something for everyone! Jodi creates the perfect blend of science fiction with a realistic twist and fantasy. This is a huge reason why this book is so delicious! It’s like taking all of these genres, putting them into a blender, and viola! You have this book! You can even find some romance thrown in the mix. Like I said, there is something for everyone!
When it comes to characters and romance, I’ve been a little put-off by romance in young adult novels recently. I’m not sure why but in every book I have read, it seems like it is always the same when it comes to romance between two characters. It can get boring. But, needless to say, I loved the romantic elements in this book. Sam is an ADORABLE character who I completely swooned over throughout the entire book. There was the perfect amount of tension between Sam and Ana and it was really cool to see how their relationship progressed in the story. I can’t wait to see where the author takes their relationship next.
My Final Thoughts: I knew I was going to love this book, and I did absolutely, love this book! It had everything I could possibly want in a good book and I can’t find one negative thing to say about it. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult novels. I have a feeling that I’ve already read my favorite new book release of 2012, and this is it!
Incarnate is a refreshing utopian-romance in the sea of dystopians, one whose words match the pretty cover, and will leave you wishing for a time machine to go into the future for the sequels. But in the meantime, I will be rereading the masquerade scene, thankyouverymuch. FAVORITE EVER!
So I’ve heard good and bad things about Incarnate, to the point where I was terrified to read it. I really wanted to like it! JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER. It begs to be a likeable book! And for me, it was. I think what a lot of people didn’t realize was it wasn’t just a story of Ana learning why she is a “nosoul” as Li calls her, but is also a story of Ana feeling emotions—falling in love—when Li says nosouls don’t have emotions. Those people hadn’t realized it was a romance story and expected so much more out of Incarnate.
Meadows’ prose is delicate and subtle. I loved it. I had an image of Range in my head as soon as I read the first paragraph, and it only grew from there. The worldbuilding is amazing. The subtlety of it is, too. Ana doesn’t ask questions, or even a simple “Huh?” when she doesn’t understand. No info-dumps. Just a relief and an amazing break from books that do the info-dump so readers understand the world.
I hinted above about a masquerade scene. Oh, man. OH MAN. That scene killed me. I’m not alive anymore, just typing from the beyond. What happens after that scene… oh my lanta. It was scary and amazing. But, a little hint as to why I loved the masquerade scene: there’s kissing involved, but you already guessed that, didn’t you? I LOVE KISSING SCENES. And this one is hot, hot, hot. And did I mention hot?? *G*
Incarnate is full of twists and turns, and I loved every bit of it. There is a scene in the book that made me squeal out loud because I HADN’T realized it was coming and it was so, so amazing and I felt so happy for Ana. (if you’ve read it, it’s the scene where her and Sam are in his house in Heart and Ana’s uncovering everything downstairs.) And the ending; wow, that ending. Amazing and I hadn’t expected it.
This is a book you WANT to read. Put it on your wishlist and toss your schedule around when you get it, because once you dive in, there’s no turning back.
INCARNATE was brilliant. We’re introduced to a world full of fantasy like dragons, trolls, sylph’s and a city called Heart which actually has a pulse. Not to mention every person in Heart or the area surrounding Heart (which is called Range) is always reincarnated every time they die; lots of them are souls which have been around for thousands of years. Then we get Ana who is a nosoul or newsoul, depending on who you are/how you look at it. Ana was born to parents Li and Menehem and they were expecting their newly born daughter to be returning soul, Ciana but instead they got a soul which has never existed before.
This story had me hook, line and sinker all the way until the end. It’s another book (like UNDER THE NEVER SKY) where the romance is building throughout the book. The attraction is building and it isn’t sudden, which is so realistic. Obviously, since we didn’t get the romance until well over halfway through, that wasn’t what grabbed my attention. It was the story and the characters. Sam, who looks like an 18 year old man is really about 5,000 years old. His friends like Stef and Sine are all his age or even older, all have been both female and males in previous lives. It’s completely mind blowing to think about. I mean, imagine coming back in another body, one of the opposite sex, in about 70 years? Being born with the memories of your previous life, being born with the memory of how you died the previous life…of all your previous lives. Mind boggling.
What I absolutely love in a book is when the author gets you so involved in the story, so connected to the characters that when something bad happens, you want to retaliate. The characters are hurt but you’re also feeling their pain, or their anger. This is exactly how I felt reading this book. I even tweeted her at one point asking if she’d be alright with me stabbing a character in the eye with a knife. (Which she said she’s OK with fictional character stabbing lol) When you get that invested in a story you know you’re reading a great book.
I’ve read over 100 books this year and I’ve highly recommend a few books but I can say I have a top 5 list of books I’ve read this year. Books that you (as a reader, especially a YA reader) MUST read. I am so happy to say that INCARNATE has been added in that top 5. (I will post about that soon, so keep an eye out for that).
I am still gushing about this book and it’s been a few hours since I’ve finished reading it. It’s so good and I cannot wait for it to come out so I can get my hands on my own copy. I recommend this book to everyone. If you read, you need to read this. If you love YA, you better read this. Amazing. That’s really all there is too it. Simply amazing. I am certainly looking forward to more. I don’t think I could ever get too much of this world that Jodi Meadows has created. I want to move to Heart, be friends with all these oldsouls.
Amazing characters, amazing world and a slow-building (but amazing) relationship
I truly think anyone could enjoy this book and I will be recommending it to my family and friends. I am so excited for the sequel Asunder to be out this January and will anxiously be counting down the days. Overall I give this book a resounding A!
Coming across Jodi Meadow’s “INCARNATE” was pretty accidental. I tend to jump from book to book to book without stopping and I had finished Rae Carson’s novel “BOOK OF EMBERS,” a few days before. I was searching for the right book when I stumbled upon this book on amazon. It sounded intriguing so I picked it up that day.
In Range, everybody lives forever. Their bodies may grow old, get sick, or even be killed, but their soul’s will live on in another body. But then there is Ana. The first new soul in the history of Range. Alone, apart, Ana lives with her biological mother, Li, who despises her and blames her for the disappearance of Ciana, the soul who was suppose to be reincarnated but wasn’t. Li calls Ana a no soul, and so on her 18th birthday, she sets off. Her destination, Heart, the city of her birth and the main city in Range where she hopes to figure out why she exists. But within 24 hours she finds herself in trouble, until Sam, an attractive boy of her age, well physically, rescues her and she learns what its like to have a friend.
I was immediately drawn into INCARNATE, I love YA fantasy and right away was wrapped up in the society around Ana. The idea that souls could be thousands of years old, that they had to take many lifetimes to build a society, and had to keep journals just so they could remember the things they forgot from the past is just so interesting. And then to add to that intriguing back story by bringing in Sam, a musician who slowly draws Ana out of her shell and shows her friendship, music and books. How could one not fall for him? I loved that you could watch Ana and Sam’s relationship bloom, that it took Ana a while to heal from all the abuse put on her by Li. I loved that even though Sam mostly took care of Ana, she learned how to take care of him too. I was just impressed by how much I grew to care about the relationship and how much I wanted them to be together despite all the reasons they probably shouldn’t be (after all he is 5000 years older than her.) I found myself drawn to the city of Heart too. A city the souls found fully intact generations ago with houses, stores and a giant temple. I pictured it a lot like Jerusalem which was perfect for how it was described. I liked how this society was very old fashion in some ways like with the Masquerade ball and everyone walking everywhere, but still had many modern devices like the SED (a cell phone).
Oh and one of the coolest parts of the whole experience is how active Ms. Meadows is on twitter. So you can honestly just speak to her and almost right away she’ll answer. @JodiMeadows
This book was interesting. It’s a highly original story about people that never die. Well, except Ana. She’s a new soul. Because she is not five thousand years old like most inhabitants of Heart, she is stereotyped and treated like an outcast. Unwanted, even by her own mother. Li (mom) was downright despicable. I couldn’t stand that character, and I’m thankful she didn’t have a huge role in the story.
I’ve heard great things about this book. Many bloggers are rating it as one of their favorite reads. I’m not sure I feel that way. I enjoyed the story because it was original, but there were some things that annoyed me. For instance, Sam drove me nuts for about 2/3 of the books. He was smothering. Maybe it’s because I’m so independent myself that I have a hard time imagining how anyone could want a guy doting on their every move. It drove me insane, but I tolerated it because I could see why Ana needed someone like Sam. By the end of the book though, the growing romance between the two fully developed. Instead of seeming like a smothering person, you could tell that Sam needed Ana as much as she needed him. I liked the two of them as an item once they each figured this out.
Ana was a pretty enjoyable character. She came across as needy at times, but also very head strong. She was cynical of people and her surroundings. I liked how determined she was once she set her mind to something. By the end of the book she had grown a lot. You could tell that there was an inner strength developing that would show more in the books to come. I’m interested to see what she’s like in the next book.
I also enjoyed some of the other characters. The shadow creatures that could burn people to death with their touch were terrifying. I couldn’t imagine living in a world where Sylph roamed freely, waiting to devour you. Then there is the city of Heart itself—a city with a living heartbeat. Freaky. There is this god-like figure, Janan, which lives within the tower at Heart’s center. Janan is the one that gives the people souls and the ability to be reincarnated, as long as the people worship him. You never learn if Janan is good or bad, but Ana doesn’t get the warm fuzzies from him. Neither did I, for that matter. I have a feeling that this mystical being isn’t all that he’s made out to be. After all, why would dragons want to destroy the tower where his soul lives if he was an all-powerful “good guy?” The end of the book leaves things kind of open, but I am certain that Janan, the wall with the heartbeat, and psychotic Meuric (another bad guy) will return. I also predict that Ana is going to be a kick-butt character as her story continues. She was left with her father’s scientific journals (and secrets), and she seems like the type to use that information to her advantage.
I gave up on this book. About 6 chapters in, I realized that I hated the main character and didn't really care what happened to her or in the rest of the book, so I stopped reading it. I loved the concept of the story though. I'm not quite sure what turned me off so much about the character.
Great start to a series I can't wait to keep reading. Action, romance and a courageous main characte
It started right with action and by connecting me to the main character. I liked Ana because she is different, that she questions instead of blindly accepting things, and also because I felt for her because of the way that her mom treated her.
I like that Ana doesn't just blindly accept anything. She digs and finds the answers for herself. She is also relatable though because she is a good person but she's not perfect. She has her insecurities and lashes out at Sam some. It is understandable because of how she grew up that she wouldn't easily trust. It was quite an adventure to watch her discover her passions, and how that connected her with Sam and brought out his emotions and realized what was beneath the layers.
Sam is a mystery right off the bat, because I wanted to know why he was in the middle of nowhere, how he rescued her in the freezing cold water, and just because he is elusive. He is kind of course helping Ana, and encouraging her. He was just another hook that got me within the first three chapters.
There is also the great premise, and it got going right away. I was so curious why a soul would disappear instead of coming back again, and what made Ana special that a new soul or a no soul would show up.
I loved the twists and how the people have such personalities, how their pasts factor into who they are now. Especially about Sam, the things that Ana didn't realize right away, I just thought it was amazing going full circle like that.
The Heart, the town where they live is well thought out. It adds to the awesomeness of the world building and the setting. I enjoyed the mythical creatures involved and their powers even if they were usually on the "bad" side. It shows so much creativity and added action and adventure.
Another thing I absolutely loved was the slow build of the romance. It is so satisfying to read about. The friendship and the back and forth, the flirting and the uncertainty. It is beautiful to watch play out and just what I love.
There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters. Steph and her take charge, no-nonsense attitude really made me like her a lot. I like that she told Sam how it was and stood up for Ana even when she didn't know her. She is very perceptive and I like that.
And holy twist of doom. You feel the storm building, and then the unthinkable happens. Or does it? But we realize so much all at once and some of it is good and some bad.
It ended at a pretty good place, but I am still super anxious to get the next one. So if anyone has a kindle or epub I can borrow, I will be your friend forever :).
Bottom Line: Great start to a series I can't wait to keep reading. Action, romance and a courageous main character.
Take a second to gaze admiringly at that cover. I've been in love with that cover since the very first time I saw it. A stunning cover to accompany a stunning novel!?
In the beginning, I was slightly confused. There was a lot of worldbuilding that I didn't understand. But obviously since it was only, like, the first 10 pages I knew things would be explained. And then BAM! The awesomesauce kicked in. We begin to see what Ana is really like: tough, intelligent, a tad prickly, bitter. Right off the bat it is easy to sympathize with her - if not exactly love her - because of her horrible circumstances. I very easily related to Ana, and I think others will, too. She has the unwavering need to discover who she really is and where she came from. She needs to get away from her horrible mother who has abused her emotionally and physically for years. She wants to find someone that loves her and cares for her, even though she believes that it is impossible. I felt for this girl sooo much. Her evil mother has damaged her so harcore, calling her a nosoul and claiming that Ana is incapable of loving anything or anyone. Some people may get annoyed because she's really defensive, but can you blame her? She's been nothing but beat down her entire life! I really ended up liking Ana and rooting for her.
Then Sam came along. And OMG SAM. For me, it kind of felt like instalove, but then I realized it wasn't. Sam only saves Ana from a big, scary sylph because he thinks it is someone he knows. (Though, I'm pretty sure he would have done it if it was his mortal enemy, because that's just the kind of guy he is.) He then notices her combination of fear and determination and decides to help her. He's a seriously great guy, not like the normal brooding bad boy, though he does have some weird moments. But really, he's sweet and smart and a MUSICIAN. Drool-worthy, certainly.
The plot and premise and world created in Incarnate are all so original that I seriously just want to, like, jump for joy. Add to that the sylph and the dragons and ZOMG HOW AMAZING. I didn't really know what a sylph was before starting this book because I had never read a novel where they played such a prominent role, but quite frankly, they are CREEPY CREATURES. They're just floating shadow creatures that have a searing touch and are nearly unstoppable. And Ana has been attacked by them multiple times. You go girl!
And I can't overlook the most fabulous thing of all: the writing. Jodi Meadows wowed me. She sucked me into her world and allowed me to see through Ana's eyes. I could feel my heart racing along with Ana's. I understood her decisions, even if I didn't always agree. AND THE ENDING. :OOOO Let's just say we discover some really important things. But what I love most is that there is no stupid cliffhanger that simultaneously annoys and intrigues you. Meadows leaves us with a satisfactory ending that will allow us to breathe easily while waiting for the next installment.
All in all, you need to read this book. Whether you're a fan of fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, or any other genre in the world. You need to read this. Jodi Meadows is sweeping into debut authorhood with a resounding BANG.
I suppose I should've listened to everyone and read this sooner. This is definitely one time the hype didn't disappoint me at all.
I can't remember the last time I was this into a world. Usually I'll finish a series book and think "yeah, that was good. I'll read the next one eventually." With Incarnate, though, I can't stop thinking about the world. I seriously almost bought the sequel today, and I'm not exactly an impulse buyer.
I can't quite put my finger on what makes it so great, but it totally works. I mean, we have centaurs (well, they exist, but we haven't actually gotten to meet them yet), sylph, dragons, mysterious living walls, and a city that inexplicably exists in the middle of a wild world. And all of this in a world where the same 1 million souls are continuously reincarnated (except Ana, of course). It all sounded so random to me which is kind of why I put it off for so long. But I shouldn't have put it off. Because it. Is. Awesome.
I love that the world is simplistic in many ways, yet extremely advanced in others. Since everyone has lived for thousands of years they all have many skills and are able to contribute to society in some way or another be it food, clothing or ideas. Between market days (the market being a massive trading post everyone gets together for) everyone is able to sufficiently sustain themselves with chickens, gardens, etc. Then they also have laser guns and smartphone-type devices. It all balances out really well too. I think it helps that the city itself is weird and unnatural. It almost ties it all together.
I really enjoyed watching Ana grow to respect herself. It was hard to hear her constantly putting herself down and thinking of herself as less than human, but it was practically impossible that she'd feel any other way. The one person she'd ever really had contact with for the first eighteen years of her life was horrible. And on top of that, she knew everyone else felt pretty much the same way. But over time (and a realistic amount of it, I might add) she comes to believe in and respect herself a little more. She's not completely healed, which is good since it still leaves room for growth in the next book, but she came a long way.
Since the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater I've come to think of Sam's as quiet and loving guys. Well, this Sam doesn't quite fit the bill. He's sweet sometimes, but he's also kind of prickly. I imagine that comes with living for thousands of years. I mean, the guy has seen so much -- he's old, and he definitely has the demons to prove it. But he's still good to Ana for the most part. His secretiveness about his past makes him seem a little shady, but it adds to the suspense of the story and the connection with Ana.
The Nutshell: This review is, admittedly, kind of terrible, but I could never say enough about this book. It's lovely with characters perfectly flawed and a world injected with just enough mystery to keep me riveted without sighing in bored exasperation. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. In fact, I just might buy it tomorrow...