Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

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4.1  (33)
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Why didn't I read this sooner?
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Another one of those books that is causing me to ask myself, why did I take so long to read this?! It was always one of those "maybe" books for me since it came out, and I just happened to find it on sale and grabbed a copy. What I was expecting was an interesting story involving reincarnation and dragons. What I wasn't expecting was that it would have excellent world building, characters, and be full of music.

The setting of Incarnate is a character unto itself. Range and the city of Heart are this mix between the present, a fantasy world full of mystical creatures like dragons and centaurs, and futuristic technology (i.e. laser guns.) And it completely worked. To me, there are some genres that are hard to write and get right, and fantasy is one of them. There is so much that could go wrong when crafting a complex universe like the one in Incarnate. I have to applaud the author for not only making it all work together, but for making it a world I want to live in.

And not only is the world building excellent, but so is the character development. I really liked Ana as the main character. She doesn't start out the strong heroine that everyone loves to read about. She had a sheltered and abusive upbringing that causes her to be cautious of everyone and everything, but she evolves throughout the novel. Even though I do enjoy main characters who know what they want and will do anything to get it, I thought Ana was realistic. Most people don't start out like that-- they have to work towards it. And of course, our love interest Sam is the one who gets her to the point of which she can fend for herself. There's kind of an insta-romance between them, but it didn't really bother me that much. It made sense to me later on in the novel, but spoilers! I won't tell you why. You can figure it out.

Overall, Incarnate has a slower pace to it, but I don't really think it took away from the story. I really enjoyed getting to all everyone and getting engrossed in the world of Range. The plot is shrouded in enough mystery that it kept my brain constantly involved in what was going on. And the music. There is so much music woven into the story and I absolutely loved it. So, in the end, once I was done kicking myself for not reading it sooner, I very much enjoyed this novel. Especially the ending. It ended with just enough of a cliff hanger to make me want more, but not too much to make my mind melt. Well done, Jodi Meadows. Well done.
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Love this world!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Jodi Meadows has created an utterly unique, fascinating, and captivating world in Incarnate. It’s magical, yet scientific, and I couldn’t help but be drawn into it. There are exactly 1 million souls which have been reborn into new bodies over the past 5,000 years. That is until Ana is born. Her birth was suppose to signify the return of a soul named Ciana, but instead a new soul emerged. What happened to Ciana? Where did Ana come from? It’s one big mystery, and the citizens of Heart do not like it one bit. Ana has been isolated from society her entire life, with only her cruel mother for company. Finally, on her 18th birthday, Ana sets out on her own in order to discover where she came from and if there might be more newsouls out there.

Dragons! There are dragons flying around in Range! They might be vicious, destructive creatures, but they’re still awesome. This world is packed with supposedly mythical creatures: unicorns, trolls, griffin, and centaurs. We never get to see any of these, but they are mentioned. However, there’s a few run ins with the ever dangerous sylphs. All of these fantastical creatures had me wondering where and when this book takes place. Is it the distant future on Earth? The present of another planet? An alternate reality? There’s such an interesting mix of ancient creatures and modern technology (laser pistols!) that it’s hard to imagine where we are in time and space. That doesn’t distract from the story though. In fact, I think it adds another fun layer to everything.

I know I’ve only raved about the world so far, and not the story, but I was majorly impressed with the world presented here. There’s enough detail to be able to picture it and understand how it works, but still enough mystery to want to learn more. I do think it overshadowed the actual plot and characters though.

Incarnate is an impressive and magical debut. The imaginative subject of reincarnation most definitely makes this stand out from everything else being published today. While the story make take the back seat to the world building, it was still a wonderful read. I’m eager to know what comes next for Ana and Sam, and to find out more about the city of Heart and Souls Night.
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A Different Dystopian Novel That Touched My Heart
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
"There's always the option of deciding for yourself who you are and what you'll become. "
Do you believe in Reincarnation? I do. This is the first reason why I chose this book. Of course the cover is Epic, most beautiful cover I have ever seen. The complete theme of reincarnation of souls was innovative and refreshing. This book is definitely a page turner.

A Vague Indication

The story was set in a dystopian world where souls reincarnate million times, each time in a new body. The body may change but the soul doesn’t. The night Ciana died the soul temple went dark. After few years Li gave birth to a daughter, Ana. Everyone thought Ciana has returned, but this soul was different, never been born before, a Newsoul. Ana replaced Ciana. Being a new soul Ana’s life had been tougher than any one, her own mother was ashamed of her, hated her, and called her a Nosoul. Incarnate is the quest of Ana to find the answers behind her birth.

The Love Birds

As for the characters, I am confused with Ana, I really am. Sometime she was brave as hell, strong as a steal, and sometime she acted dumb, fragile like a delicate butterfly, if you try to tight your grip on its wings, it will be broken. When she’s with Sam, she got all the courage to fight out anything, when she came face to face with Li, she became just like a small little kitten trying to hide itself from the paw of big cat. I can understand her situation. Living in isolation outside the range for 18 years of her life, she had been lonely, unlovable and friendless. When she escaped Li’s and set foot on Heart, where everyone has previous lives and lot of memories, she felt unconnected, detached to the society and surroundings. That’s why I wanted her to be braver, which she wasn't enough for a main protagonist. In the beginning she was not much enjoyable, I found her sorrowful, whimpering and complaining over and over about her life, but I liked how her character unfolds slowly with the progress of the story.
"I'd give anything to make things right for you.”He caressed my cheek, my hair, my back. Everywhere he touched, the angry fires cooled. I wished he'd touch my heart.
"But I can't. I can help, but the hard work is all up to you, If you don't feel real, no one else can do it for you. I promise, though you've always felt real to me."
Sam was a sweetheart, just my type of guy. Determine, modest, intriguing and passionate would be the perfect adjectives for Sam. He’s a sweet and gentle guy with a very kind soul. He did every possible thing to keep Ana safe and sound, didn’t care how much it would cost him to help Ana. He always stood by Ana in any situation which was very brave of him. Sometime I found him complicated, hard to understand what’s going on inside him, but that doesn’t matter much.
The writing was lyrical, each word was chosen very carefully and beautifully by the author. The writing style is very neat example of well organized literature.
The book was supposed to be based on Ana’s quest, instead the book was more focused on romance and the story derailed and lost its track in middle. At least 60% of this book consist description the time period Ana spend with Sam, learning music, those almost but “never happening” kisses and awkwardness between them.

Why I'm Rating it Four Stars

Other than being slow paced Incarnate was flawless. In the end all the answers to Ana’s question was solved in very satisfying way. We were given only one climax in the end and which was terrifyingly good. The last few chapters of this book were breathtaking that you will be compelled to read and bite you nails off. I liked the idea of dragon attack and sylphs, a good mixture of modern technologies with mythological creatures and old belief of reincarnation. I liked Incarnate but I can’t say I’m in love with it.
Good Points
A beautiful Plot line, the male protagonist, gorgeous prose, great writing style and a creative world building
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Loved this one.
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Okay. So, 3 words for this book: Awesome, unique and refreshing.

The plot was quite nice and it kept me turning the pages, it kept up a nice and steady ascent up the interest ladder. The main character, Ana, is actually really weird and at first, I don't like her at all, but with Meadows' writing, she grew on me. Now, onto Dossam, or Sam.

Don't even get me started on Sam. He's 500 years old and he still makes me swoon. His moments with Ana are just so perfect I want to be in them. In fact, every moment in this book makes me wants to be in there, just partying with the dragons and such.

The plot itself though, lacked something. I don't know what it is, maybe it's because I didn't get some of the parts towards the end, and there are a lot of unanswered questions that TOTALLY needed answering. But other than that, the plot was exemplary and the POV was nice. I think the story's unique too, and this made me totally into utopias now. The wordplay was beautiful and expressive and I couldn't ask for more.

So overall, I give this about 4.5 stars. It's a beautiful book for a super nice price. And who doesn't love that cover, huh?!
Good Points
The characters were so swoon-worthy, especially Dossam, and they developed much through the novel. It felt new to my mind and it has a unique story, the conflict was very intense and had me squirming. The cover is absolutely stunning and I'm in love with Jodi Meadows' writing technique, so riveting.
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Incarnate Review
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
The book starts off with Ana leaving home and right away her troubles start. Actually I guess her troubles started at her birth when she became the first new soul to be born into a world where the same souls were recycled over and over. Her mother..grrrr....deliberately sends her into danger but she ends up rescued by Sam who chooses to befriend her. Her first friend ever. Ana is skeptical at first, who wouldn't be with the crazypants mom that she had, but eventually she comes to trust him.

Sam. Oh Sam. He is such a complete sweetheart. While he doesn't know why Ana is the first new soul in forever, he doesn't believe she is evil, and helps her to try and find her place in Heart.

Music plays a big part in Ana's self-discovery which I can totally relate to. Then there is the masquerade scene. LOVE! That's all I'm going to say about that.

But when Ana's mother shows up in Heart...man. Just get ready for a whirlwind of an ending. Also, there are dragons. Mean, people-eating dragons. Awesome.

So if you enjoy fantasy and a story-teller who can spin a good yarn, go pick up Incarnate before Asunder hits shelves.
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A Phenomenal Debut...WITH DRAGONS!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I loved Incarnate. I love the whole idea of reincarnation and soul mates. Add to that dragons and sylph and other mythical creatures, and you’ve got a book that I would have read in one sitting, had work and sleep not interfered.

This is the kind of book you need an open mind for. The premise is very unique, which means the author has to explain A LOT. And, understandably, she doesn’t explain everything in this book since it’s only the first in a series. But the world that’s been built up to this point is phenomenal. One does have to make some assumptions about the setting of Incarnate, such as what planet, when, or what dimension this story takes place in – at least for the time being – but I think that those with a more active imagination will consider this a flight of fancy and can overlook the more minor details.

The cast of characters in Incarnate was well-fleshed out, and I think that they were described well enough that should I run across them on the street, I’d recognize them immediately. Ana is a newsoul, though she disparagingly refers to herself as a nosoul throughout the entirety of the book because she was raised by her crass and unloving mother to believe that she had no soul and would therefore not be reincarnated upon death. She is the first of her kind, and no one really knows what to do with her. For the most part, she is ostracized for being different, but there are some who either take pity on her or simply don’t feel that she should be made an example of, especially considering her birth and resulting newsoul status is through no fault of her own. Sam is her most strident supporter, and he quickly becomes her closest friend and companion, once she allows him to get close to her.

And, yes, as her closest companion, Ana ends up spending the majority of her time in Sam’s company, and as is the way with these things, feelings of more than friendship blossom. The love story is a familiar one in young adult novels: naïve girl falls for much, much older man-boy, and in order to protect the girl, the guy tries to keep his distance and keep his feelings in check...to no avail. The guy always ends up falling for the girl in the end. The romance in Incarnate is much the same, but it’s still unbelievably sweet, and it progresses gradually.

The reincarnation aspect of the book is fascinating. It’s been going on for 5000 years, but with the sudden appearance of Ana, everyone begins to wonder if she’s a fluke or if her birth means the beginning of the end of reincarnation. It’s also interesting how many times the citizens of this world have been reincarnated, and that they keep their memories from previous incarnations. Stranger still is the idea that soul mates can transcend individual lifetimes, and though they may be different sexes or ages, they are still inevitably drawn to each other in the next life. Essentially, they’re all building on previous lives, not starting over each time. Well, everyone except Ana.

I really wanted to give this one the full five stars because I really did enjoy every minute I was reading it. But there were a couple of things that bothered me. First off, I really dislike the word stupid. It just carries such a negative connotation, no matter the manner in which it is used. And the word was repeated a lot throughout Incarnate. I just feel there are many, better alternatives to this word. Also, I felt that it showed no faith in the reader that the origin of the book’s title had to be pointed out in the text, rather than leaving us to infer how the title came to be.

Aside from that, this story was simply lovely, and I am already counting the days till book two is released. Rarely have I read such an inventive and imaginative story, and I was blown away with how it was all executed. This novel was one of my top picks for 2012 debuts and deservedly so.
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The most unique book I've read this year
(Updated: November 29, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Absolutely one of the most unique books I've read this year! It's completely different from anything else I've ever read. I mean, it's a romantic dystopian fantasy!

The world building was wonderful. The world itself was very strange, but it was beautifully constructed. I found it kind of hard to see how dragons could fit into this universe, but it worked out rather nicely. I was somewhat creeped out by the white, pulsating tower and wall surrounding the city at first, but it mostly made sense by the end.

I wasn't sure what to think about all the whole reincarnation thing. Because of my personal beliefs I felt slightly uncomfortable with it, but overall I thought it was handled well. One thing I didn't understand is why and how these people found life worth living after 5000 years of it. I think there's magic when you experience a first anything--first steps, first kiss--and that magic is lost when you've already done it a thousand times, just with a new body each time.

I thought the character development was very evident. Ana starts out with no self esteem, treating herself like she's less than nothing, and grows into a strong, confident woman.

Sam was great. While this is most certainly Ana's story, Sam's role is just as important. I loved the way he respected her. He was so considerate and kind to her, when no one else was. And the romance grew into something lovely and real.

I loved the symbolism of the music and the butterflies and how they all tied together so well with the plot. I wish I had some examples of how poetically these symbols were drawn, because it really was beautiful. Jodi is one powerful writer!
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Interesting premise!
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book has such a unique premise and raises such interesting questions such as, "How can anybody live if nobody can die? (@lord_voldemort7)" but I feel like they're never really explored. A good portion of this book is based around Ana and her relationship with Sam. I liked Ana and Sam a lot and it would have been great if it was the side story. However, it's not and it's much of the driving point of the story until the end, where plot finally moves forward. Their relationship is based on misunderstandings and one of those pesky moral dilemmas. I enjoyed them friends but as something more, I wasn't as interested because I felt like the age gap was dominant. Although they are physically the same age, Sam has lived longer so he takes on the role of the mentor for Ana and that emotional disconnect was jarring for me.

Ana was the strongest part of the story for me, she's been berated and so unloved her whole life that it broke my heart within the first pages. Her mother felt more like one of those wicked stepmothers in fairy tales to me because of the lack of maternal instinct. I still can't wrap my mind around that Li was her biological mother. I just wanted to hug Ana and assure her she is a great person and worth living for. The isolation Ana felt is so immense, she is literally alone and new in her world because everyone else has been living forever and known each other. Can you imagine that crippling loneliness with the ostracization from society on top of that? I enjoyed seeing her progression from being suspicious and guarded (with good reason!) to be more open and sure of herself. Much of that can be attributed to Sam, which I really appreciate him for. I'm still not sure why he was so nice to her (like Ana, I was suspicious but no ulterior motives were revealed so it can be assumed he's just really a Good Person) but he gave her what she never had: love.

I'm interested to see where this series takes off because I think it's a pretty good start. The characters and the settings are set up in this so I hope to see more of the plot and questions explored in the next one. Incarnate is a book that I think is worth trying out!
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