I really enjoyed this book and can not wait to read the other 2 books in the series. I recommend this book highly to teens who love action, adventure, romance, and a lot of mystery. This book was the queen of all queens of fiction and mystery!
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...
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.
I have read many YA books over the past few years, Dystopia has become my favorite genre. I am constantly searching for new books and when I ran across Incarnate, I was not disappointed.
The books starts with Ana (a new soul) who has spent her life away from most other souls. She has lived with her mother who has constantly told her how inadequate she is, what a mistake it was that she was born, and how no one will every love her because she is a new soul and no one could love her. At 18 Ana strikes out on her own barley surviving to reach Heart where she hopes all of her dreams will come true. On her way there she stumbles across Sam who helps her reach the city, but once in the city he seems to be the only one who treats her like any other soul. He not only helps Anna start to realize the person she truly is, but helps her discover the person she could be. Then Ana's mother shows up in Heart and lots of odd things start to happen, from black outs in the city to dragons. What is causing these things to happen? How will Ana be affected? Can't wait to find out!
First off, to get it over with, oh! the cover! the cover!
Alright, now that we're done with that, my favorite things about this novel included the world building and the fact that it felt much more unique then a lot of the YA I've read lately. Meadow's really makes me want to learn every single thing about Heart and the world the inhabitants live in. The Range and Heart are magical (dragons, sylphs and centaurs, oh my!) and it holds enough intrigue to keep me interested. I was captivated by the world Meadow's created and could not wait to dive in.
The romance builds steadily and wasn't instant infatuation which was also refreshing, but at times I felt like it sidetracked the plot. Also no love triangle! Yay! I also liked that Sam wasn't a jerk. It seems like every YA novel lately has a "bad boy" love interest who is a horrible example for relationships and so finding a genuinely nice guy was great.
However, I didn't learn as much about the world as I would have liked, which was disappointing. I think this goes along with Ana learning basically nothing about herself or reincarnation while in Heart, which was her original goal. I think all of these disappointments occur because the author is setting up the sequels. If the author had found a way to give the reader and Ana more answers while still setting up the next books I would have given this book five stars.
Though there was a few problems with this book, overall it pulls you in and leaves you to awaiting the sequel in order to discover the answers the reader, and Ana, need to find. I'm very excited to read Asunder!
Beautiful world building and a nice slow growing romance!
First of all, let me clarify something: I'm giving this book 5 cheeses but, if I could I would put six or seven. That's how amazing it was.
And I'm afraid I won't be able to write coherent things in this review and that the only thing you are going to keep reading in every single line is that I LOVED this book.
But I promise I'm trying to take deep breaths to calm myself down.
I think it's working. Now I have to put order in my head (to many things I want to say, sorry).
- Since I discovered how to highlight quotes in my readers I've been doing so a lot. But with this book I didn't highlight quotes, at all, I kept highlighting paragraphs, PAGES. Really. I was completely amazed too, they are 94 highlights in total!
- I started with Incarnate at 10:00pm and I went to sleep at 8:00am (after my hubby left). I had already finished the book at 6:00am but I couldn't stop myself, I needed to re-read the quotes, paragraphs and pages I had marked.
- I even had a dream about the book.
- I should be writing 3 reviews before this one but I had to share this book with you all.
- Jodi Meadow is now in my list of Amazing-Wonderful-Incredible Authors.
- Incarnate, the hardcover edition, will have a special place in my bookshelf.
- I can't believe I have to wait until 2013 for the next book. That's just wrong...
Everybody was expecting Ciana to be born. That how things worked: once you died you were reborn again, over and over again. No surprises, no new souls, everybody knew that after a lifetime they would gain another one remembering everything that had happened before (and if they couldn't remember something they had the diaries they always wrote).
Things had been like this for the last five thousand years.
That's why when Li gave birth to a baby no one could recognize their perfect world crumbled. Menehem, Li's husband, left the city ashamed of himself and Li had to take care of Ana, the new baby, the nosoul, even if she didn't want to.
And Ana always knew, thanks to Li, that her life was a mistake and that no one would ever love her. Li even assured her that she could never love because how could a nosoul feel love?! But she was wrong and Ana knew, deep down, that she loved music (she had once sneaked and listened to music. It had cost her Li's rage but it was worth it). Her favorite musician? Dossam, who could make her feel emotions she didn't even understand
As soon as Ana reached eighteen she left Li behind and marched to Heart, the city that held, hopefully, all the answers she sought.
But her trip to Heart almost cost her everything when sylphs cornered her: she coud die a horrible death with fire and pain with the sylphs or jump to the river and die of hypothermia.
She chose hypothermia (who wouldn't?!).
It was then that Sam saved her. A stranger that didn't look at her with disgust, a stranger that decided to help her get to Heart, a stranger that introduced her to new people who liked her. He shared his roof with her and always reassured her that she was a newsoul, not a nosoul.
But things in Heart weren't easy for her, of course. How could they be? A lot of the population blamed her for Ciana's death and were afraid that more "nosouls" would be born and replace some of them in the process.
And to make matters worst Li was back in town and the Council was considering gave Ana's custody to her again...
The way Jodi writes is mesmerizing, you won't be able to put the book down. The words will flow from the pages to your head and create the whole story for your eyes to see. When Ana struggled I struggled, when she discovered new things I discovered new things with her. Her feelings were one with mine and it felt incredibly good.
The way Sam and Ana's relationship develops is just perfect. No rushing at all, just what she needed and what he could give her in every step they took. I valued their friendship like a treasure and I'm sure you will feel the same.
The ending is just great, everything happens fast but well explained and the plot reaches the point where you feel at ease when your eyes read the last sentence.
Now, as I said, the next book comes out in 2013 but if it's any consolation this book doesn't leave you in a cliffhanger that could make you cry, it leaves the story in a good point making sure that you will want to read the next one.
The pace was amazing and the characters very well defined.
One million souls. That's how many souls are in existence. Five thousand years. The amount of time these same one million souls have been in existence. At least until 18 years ago when one suddenly disappeared and a new one showed up in its place. Incarnate centers around Ana who is classified as either a nosoul or a newsoul depending on who you ask.
Incarnate opens up just as Ana, who has celebrated her 18th birthday, is set to leave the only home she has ever known. Through a series of unfortunate events Ana is rescued by Sam, a stranger who is as mysterious to Ana as a newsoul is in a world of incarnates. Ana then travels to Heart, the epicenter of the incarnate world. In Heart we begin to learn more and more about this world that Meadows has skillfully crafted just as Ana learns about a world she has been kept away from so long.
When Ana discovers Sam's true identity it sent shock waves through the reader, but in a very good way! Once the reader knows who Sam truly is we can learn more about his character as Meadows continues to create a fully developed story. It is not often that we can learn so much about the other characters in a first person narrative but Meadows crafts the story perfectly!
I absolutely loved this book! Last year there were only a handful of books that I bestowed the five star rating to. If I love a book and talk about it to everyone that I meet I give it four stars. A book really has to move me in order for me to give it a five star rating. Usually I read these books with a heavy heart and feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, just like the characters, as I read them. That is how I determine the five stars. Does my heart feel like its being ripped out?
Incarnate pushed on me a totally different feeling, but one epic enough that I am rating it with five stars. This book made me happy. I was happy for a lot of the time reading it. Yes, there were sad moments. Yes, there were dangerous moments. Overall though this book made my heart swell with other emotions besides pain and suffering, even though Ana and Sam do experience that type of emotion. I found myself running back to this book every moment that I put it down. When I was at work I found myself talking to all of my co-workers about this book. I could not stop thinking about it, could not stop talking about it, and sadly I could not stop reading it. Its only sad because now I have to wait until next year to read the second one! That is way too long not to get an Ana and Sam fix. I guess I will just be rereading Incarnate over and over and over again until then.
The characters were amazing. Plot was fantastic. I cannot wait to read Asunder!
I read this book a little while ago, when it first came out. But I still remember the story perfectly—and I cannot wait for the sequel. I had thought the book was a standalone novel, even though by the time I was done I was ready for more. Once I stumbled upon the knowledge that there was another on its way? I was ecstatic.
What I remember most about Ana was that I felt sorry for her. I wanted to smack her parents, and yell at everyone for treating her like she was a freak, and an outsider. Yes, technically she was an outsider but… it’s not like she could help it. She didn’t decide to suddenly show up, it just happened.
I loved watching Sam and Ana interact in this story—not only was Sam basically the only person who didn’t hate Ana, the two characters played off each other well. I loved that the story was all about reincarnation—personally I believe in reincarnation. Looking in on a society where reincarnation is not only normal, but simply the way it is was fun and… different. Good different. Learning about how Ana popped up in the first place was just plain fun.
I look forward to the sequel Asunder—though I will not wait patiently, I will wait eagerly.
When I picked this book up initially I was under the impression that it was a fairy book because of the cover. When I got it home and took the dust jacket off to discover that the book is a lavender color, I was positive it was going to be really girly. Goes to show sometimes you really can't judge a book by its cover (even though now after reading it I think the cover works perfectly).
Incarnate is the story of a world where there are a finite number of people--of souls. There are one million souls, and when they die, they are reincarnated with all their memories intact. So everyone in this world has lived and remembered for 5000 or more years. Then one day, when a soul is supposed to be reborn, a new soul is born instead and the old soul never returns. Ana is born into a world that does not want her. Her mother abuses her and then abandons her to the world at 18. Ana sets off to find out who she is and why she was born. Along the way she meets Sam, an old soul, but a friend. Together they journey to the great city of Heart, where Ana learns that there is more standing in her way than an abusive mother, and more at risk than she ever could have imagined.
This was a fantastic story about a girl trying to find her place in a hostile world. Ana is a great character to follow. She is stubborn and strong, but also incredibly insecure and unsure of herself. This book was the journey of her growth into a real and full person. When the book starts she has been so stunted by her mother and the society around her that she doesn't even believe that she is capable of true emotions. But with friendship and a little romance she discovers that she is more than capable of love, and anger, and so much more.
The world built by Jodi was amazing, and full of great details, philosophy, and revelations. She really dug into what a world with 5000-year-old people would really be like, and made it come to life on the page. Her inclusion of fantasy with science and dystopia was great, making this book feel so different than anything I've read before. Alongside an ancient civilization with great advances in technology and society, you also have dragons and centaurs and killer sylphs.
What I loved most about this book was the mystery, both of Ana's birth and of what she means for her society. Jodi litters her story with little mysteries and foreshadowings that all lead up to the ending.
You'll want to keep reading this book to follow Ana's journey and growing love, and to find out what exactly is going on in this shrouded and secret society. A stunning debut, and a great start to a new series.
Ana is a Newsoul. Unlike other people living in Range, she is completely new instead of having been reincarnated many times over the last 3500 years of so. Unsurprisingly, Ana is considered different, even a bad omen. Her mother hates her. Her father abandoned her as an infant. And everyone blames her for the disappearance of Ciana, the soul she has "replaced."
Of course, none of this is her fault. When Ana sets out to live her own life after 18 years of abuse from her mother, she only finds misfortunes. First, she realizes that her mother had given her a broken compass and she has traveled in the wrong direction. Then, in the middle of the night as she tries to sleep in the forest, she is attacked by sylph. As a last resort, she jumps off a cliff to avoid the sylph fire. But luck finds her, when Sam saves her from the cold water and brings her back to health.
I love how we learn about the city of Heart and this world through Ana's eyes. Everything is new to her, since she has lived a sheltered life. Jodi Meadows is a genius for having created this world and I love how she has depicted it. She added so many enticing things to her world: Dragons, Masquerade, Butterfly, Music, Mitts... just to name a few.
Although, it would be great to be reincarnated over and over again, I can't imagine how hard it would be to always try to surpass your previous self. Like Sam, I think I would get bored with some things and try to learn more, every reincarnations.
Wonderful debut novel. I can only expect things to get better in this series. A must read YA book.