Incarnate (Newsoul #1)FeaturedHot
NEWSOUL Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. NOSOUL Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? HEART Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
When she meets Sam, I instantly liked him. He was kind and compassionate with her. I loved the interaction of Ana, flabbergasted that anyone would actually like her, and Sam, who's determined to break through her walls and get to know her, even if she's different. It was amazing to see his treatment of Ana contrasted with the way most of the people of Heart treated her. There were some who were accepting of her, like Sam, but many others whose reactions ranged from cautious to downright hostile. It was an interesting look at prejudice and preconception, especially in this society whose members have known each other for millennia. Obviously, as a reader I wanted everyone to be instantly accepting of Ana, but at the same time, I could see why they weren't. She had replaced their friend, an established member of society. Even though it wasn't her fault, it would be hard not to blame her.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was the use of music. I'm not sure how musical Jodi Meadows actually is, but she writes like someone who has a deep understanding of the joy of making music. She perfectly captured the feelings of sitting at a piano, creating a new melody, becoming lost in the notes. I loved the role it played in the development of Ana's character and her relationship with Sam. I haven't read a lot of YA where the characters who were musicians actually felt like musicians.
Then there's the fantasy elements -- dragons and enchanted stone and, of course, reincarnation. I thought this book was a really unique combo of fantasy elements with a distinctly sci-fi feel (although there's very little that would actually classify this book as sci-fi, it just had that vibe, if that makes any sense). It made me keep wanting to peek behind the curtain, as it's hinted over and over that there's an explanation for everything happening beyond "because it's magic" or "because that's the way it is." I can't wait to see what it is.
Incarnate was an original and romantic story that transported me to a beautifully unique new world. I loved the characters, the setting, and the many questions it posed about both its own fantasy world and our own, and I look forward to finding out what happens to Ana in Asunder.
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.
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.
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...
Incarnate is a novel that makes you think about the "meaning of life." What does it really mean to live. And what is our life really worth? With the new threat Ana poses, the other souls now wonder if this may be there last time on Earth as well.
Does having infinite number of lives make you live less?
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.
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.
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.
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?!
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!
This is a definite pick up and must read!
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!