Publication Date: January 31, 2012
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.
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 afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
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.
I enjoyed Incarnate, but find that I feel a bit let down as well. Medows' world building is phenomenal. The world of Range, the city of Heart, the technology, the creatures - they're all fascinating. I quickly realized that it would be better to rid myself of expectations because Medows broke with convention as often as she followed it. I love that her dragons, sylph, and centaurs are recognizable but also refreshingly new and different. Medows' also brought forth some very intriguing concepts - the idea of a new soul in a society comprised entirely of souls that have been living together, reincarnating over and over again for thousands of years is absorbing. How would she fit in? Why did it happen? There was so much promise!
However, rather than really letting the reader explore this stimulating new world, or perhaps dive into the mystery of how and why Ana was born, (Spoiler) or why the city feels safe to everyone else but creeps Ana out (End Spoiler), or even investigate some of the questions about Heart that Ana reminded the old souls they had all once had, we are instead left with a somewhat boring romance. Don't get me wrong! The romance between Sam and Ana is so much better than what one often comes across. They slowly get to know each other; the relationship builds upon shared interests and experiences. However, in a world so amazingly crafted, with so many mysteries waiting to be unveiled, their romance wasn't really what had my interest. I wanted it to be part of the novel, not the focus of the novel.
Incarnate is meant to be the first in a trilogy (series?), and as such is absolutely good enough to make the next one an instant read. I just hope that now that Sam and Ana have their stuff figured out, we can actually get somewhere with the real mysteries.
And, Because I really can't help myself:
Copy Borrowed from Local Library
Review also on Goodreads