Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

by Jodi Meadows
Harper Collins Children's Books
January 31st, 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 suspicious and 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

Insanely jealous.  That's how I felt after reading Incarnate.  How can a writer use words and phrases I've read and heard all my life and put them together so differently to tell a story so mesmerizing that I didn't feel time go by, I didn't eat, I didn't acknowledge anyone. I was immersed in this new world and the people in it and mostly, in the private world of Ana and Sam.  To say I liked this novel would be an understatement.  Part high fantasy with dragons, centaurs and other monsters, part dystopian with the High Council making decisions about the citizens of Heart and part Science Fiction with drones and lasers it is completely fascinating.

The characters are well developed beginning with Ana or NoSoul telling us bits of her early life from her eighteen year old self as she leaves Li the woman that raised her, that gave birth to her, but certainly not the woman that deserves the title of mother.  Not as we read further about how she treated Ana and see how undeserving Ana feels of even the smallest kindness.  Li festered under my skin like a wound I wanted to cut open and bleed. She was a warrior, yes, but heartless and cruel.  And when she sets Ana out for her trip to Heart by herself, she sends her the wrong way with half truths and a broken compass.

Sam, who has lived for thousands of years as a man and as a woman has the most compassion and empathy for Ana and seems to understand her almost immediately.  When she acts like a frightened deer, he takes more time, never turned away by her harsh words, when she lashes out before he can lash at her.
He slowly comes to understand her more, but learns how to treat her, very early on, so she doesn't run away.

Music plays a big part in this story. It's always been Ana's comfort and Sam enjoys it too.  The way it is  developed into the story as more is very interesting.  I know the piano a little, but have never written music.  I was fascinated at how the description of the music sounded.  It's something you'll have to read to discover and enjoy.

Heart, is not an accepting place, despite it's name.  There is very little acceptance of Ana, but then don't people always fear the unknown, differences.  And she is unique, one of a kind.  No one knows why she exists. Or how. And more importantly if they will be the next to not reincarnate.  They are afraid and place all that fear into anger against her.

The world Jodi Meadows paints is slow to be revealed, exactly as I like it.  Some of it could be our world. Some of it could be what I've read in history books.  Sam describes the time of cave people.  And then there are the fantasy elements, the reincarnation, it's not hard to grasp or believe.  It's not filled with rules I don't understand or complex societies.  It's very basic.  And that's Ana and Sam's problem.
Jealously, greed, fear.  

There were elements of danger, romance, violence, war with dragons and sylphs.  Ana finds herself in unusual and unlikely places. There are attacks and accusations. A lot of danger in Heart, some place you'd think would be peaceful.  The conclusion is satisfying in that there is no cliffhanger, but it definitely leaves you wanting more.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for my review.


  1. Fabulous review Heather. I think all the writing you've been doing for nano has strengthened your review prose too. You really got me excited about this book. I hope its in my price range - some of the ones you review are those printed pricey ones I can't afford or get, I only do e-books under a fiver generally. :)


  2. I just looked and found its not for sale on kindle just yet. I'll have to wish list it. Sounds ace! You should put this review up on her Amazon page btw :) X

  3. Wow Heather. This is such a beautiful review and it so stunningly encompasses everything I felt about this one as well! I loved Ana and Sam and I thought the whole concept was just so fascinating. I'm definitely dying for the next book, I have so many questions after that ending!

  4. Hi! I just stumbled upon your awesome blog. I absolutely love your layout and banner. How did you make such a great banner? Mine is so dull compared to so many other bloggers. Oh, and my blog is at Keep up the blogging!

  5. I love that Music plays a role in this story. It has been popping up a lot in YA literature and I think it adds a mystical element and lets us see deeper into who the characters are.

  6. Wow- great review! I am definitely going to be checking ths book out when it's released!

  7. Wow, Heather! What a well written, incising review! This book is on my To-Be-Read list and now I want to read it even more!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Paige :)

  8. That cover completely pulls me in. I have to go buy the book instead of downloading it because I HAVE to have that cover on my bookshelf.

  9. Shah- It isn't for sale yet so I can't post it to Amazon, but I will as soon as I can!

    Jenny- After our "chat" I tried to write a better review. Guess I succeeded! I was happy with it.
    I can't wait either.

    Stephanie- It's actually a pile I made on my duvet and took with my digital camera in 2010. I pop over to your blog. I not very techie though.

    Lisa- Have you read If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman? Those are great novels that encompass music in them. Fairy Metal Thunder by J.L. Bryan is another one. It's book one in a series and is about stolen fairy instruments that humans use to make their band more popular.

    Sally- I have been eyeing this one since the cover was released. I was so happy I got it through Net Galley. I will of course have to have a hard copy!

    Paige-Thanks for the encouragement. I definitely recommend it!

    Leslie Rose- The cover has a lot to do with the story. I will definitely be buying the hard copy as well. It's too pretty not to. Now I need a new book shelf. Maybe I can get rid of some clothes!

    Thanks everyone! Your comments are most appreciated!

  10. Hello Heather,
    I'm writing this a year late :( but better late than never. You left a comment on my About Me page about your mental health struggles and I loved your comment. Now that I'm visiting your blog, I love it even more. I hope the 'better late...' is acceptable to you and you were not offended for me never commenting back. My Reading Extravaganza blog no longer exist, but I did create a new one, Axe For the Frozen Sea, and hope you visit sometimes.

  11. I started this one the other day and I think I read 25% before I had to peel my eyes away to go to work. So good! I can't wait to see what else is in store. Great review!

  12. Lila- I will visit you soon at your new spot and nope, not offended at all!

    Logan- With all the challenges you've got going on, I hope this one kills at least three or four birds with one stone! I did love it though!!


  13. I really liked this book too. The beginning for me was too slow of a start though - I'm glad I kept at it, it was well worth it!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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