Incarnate by Jodi MeadowsI mentioned a while ago that I've been wanting to read Incarnate ever since I first heard about it. So, when I saw it sitting on the shelf at the library, I snatched it up and started reading it ASAP! Of course, when you look forward to book so much, there's always the risk that you won't like it as much as you hoped. THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH INCARNATE. Seriously, it was definitely worth all the excitement.
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 can think of several reincarnation books/series of the top of my head, but when I compare them to Incarnate, I realize again how unique it is! A major part of most reincarnation stories is the discovery that the MC and/or someone else has been reincarnated. In Incarnate, everyone knows about reincarnation and has all their memories of past lives. A million souls are reincarnated again and again. It's the way their world works, which is SO COOL!
Now, moving onto the plot. Several times have I seen the wonderful Ally Carter explain how she comes up with ideas. Basically, she says that she takes a scenario, and decides what the worst possible thing that could happen is. What's the worst thing that could happen in a place as nearly-perfect as Range?
A soul disappears and is replaced by something...else.
Of course, being inside Ana's head, we don't see her as something evil. We see the poor girl who just wants to be loved and accepted. Yet at the same time, even Ana sometimes believes herself to be a nosoul. But despite this, Ana is fantastic heroine and it's awesome to be along for the ride as she struggles to find out who she is and where she came from.
But as awesome as Ana is, this book has even more to love!
First off, there's Sam. I love a lot of YA boys, but Sam is defintely one of the best! He's nice and sweet and protective of Ana, and besides that, an excellent musician! I really loved all the music in Incarnate. Not only do I love music in general, the way it affected Ana and the way she felt about it was beautiful.
Then there were some of the other characters, like Stef, who just ROCKED as well! All of the characters were interesting, both the ones you love and the ones you hate.
I think one of the things I found most interesting about Incarnate was the unisex reincarnation. You never know if you're going to come back as a boy or girl, which I thought was both cool and weird. Cool, because, well, cool. Weird, because...WEIRD. Like when Ana was wearing a dress that had been Sam's in a past life and started thinking about how it must have fit Sam better, and of course all I could picture was Sam as a boy wearing the dress.
I also realized partway through the book that pretty much all of the names were unisex as well, so everyone could keep their names whether they were a boy or a girl. Li, Sam, Stef...see what I mean? There were actually points in the book when someone was mentioned for the first time and I thought, "Hm, I wonder if that's a boy or a girl?" which I later realized might have been the point.
Anyway, Incarnate has so much to love that if I keep going much longer I'll just keep going until I've dissected the entire book, and there would be many spoilers and too much time spent writing this post, and I'd probably still be writing it next week, so I'm going to go ahead and stop here.
I think my point is that Incarnate absolutely, positively gets <*><*><*><*><*>