Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review ~ Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)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.

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. ~From GoodReads

Incarnate is the story of Ana, who depending on who you ask, is either a nosoul or a newsoul. In a world filled with souls who have been reincarnating for thousands of years, Ana is an anomaly. Burdened by anger and shame over her daughters soul status, Ana's mother, Li, raises Ana outside the city of Heart, the home of the souls. After enduring the first eighteen years of her life, emotionally and physically abused at the hands of her mother, Ana is ready to flee. To discover how and why she came to be. With the help of her rescuer and friend, Sam, the journey she undertakes will push her beyond greater highs and lows she could have ever imagined.

I want to start by saying I am at a bit of a loss over writing this review. I wanted to love Incarnate, to be swept away and overrun by the emotions in the book. I went into this book with a completely open mind, open to the unique world and fascinating possibilities.

But what happened was...I was a bit confused, and sometimes underwhelmed. I spent the first one hundred pages trying to get my bearings, to know exactly what was going on. I had questions. Where does this take place? Earth, another planet, an alternate dimension? When does it take place? The past, the future, an alternate parallel timeline? And the biggest question of all: Does it even matter (aka, why can't I just shut up and read)? With these questions swirling in my head, I had a hard time focusing on the story at hand.

In addition to the questions I just posed, there were a few more things I had a difficult time wrapping my head around. The Souls have been around for 5,000 years! Let that sink in a minute...I spent a lot of time trying to fathom the amount of identities they possessed. One life you're a man, the next a woman, fat/thin, handsome/ head hurts. Add in the fact that if you have a "soul mate", in one life they may be born within a few years of you; the next life you may be the same age as their grandparents.  Another factor that I didn't understand was the "Years". There were "Years of Song", "Years of Hunger", and several others. I didn't feel those were explained very well, so I wasn't able to follow along when they were discussed. In general, I felt the world-building in Incarnate was less than complete.

The characters and their relationships to one another are what made Incarnate a likable read, for me. Ana was a brave, resilient, and clever girl. She was raised by a deliberately cruel mother who abused her at every turn. Ana was able to eke an existence out of the poor circumstances she held, and I admire her strength. The character I really fell in love with, though, was Sam. Sam saves Ana and instantly becomes her friend and protector with no hesitation or judgment. He is willing to go to the wall, take any chances to protect her. His gentle approach to Ana, who is as skittish as a wild, wounded animal made me fall in love with him. The fragile, slow-building relationship between Ana and Sam is what saved Incarnate for me.
I wouldn't say that I didn't like Incarnate. In fact, there were moments that I downright loved it. But they were not enough to make this a must-read book, in my opinion. I had such high hopes for Incarnate and hope that a lot more about the world will be explained in book two.

Favorite Quote:

" 'So all our time in the cabin was nothing to you?'
I remembered listening to him read aloud, telling him about the roses I brought back to life, and falling asleep leaning against his shoulder. 'It was everything,' I whispered, half hoping he didn't hear."
~pg 112-113 (ARC)

Watch the book trailer.

Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 31st 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books
You can pre-order Incarnate at:
* I received an ARC of Incarnate from Harper Teen, in exchange for an honest review. *


  1. LOVE THIS BOOK! LOVED IT! SO GOOD! Sad you're not screaming about how good it was but I LOVED IT
    Anna @ Literary Exploration

    1. Anna, are you trying to say you loved Incarnate?!? ;-)

  2. I have this book pre-ordered for my nook. I am looking forward to reading it and I hope that I enjoy it. Great review as always!

  3. Great review, Andrea. Well said about your true feelings for it. I haven't read this one, but there are a lot of mixed reviews out there. I might read this, and if I do, I'll just check it out at the library. I, too, feel like the idea of remembering every single lifetime lived over 5,000 years is overwhelming and hard to comprehend. How can any writer write a character like that?

    1. Thanks, Cathy. I don't want to say the concept of 5,000 years is too ambitious, but...yeah.

  4. Awesome review, Andrea! ♥ I really really really want to read this book! THE COVER IS ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! I am really interested in the reincarnation concept so I must get this book!!! So glad you enjoyed it! :)

    Celine @ Forget-me-not

    1. Thanks, Celine. I agree, the cover is gorgeous and the reincarnation slant is unique. I hope you enjoy Incarnate.

  5. See this is why I loved this book though. It made you think about all this stuff! I had like a serious hour long conversation with one of my friends thinking about the 5,000 years and how many bodies you would have. I loved that Sam had a graveyard of all his bodies. Also loved the way some souls would find each other again and love each other no matter what body they had. I admit I was slightly confused at first too but I really loved the unique idea. It has me still thinking. It is a hard one to review though...I still have to write mine! I keep procrastinating. But I'm gonna try to get it up before Tuesday when it comes out. Which means I better do it tonight in fact. Darn time flys! And I don't have a million lives to live!

  6. This book sounds really good and the cover looks absolutely gorgeous !! It's too bad you didn't love it but as long as you enjoyed it... :) !!
    Can't wait to read this one !!
    Thanks for the honest and great review Andrea !!

  7. This just goes to show you, no matter how good a book may be, its not for everyone. yay for you being honest. Some books just rub me the wrong way.. You know what happens when they rub me the right way, right? lol. Awesomesauce anyone?

    personally, this creeps me out. I love butterfly wings and all, but if those shits were growing out the side of my face.. I would not be a happy camper.


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