Book: Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source + Date Read: Purchased + Jan. 2013
Recommend: Those that like a stereotypical YA novel will enjoy this. Those who want a non-whiney protagonist, won’t.
Book Pro’s: Incarnate’s world is an interesting one. It’s filled with a plethora of evil things (including dragons) and Meadows’ notion of the reincarnated soul is originally used.
Book Con’s: Ana is a chalky protagonist. My feminist sensibilities don’t like her at all.
I must admit that I only read this because I was intrigued as to the cover. I never even read the synopsis on GoodReads, I just bought it flat-out and read it. I really need to stop doing that.
The book takes place in Heart, a fictional world surrounded by a host of evil creatures, like dragons and scary burn-ghosts that scorch you if you touch them. There are also centaurs and so on. Heart is actually a city, an once-abandoned city (though no one knows why). The city is protected by a special tower. The tower has a heartbeat, I kid you not.
To be honest, though I read this book last week I couldn’t even remember the protagonist’s name, I had to GoodReads search it. There are a number of characters in Incarnate, the protagonist, Ana, is a New Soul (or No Soul depending on your view) and she causes a lot of controversy because in Heart, souls are recycled regardless of the body they are born in. With souls being recycled, everyone achieves a sort of immortality. Except Ana, no one knows what’ll happen to her when she dies (cue in DA-DA-DAAAAHN).
I have mixed feelings about Incarnate. The book isn’t a horrible one, but if I hadn’t have read it I wouldn’t be terribly sad either. It didn’t really make a dent in my reading conscience and that sort of makes me sad. Why? Well, because Incarnate has so much potential. The setting is thoroughly original and the pace of the story isn’t too shabby either. It was an interesting-ish read!
Yet, things don’t add up though. Meadow’s didn’t think about the world she was creating enough, I think, because some of it just doesn’t make sense. Why are their centaurs and burny-ghosts and dragons in this world? What sort of book am I even reading? Is it a YA-Fantasy or some sort of alternate reality? Despite individual’s souls being reincarnated, the characters are thoroughly boring and thin. Where is the thickness? The excitement? And why does that damn Tower have a heartbeat? I know this book is first in a Trilogy and that some of my irksome questions are to be explained later, but this first edition is just… lacking.
Then there is Ana, who is neither strong or resolute in her character. She is a loner who pines for affection and friendship with a wicked sarcasm as thick and bold as her butterfly mask. These characteristics are not inherently bad or wrong, but the combination of these attributes and Ana’s young and NewSoulness make her a whiny and immature protagonist. She spends more time complaining about whether she’ll be reincarnated than actually trying to find out what is going on in her surroundings.
I don’t know how to feel about this book, I just know that I am thoroughly ambivalent about it.
Will I read Asunder (Incarnate #2)? I’m not sure to be very frank…