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.
©2012 Jodi Meadows (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
Incarnate is a daft, shallow and frustrating dystopian (set on a different world) with a vapid main character and tepid romance. I hovered at two stars but an extremely painful Audible narration further exacerbated the issues of plot and characterization in this book. It's one of the few books where, when the character questions herself, I find myself yelling outloud, "it's because you're stupid!"
Ciana, or Ana, lives on the outskirts of the city with her cruel and callous mother. They live there in the dangers of the wild because Ana is a 'new soul' - the only person in the world to have not been reborn from previous generations. Worst, she is taking the place of another old soul that she is considered to have 'killed' by being born. Ana decides to trudge to the city to find the truth of her heritage - but an encounter with a dangerous sylph nearly costs her her life. Saved by Sam, he takes her under his wing and into Heart City. Together, they hope to find the mystery behind Ana's birth. But before them, they will bond over his music and make moon eyes at each other incessantly.
Ana, as a character is extremely immature. I believe the author was trying to convey innocence since she was raised alone on the outskirts of society. But her interactions with other characters are cringeworthy, often sounding more like an annoyed valley girl who was told she can't go to the mall to buy her new Jimmy Choos rather than a girl supposedly repressed by a mean relative.
A lot of the book pretty much focuses on a big tease - Ana and 18 year old (though lived a hundred lives) Sam. He turns out to be her musical idol crush in disguise and a patient person who doesn't believe that a 'new soul' is an evil thing. As the two grow closer, he's concerned about how society will view him with a new soul and she's just frustrated. So we get a lot of eye rolling dialogue in between, e.g., a petulant "I hate him!!" if he doesn't do what she wants.
Grave situations are given no gravitas whatsoever and the heart of the story isn't the mystery of her birth but rather the couple nearly kissing and nearly saying they have a crush on the other. Every once in awhile, someone comes in and says hi (just to interrupt at opportune moments, really) but that's about it. There's some action in the end but no one ever feels like they are in danger.
The author repeats herself incessantly, with a LOT of tell but not enough show. Especially annoying are the 4-5 instances where characters rehash the last chapter's plot, e.g., when asked if they are ok, the person responds, "I just had XX happen, xx happen, and then XX happened, of course I'm not all right!"
World building is pretty slim - I think some more work in the first volume would have set up the next two better. But really, there wasn't anything in the first volume to induce me to continue. There is an interesting premise here but it's simply addressed - we're swimming in the shallow end here.
The narration on this was either really bad or really spot on - depending on your perspective. The narrator read this like a 15 year old hanging out at the shopping mall food court. It was VERY hard to take any of the book seriously as a result (oh my god, fer shure!).
The main character was searching for answers about her existence.
The main character was incredibly naive.
I don't write many reviews, I feel it is my duty to warn others.
This book was predicable and boring. Teenage angst, blossoming love, tyrannical figurehead blah blah. There is nothing new or exiting in the plot.
The characters were unrealistic and inconsistent. The girl is young, innocent, and abused then all of the sudden bold, brash, and daring. The boy is old, wise, and caring but apparently suffers from PTS. After 5,000 years you would think the wise old soul would figure out how to deal with that!!
The narrator was flat. This might be the worst narrator I have ever heard. I found myself actually daydreaming while I was listening to the story! I have listened to over 200 audio books. This was at the bottom of the barrel.
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