Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: January 31, 2012
Summary: Everyone in Range is shocked when Ana is born. Unlike everyone else, Ana is a new soul: she hasn’t been reincarnated over and over for the past five thousand years. To make matters worse, she seems to have replaced one of the old souls. Because of this, she’s labeled a nosoul and is sent to live away from the city of Heart. After eighteen years of being mistreated by her bitter mother, Li, Ana is ready to venture into Heart and discover why she was born. On the way there, she encounters Sam, someone who opens her eyes to possibilities Ana couldn’t even imagine: perhaps she isn’t soulless after all.
My thoughts: Incarnate is absolutely stunning. Jodi Meadows’ essay writing is delicate and beautiful: it tells the story in a very methodical, almost tender manner. The story itself is what makes Incarnate stand out among recent YA releases; it’s fantasy to the core, and a very creative fantasy at that. Meadows takes an old concept—reincarnation—and reboots it with a very interesting twist. The people of Range may look young, but their souls are actually thousands of years old, making for an extremely tight-knit community. The way this community functions is very interesting, and the history of both the city and its people is fascinating. Meadows’ world building is superb, and by the end of the novel, you feel as if you’ve actually lived in Range. Range isn’t just a pretty place, though: it’s full of secrets, and Meadows keeps readers guessing until the very last pages. Questions were popping into my head all through the first half of the book, and though it was gradual, all of them were answered by the end.
Ana is a character that kind of creeps up on you. At first she’s very timid because of the way she was raised. Her history makes this believable, though, so there is never a moment when she becomes annoying because of her timidness. In fact, as the story progresses, we see her blossom with confidence. This development is in part due to Sam, an old soul with a kind heart. It’s interesting that Meadows chooses to keep Sam as a friendly, almost brotherly character for a majority of the story. I actually liked seeing romance take a backseat to the highly engrossing plot. When romance does occur, it’s very sweet and natural; it’s like a nice treat, but it never becomes the focus point of the novel. (I’d really like to see more of this in YA that deals with fantasy!) The growth that Ana and Sam experience with the help of each other is just so right that you can’t help but smile.
If you’re looking to be completely swept away by a book, Incarnate has you covered. It’s creative, well developed, and utterly gorgeous. This is definitely a January release that you won’t want to miss! I completely fell in love with Incarnate right from the start, and I’m certain you’ll do the same.
For those who like: reincarnation, fantasy, pretty prose, coming of age stories.