Reincarnation is such a cool concept and belief. I remember sitting up and paying attention in Global class when we were learning about karma and dharma and reincarnation, so when a book has strong themes pertaining to reincarnation, I pay attention to that book. Y’all, I feel a little late to the Incarnate by Jodi Meadows party, and while I had a good time, it wasn’t the greatest party I’ve attended. YET, I feel pretty optimistic about Asunder.
In debut author Jodi Meadows’ Incarnate, Ana is a newsoul. Basically, this means that right now, she’s living her first life. In a normal world, this isn’t a big deal. However, in Ana’s world, everyone around her is an oldsoul, meaning they’ve been reincarnated over the past 5,000 years. Unfortunately for Ana, people look at her with distrust and fear, because her existence means that a different soul was not able to come back. Her mother, Li, is totally mean and abusive towards her, so when Ana comes of age, she decides to leave home and search for answers. She specifically wants to find out why she’s the only newsoul. Along the way, she meets up with this guy named Sam, who saves her a lot and is more than what first meets the eye.
Unfortunately, Incarnate’s Ana was not exactly a character that completely resonated with me. I was not entirely won over her. For much of the book she comes off as weak, whiny and mopey. I get why she goes all emo — because she’s the only new person, but goodness I’d like to see just a modicum of toughness. Perhaps though, it might be one of my failings that I see vulnerability as weakness, but I would have liked her just a touch stronger. When you really look at Ana’s situation, it’s not a challenge to empathize with her, especially as so many look at her with distrust. Plus, she is awful at surviving in the woods. However, I am sure it takes bravery to be the only one of your kind, I just don’t want to be her BFF or anything. I will say, I liked that Ana was curious with strong love of music. Loving music typically endears characters to me.
The world created by Jodi Meadows is really cool though, it definitely helped redeem the book for me. The world, Range, is populated by centaurs, trolls, sylphs, and evil dragons which are out to get the humans. Plus, there’s this God/founder named Janan who is shrouded in mystery. As a reader, I left the book wanting to know way more about Janan. Y’all, I am always down for a good creation myth.
I also thought the reincarnation aspect of Incarnate was done quite well. I liked reading about the past lives of certain characters and how they grow over time. I also liked hearing about how the characters kept journals so they would learn from their pasts and wouldn’t forget a thing. It’s interesting how the characters besides Ana had all these pre-formed special bonds from previous lifetimes and how sometimes their grudges carry over. I do think I’d like to know why the characters reincarnate though.
The romance between Ana and Sam is rather adorable, if not a tiny bit insta-love-esque. Like, Ana doesn’t IMMEDIATELY fall in love with Sam on sight, but things move pretty quick between them. Sam’s a nice guy though, and while I didn’t agree with him keeping information from her, I liked that they truly cared for each other. I liked that Sam wasn’t all macho about being a protector or anything. Also? You guys? There’s a masquerade and holy wow is it SWOONWORTHY.
Incarnate is a pretty fast read. I found my reading experience propelled by questions that I wanted answering — why isn’t Ana a reincarnated soul? What is Janan’s deal? WILL THEY KISS? Why is Li such a douche? Etc, etc. For the most part those questions are answered, but honestly, I’m ready to dip into my copy of Asunder right this minute.
Disclosure: Received for review (better late than never)
Other reviews of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows:
Bibliophilic Monologues – “I still enjoyed the novel on a purely superficial level.”
Alexa Loves Books – “my worrying was incredibly uncalled for – I absolutely LOVED this debut novel“