|Read from November 30, 2011|
to December 16, 2011
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Book
Number of Pages: 384
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Excerpt: “There was no telling if I'd be reborn when I died, but the waltz began and ended with my four notes. He'd built the music around things that reminded him of me. And now this name. My name. A hundred or a thousand years after I died, someone could play my waltz,...and they would remember me. Thanks to Sam I was immortal.”
In times when everyone is reincarnated, Ana is the sole exception. She's a newsoul/nosoul. No memories and experiences to remember from a past life. A glitch in the system of rebirth. She was left by her father, Menehem, at birth and was led to believe by her mother, Li, that she was good for nothing. A thief of someone else's life---Ciana. And that her stolen lifetime will soon be forgotten and things will return to the way they were after her passing . But is she meant to live only a single lifetime or is she just the beginning of the change in the process of reincarnation?
I have great expectations for this book. The first few chapters had me hooked. A new creature, the sylph was introduced and it provided action and the adventure I was craving for. Ana is a smart, brave, resourceful young woman. She taught herself to read and discovered music on her own.
She was on her way to Heart, the great city where she could get all the answers about her purpose, when she encountered the sylph and met Sam who seemed guarded and aloof but nevertheless saved her from a certain death. Everything seemed to slow down when they have reached Heart. Ana was seen as a threat in the cycle of reincarnation and was not really welcomed in the city but she was allowed to stay if she would submit to the requests of the Council. Then as soon as Ana knew who Sam really is, she was sidetracked from all the plans she had when she reached the city.
And boy was I sidetracked, too. The story never seemed to pick up from there. Ana was overwhelmed with the idea of people living many lives, with different bodies, faces, and genders but I did not feel it. What I felt was awkwardness knowing that Sam, her love interest has been a female before. Also, she let everything passed if it concerns Sam. You see, Sam is sneaking in the middle of the night, talking obscurely on the phone and has a serious case of commitment issues but instead of confronting Sam, she just lets him and makes excuses for him.
There was not enough background about the other characters as well. Li was told to be extremely hateful of Ana because she stole Ciana’s life but I don’t think that’s enough reason to hate someone. Disdain, maybe but spite? There should be more to it, but it was never fully explained. Likewise, Ciana is a mystery. I do not know anything about her. Meuric, the faithful believer; I did not get his devotion to Janan at all. How about Sarit, Orrin and Whit, don’t they deserve a little exposure, too? And don’t get me started on Menehem because, I thought he was a key character but he was just suddenly there and then he disappeared. Like he was put on the spot to tell things he have done and then the author blows out the candle and then poof, he's gone. Again.
And when I said it slowed down and didn’t pick up, I meant it. I was on the last few pages and I was still wondering when the climax would hit. You know, the one that would keep you gasping and make your heart go thump, thump. It never came. Alas, the almighty dragons did not give the tension and adventure the sylph did.
Incarnate has a great premise and lot of potential but I’m afraid it just didn’t live up to it. Unquestionably, Meadows has provided a fresh and unique addition in the concept of reincarnation that makes for a good read but it just lacks the oomph and the special twinkle that I was expecting. It was not bad, but it failed to captivate and engrossed me the way I thought it would. Honestly, the cover is the only thing memorable about this novel (and I say that with a broken heart, really). And the sylph (Yes, I do love them). But the more pertinent question is: Will I read the next installment in this series? Yes I would because even though Incarnate has misses and disappointments, the world Meadows created is undoubtedly different and interesting so I am still keen on knowing what will happen next in the upcoming books in this series.
An advanced copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley