Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Publication Date: January 31st, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
New soul
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.
No soul
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.

Before I say anything else, I’d just like to point out that this was my second try reading Incarnate. My first try didn’t turn out so good. I couldn’t focus on the story at all. I thought maybe it was because of my aversion to reading e-copies that prohibited me from being engrossed in this much-awaited, over-hyped book. My first copy was an e-galley courtesy of Net Galley and Harper Collins, so I declined to review the book at that time because I didn’t really get too far ahead. I thought that if I waited till its release date, I’d have a better reaction.

Well here we are, a month or so later and it still took me a while to finish. I had so many problems with this book. Least of all was the incredible amount of piano lessons, dance lessons and philosophy lessons where Ana learned nothing about Philosophy. There were dragons, sylphs, and allusion to trolls, centaurs, and…giant robots? While I can commend Ms. Meadows for the world she visualized through her words, I haven’t been able to decide whether her world was highly imaginative or just a product of someone who’d read way too many fantasy books. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The cornucopia of these fantastical creatures and beings was what didn’t work for me. There was just too much stuff going on! In my opinion, it didn’t make for a pleasant read.

Let’s talk about the cover…on second thought, let’s not. I refuse to comment about how beautiful the cover of the book is. Come on, people. It’s what’s inside that matters. Well okay, it is pretty. Fine. The only reason why I brought it up is because never have I wanted to learn about butterflies in my entire life as I have while reading this book. Look, I’m sorry, but I can’t freaking make the connection, okay? Butterfly and Ana; Ana and the butterfly. No matter how many times it was explained in the book, I didn’t get it. And truthfully, by the second time Ana herself, compared her own person to the butterfly, I lost interest in it altogether. The recurring comparison to those bugs, beautiful, though they may be, lost its novelty fast.

Speaking of Ana. Dear Janan. Could someone please, tell this girl that SHE IS, indeed, BEAUTIFUL? And that SHE IS WORTH something?  Oy. The self-deprecation and put downs were endless. I get that she grew up in a household where the only emotional connection she has was with the walls and that her mother was the original Mommie Dearest personified, but Jesus Murphy Jones. It’s hard to like a character if the character doesn’t make it easy.

So about halfway through the book, I was feeling excited for the Soul Dedication masquerade ball. What it is, is a celebration of reincarnating, fated soul mates. That no matter how they came back on another life, two people would always be connected and they’d always find each other. They dressed up all incognito but no matter what, two souls would meet their mates. Long story short, the eye rolling gave me a headache – mine, that is.

The Good:

…Uhm, I like the cover?