Image and blurb from Amazon:
“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, one of those souls vanished, and no one knows why.
When Ana travels to the capital city of Heart, its citizens treat her as a nosoul, suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
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?”
I picked up this book after finishing Orphan Queen (which was a great read!). I wanted to try out another Meadows book and was attracted by the beautiful cover and unique premise. Incarnate is a very different book than I am used to. The world centers around a city called Heart. Every person in Heart has been reincarnated over and over again until Ana, a newsoul or nosoul, is born. Ana leaves her abusive mother Li, finding her purpose in Heart as well as developing a close relationship with Sam.
The idea behind this world is fantastic and mysterious. I love the idea of reincarnation and Meadows definitely introduced some ideas that I will continue to think about after reading this book. She also brings up interesting ideas regarding sexuality. Each of the souls can be born into a male or female body, and we get to explore some of the past lives of these characters. However I feel like this idea as well as the dynamics of this society were not explored enough. For example, someone who you had a relationship with in a past life could be your parent in another life? We also didn’t really explore the idea that these children were born with all of their knowledge of their past lives. Does it ever become too overwhelming with all these memories? While I did not get as many answers as I hoped I would by the end, I am interested enough to continue reading.
Ana bothered me in the beginning. To be fair, she was so physically and emotionally abused for her entire life that I was surprised she could function normally at all. I got tired of reading about how she was so overly-defensive all the time. Sometimes I just wanted to shake some sense into her.
I also did enjoy the relationship between Sam and Ana. It was a slow build up and very sweet at times.
I enjoyed many aspects of this book and some parts had me thinking, but some things just didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t feel as if some of the characters’ reactions matched how the author characterized them. I know it must be incredibly difficult to write 5000 year old wisdom into characters, but it is unfortunate when it falls flat.