Thursday, December 12, 2013

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows--My Thoughts

In the Range there are 1,000,000 souls. All of these souls have been around for nearly 5,000 years. People are born, they live a normal lifespan (about 70-80 years), die, then are reincarnated to do it all over again. All the souls have memories of all of their past lives. So when Ana is born, a newsoul (or "nosoul" as the mean people call her), no one quite knows how to react. Most people are sad, understandably, because she replaced a soul that they had all known and loved for over 3,000 years. Some were confused as to what this means for their own futures: are they still guaranteed reincarnation? Or is this the new norm, that death is permanent? Ana's mother-in-this-life (you have to put "in-this-life" behind every relationship/age/gender adjective; you might be fat/female/90 in this life but were thin/male/10 in the past life) is quite cruel to Ana; she doesn't even give Ana her name until she's well into adolescence. She doesn't bother teaching Ana any trade or skills, not even how to read, because why? She's a newsoul; no one knows if she'll be reincarnated. If she's not coming back, why bother investing time in her?

So Ana runs away from home, from her mother-in-this-life, and heads to the capital city where she meets Sam. He's the same physical age as her and they become quick friends. They share a love of music and Sam and his friends "adopt" Ana into their group. Sam chooses to see her and her possibly briefer life as a butterfly. A beautiful butterfly. 

This book also has magic evil shadow creatures called sylphs and dragons... you know, in case it wasn't interesting enough already.

This book took it just one step too far for my comfort with it's talk of Janan, their god. Janan built Heart, their capital city, for them, and left a note on the temple's walls telling them that he grants them reincarnations. But toward the end, there's a lot of talk of how all-powerful Janan really is. Could a man stop him? If Ciana can cease to exist and Ana can happen, is everything really under Janan's control? The author's kind of blatant in her views... and I'm not thinking she's pro-omniscient God. But it's fiction, and there's a LOT MORE book there, so I'll read the sequel.

I really did like the redemption in the relationship between Sam & Ana. At first I didn't like Ana at all. She was too brittle and mean and cold. But then I had to refigure my thinking: what if everyone around you had known each other for THOUSANDS OF YEARS and you were only 18 years old? What if the only person you'd ever had contact with was an old soul who didn't care for you? You'd be pretty cold and distrusting too. So yeah, Sam had to work really hard to break through Ana's cold exterior, but that's to be expected.

Finally, I'm left wondering about the dragons. WTH? And the sylphs. They're there in the book, and the people fight them, but nothing is resolved. I guess that's for book 2 in this trilogy...

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