Asunder by Jodi Meadows
(Isn't that a gorgeous cover?)
**Stop reading right here if you haven't read Incarnate and you don't want me to ruin it for you. No spoilers for Asunder, but naturally there'll be be spoilers for the preceding book. You've been warned!**
The book opens nearly exactly where Incarnate left off. Hardly any time has passed; only enough that the residents of Heart are starting to rebuild and return to their everyday routines after Templedark. Nearly everyone is, naturally, rather suspicious of Ana after the part she played in Templedark. And imagine: they're suspicious not even knowing the truth about Meuric! So Ana is, understandably, quite anxious to get out of town for a little while. The book opens with her and Sam heading back out to Purple Rose Cottage and to Menehem's lab for some investigatory work. How did Menehem make Templedark happen? Can it (will it) happen again? How can Ana and Sam stop it from happening? Or should they actively try to make it happen again? SO MANY QUESTIONS. (Or at least I had questions. Maybe you won't. Maybe I'm slow on the uptake. But I loved letting the story carry itself, and me, along at it's own pace. Jodi Meadows is most excellent at world-building.)
Of course that's only the beginning of this book. Along the way there's more conflict. Sam and Ana must decide whether to share their newfound knowledge from Menehem's lab with the Council or with the other residents of Heart. They'll also start seeing births of other Newsouls like Ana, and everyone in Heart has to refigure their thinking on that subject. Or not. Finally, there's another foray into the Temple, and this time Ana's not alone....
I think this book was even more enjoyable than the first because I already had the Range in my head. I could concentrate a lot more on the characters and their interactions without having to think so hard about wrapping my mind around this entire other world with sylphs and dragons and Temples oh my. Also, it didn't feel like Jodi Meadows was making any kind of declaration at all about Christianity or any organized religion or creation or Creationism AT ALL this time. It just felt like a really good fantasy adventure. Maybe I went in with a different mindset? I only read them months apart. Oh, and this is important, ya'll: ANA IS MUCH NICER. I guess she's relaxing a little and finally accepting that Sam and Stef and Armande really do like her, so she's a lot less defensive and a lot more awesome. I can't wait to see where she and Sam end up. And Li died during Templedark so that's a big load off her mind.
I still totally love the relationship between her and Sam. It's so sweet! You know no one but Li talked to her until she was 18, and you know Li didn't tell her about the "behind the bedroom door" stuff, so she's super naive about where their relationship goes next. She's just so excited to kiss Sam occasionally and play a lot of music in between kisses. Awww. And she has friends, too, in this book. Her life's getting pretty swell. If only the Council would get off her back...
So I'm really looking forward to reading Infinite. I wonder if there'll be a big jump in time between the two books. At the end of Asunder, the first "replacement" Newsouls are just being born; it'd be neat if we got a glimpse of what their lives are like in Heart and what their little personalities turn out like. I like Ana SO MUCH: I just want a happy ending for her and Sam! Please!