Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Incarnate series
Source: ARC through Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through Goodreads First Reads. This book has an absolutely stunning cover and to be completely honest that was what initially drew me to it. The synopsis though was also intriguing; I haven’t read many books focused on the idea of reincarnation. This ended up being a very engaging and engrossing read; if you like dystopias and are interested in reincarnation then you will love this book.
Ana in a New Soul or a No Soul depending on your point of view. She is the first person in thousands years not to be a reincarnated soul but a new soul that no one knows. Because she is born another soul that has been reincarnated many times does not return. Many people shun and even hate Ana as a No Soul since she prevented one of their own from being reborn. Sam saves Ana’s life and is one of the few people who believe that she is a New Soul; something exciting and refreshing and definitely someone worth teaching. Sam thinks that Ana will bring much needed new ideas into their society.
This book is an intriguing blend of fantasy, science fiction, and dystopian society. The residents of Heart have been reborn over and over for thousands of years; from certain viewpoints their society seems ideal. Like many supposed Utopias though, their society has its dark side as well.
Heart is constantly under the attack of evil Dragons and Sylphs; yet why do these creatures hate Heart so much? The question is a mystery. The Sylphs especially seem to have a special interest in Ana and she doesn’t understand why. These parts of the story make for wonderful fantasy elements and a fascinating world that is easy to get caught up in.
The way the society reincarnates and the mysterious tower at the center of Heart have a bit of a sci-fi feel to them. So all in all the story is a very interesting blend of genres.
Ana is a wonderful character that has to deal with some heartwrenching issues. Even her mother hates her because of what she is and this makes her defensive and slow to trust. Despite this she has such a wonderful drive to learn and is so excited about new experiences. This is part of what draws Sam to her. It was wonderful to watch Ana change as a character throughout the book and watch what she is capable off with people around that don’t hate her.
Sam is also a wonderful character. I loved his openess with Ana and how he believed that she was vital to keep their society…well vital. The way he is torn between his feelings for Ana and his status as her Guardian makes their love somewhat starcrossed. Him and Ana have wonderful chemistry and it was wonderful to watch them getting to know and love each other.
A number of the side characters are incredibly engaging as well. All of them are very real and it is fascinating to hear them all talk about their many different lives and experiences. It is also interesing how they have such a blase attitude toward death. They just aren’t scared of death like Ana is.
The plot is well done, although a lot is left unresolved at the end of the book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Meadows has some wonderful characters that are easy to relate to and engaging. This is a wonderful and intriguing world that should appeal to a wide range of fans; there are fantasy elements in the form of dragon attacks and mysterious slyphs and there are dystopian elements with a stagnant society that is constantly reborn and mysteriously provided for. The huge role reincarnation plays in this society is very unique and something I haven’t read about before. I found this to be a very engaging read with a lot of mystery and a great romance as well. Highly recommended for fantasy fans and fans of dystopian reads.