Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

For thousands of years in the Range, the same million souls have been born over and over again in different bodies.  Until Ana.  Ana is new, and no one knows why she exists, or what happened to Ciana, the soul that was never reborn.  Ana has grown up believing she has no soul at all, and is therefore incapable of human emotions, like love.  Ana travels to the main city of Heart to try and discover why she was born, and finds the citizens suspicious of her very existence.  Ana finds help in Sam, who struggles with his own feelings: can he love someone who might only live once?

I loved this so much.  And I wasn't expecting to.  It took me totally by surprise.  The world that Jodi Meadows has created was absolutely fascinating.  And so many different aspects of the world were explored.  In this world, the same people have been born over and over again for thousands of years, and they remember their past lives.  Therefore there are people in teenager and child bodies but that act like adults (but have to deal with the limitations of their bodies).  You could be born to someone that in a past life was your sibling, or friend or a lover.  It was just so weird and interesting to think about how it all worked.

Ana is completely overwhelmed by this.  She has been kept in isolation, and for her, everything is new.  She's fascinated and excited about all the new things she experiences, while Sam watches on in amusement.  He hasn't really experienced anything new in thousands of years.  Ana trying to process how everything worked, how everyone knew everyone else and how you could be male in one life and female in another pretty much mirrored how I was trying to process it.  It's such a foreign concept it's hard to wrap your head around.  A lot of thought had to be put into making this world make sense, and I really appreciate that.

I thought Ana and Sam's relationship was lovely.  Sam is fascinated by Ana and does not blame her, like so many others, for Ciana disappearing.  He seems attracted to her, but doesn't act on it.  While Ana and Sam appear the same age, he's got thousands of years on her.  At one point, Ana goes to the library and looks at pictures of Sam in past lives.  She sees him old and young, male and female, in all sorts of different bodies.  It's hard for her, although she realizes that no matter what he looks like, she can also pick out Sam in the picture.  There relationship grows slowly, as Ana learns to trust Sam, and Sam realizes that Ana is someone he can confide his fears in.

I still have so many questions though!  I'm actually glad for once to see the start of a series because I really want to see where it's going to go.  By the end, we've learned some very dramatic things about Ana's origins, but it's also raised lots of other questions.  I also want to know more about what's outside of the Range.  Are there other people out there they just don't have any contact with?  What's up with the dragons and the sylph (some kind of strange smoke like creature that kills by burning)?  Why do they seem to be after the temple in the middle of Heart, that doesn't have any doors (except for sometimes)?  Questions!  When does the next one come out?  I hope really soon.

I highly recommend this.  Incarnate comes out January 31, 2012.

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