“Who am I?” My first spoken words. “No one,” she said. “Nosoul.”
In a world of 1 million souls that have been reincarnated countless times over the span of 5000 years, on one fateful night the temple flashed dark during the birth of a baby girl. Instead of a normal reincarnation, no one they know is living in this baby girl’s body. She is a new soul, or as some believe a person with no soul. The person who was meant to be reincarnated is gone for good.
This is the premise for Jodi Meadows debut novel Incarnate and I admit I was really intrigued. I wasn’t sure if this book was going to take a very spiritual journey into life and death and the very essence of a soul, but I had high expectations that I was going on a thought provoking journey. I was very disappointed.
Incarnate is a well written story but to be frank it is a very run of the mill Young Adult paranormal romance that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The story starts out strong, leaving you sympathising with Ana who has been downtrodden her entire life by her mother who whisked her away at birth to the isolated countryside. You first meet Ana as she leaves home for the first time ready to find out why she is so different. On this journey she meets Sam who rescues her from a Slyph, the first of a number of mythological baddies that crop up in this world, and with his gentleness and music he helps thaw out a lifetime of neglect and abuse.
The story starts to go downhill by the time they reach Heart, the beautiful utopian city that the million souls live in. First there is a pretty thin storyline insisting that the 2 of them live together without allowing them to actually “be” together. Then there is this rather vague religion that is complete with a sinister temple and a mysterious godlike being, Janan who reincarnates them all. Multiple events crop up to further the plot and each time it happens Ana seems to connect the dots just a little too easily or makes some pretty large decisions with little to no evidence. I get that she is smart but I almost feel like parts of the stories are rushed and don’t ring true just because it has to happen in order for the larger story to play out.
The romance between Sam and Ana is really the main event in this book and it is a sweet romance. Its my belief that this book is really just setting the scene in the romance department and book 2 is going to revolve around how much these 2 souls are meant to be together not just in this life but in all reincarnations. The scene in the library looking through all of Sam’s past reincarnations and the Masquerade ball explaining the soul dedication make that all pretty plain to me.
Both characters had some fairly questionable personality flaws if you look at them individually. I liked the character of Sam to begin with but he really fell apart somewhere around the middle of the book. He became an absolute wuss and I just couldn’t really see why, in fact I wanted to slap him and tell him to man up for goodness sake. I in no way expect all male leads to be alpha males, but surely someone who has lived for 5000 years has some inner fortitude in the face of an emergency? I also don’t really believe that anyone who has faced the emotional and physical abuse that Ana did over 18 years could over the course of 2-3 months become such a strong resourceful person. The author did such a good job in the beginning with Ana’s emotional state yet it seemed to just magically go away after 3 weeks with Sam, yeah I don’t think so.
After a great well paced beginning and a slow stagnant middle the last part of the book is insanely fast. The amount that happens in the last few chapters left me having to reread sections to make sure I really understood everything that was happening. In saying that though, the story wrapped up nicely leaving the reader with just enough tantalizing new information and questions for the sequel.
Overall I think it’s filled with great writing and an enjoyable love story, but it all played out a little bit too safe. I was left with the feeling that if the author had been willing to delve more into some of the deeper questions and mysteries that the premise allowed this could have been something truly amazing.
“There was no telling if I’d be reborn when I died, but the waltz began and ended with my four notes. He’d built the music around things that reminded him of me. And now this name. My name.”
"We’d both been stripped of all the evasiveness, all the liesThis review was originally published at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 14th May 2012.
"We’d both been stripped of all the evasiveness, all the lies, everything we’d ever kept from each other. Layer by layer, we had given up our defenses and our excuses and our demands for whys and hows, and what was left were two broken beings. Clinging to one last shred of hope. Tethered to each other."
I just loved the idea of this book, as soon as I read the synopsis I was intrigued and knew I had to get my hands on it. This book centers around Nikki, a forfeit who has just been released from the underworld to spend a final 6 months on earth before being given over to the tunnels. The story sends you on a journey of what happens in those final 6 months plus interchanging chapters giving you insight into the 6 months of her life leading up to her entering the underworld.
This book started off really slow - At 20% in I was worried that it was going to be a big waste of time. I didn't really get the whole tunnels/Everneath premise and couldn't really relate to Nikki at all. I also didn't buy the fact that she disappeared quite literally off the face of the planet and no one seemed that concerned by her sudden reappearance. At no point in the story does her family actually push her to find out what happened which doesn't seem very realistic to me. As more of the back story was revealed and I really got into the romance that is Jack and Nikki I could relax and forget about some of these eyebrow raising plot holes and just enjoy the wonderful characters. By the time I finished the book I was hooked and like a junkie I wanted more.
The strength of this novel lies in it's characters and character development. Nikki, our heroine is a beautiful character who a has to deal with some pretty full on issues for an adult let alone a teenager. While she seems weak at first, the way the story is written, slowly revealing little pieces of her history in between what is happening in the present really helps you connect with her. It shows her inner strength, personality flaws and all and it would be a rare person who couldn't understand her actions by the books conclusion.
Jack - wow, just wow. For a story based on myths and legend, Ashton has definitely come up with a modern day hero. Jack is a solid male lead and secondary character, that really rounds this book out. It is Jack that stops you from disregarding this as a typical teenage romance its just so clear that he really genuinely cares about Nikki, both as a girlfriend and his lifelong friend. I am normally quite cynical about the relationships in Young Adult novels, often finding them erring on the side of ridiculous and these two really hooked me in and had me rooting for them.
The book is pitched as a love triangle with the 2nd love interest being the Everliving Cole who got Nikki into this mess to begin with. Cole is an interesting if slightly two dimensional character. He starts off quite strong and mysterious, your not quite sure if he really is a bad boy or if he's just misunderstood. Unfortunately his character doesn't really develop that much through the story other than to fill you in on important information which means that this love triangle is pretty lack lustre. I expect that we'll see a lot of Cole development in the sequel.
There were plenty of little heartfelt moments through this book that just keep endearing you towards it. The scene where Nikki overhears her dad talking about his difficulties with Nikki to her mother just tugged at me and this novel is full of small occurrences like this one.
Because the story switches between the past and present you have a good idea where it is leading and it works in the stories favour, really building your anticipation. The story itself was paced really well and like the clock ticking down the pace gets faster and faster as it draws to the inevitable final scenes and ends with a nail biting finale.
This story is a breath of fresh air even though its loosely based on ancient myth and I definitely think anyone who enjoys mythology or young adult romance will find this a worthwhile read....more
I originally passed over this book after reading the blurb as I believed this story to be predominantly science fiction with a large cyborg element, a topic that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Somehow I completely missed the fact that this was a modern fairytale retelling of Cinderella much to my dismay and was very excited to see it in the library during a visit one week. Once I started this book I found it incredibly difficult to put down it was so good, this is a debut novel that should not be overlooked!
Set in New Beijing sometime in the future after World War IV, the world is terrified by a very real and terrible plague called Letumosis which is highly contagious and completely deadly. Medical technology is much more advanced and humans who once would have died in accidents can now become cyborgs and live, but as second class citizens looked down upon by society. Cinder is a young mechanic who works to fund the social lives of her stepmother and two step sisters. After one of her step sisters contracts Letmosis, her stepmother sends Cinder off to be a cyborg volunteer at the research centre trying to find a cure for this deadly plague. From here Cinder’s whole world goes into a huge spin as she discovers things about herself and her past that she would never have dreamed.
Cinder is a wonderful character, definitely much more defiant and independent then the original Cinderella and I really enjoyed her point of view and telling of this story. The entire Cinderella retelling was just wonderful, there was enough elements of the original fairytale in the book that gave it a comforting familiar touch but it still managed to be so very unique. I especially loved the twist on the dramatic ball scene with Cinder’s grand entrance and reveal to the handsome prince!
The romance between Prince Kai and Cinderella was nicely done, not too thick or unrealistic and definitely not overally dramatic which I really enjoyed. Prince Kai was just a lovely male love interest in general and I think is a wonderful ruler – a great mix of empathy and inner strength! At the end when Kai discovers Cinder’s secret it was just heart breaking and so beautifully done, I just felt so sorry for the both and wished they could have their happily ever after.
The added plot twists with the Lunar civilisation was fascinating and really sets this book apart from the average Cinderella retelling. I found the Lunar people fascinating and loved the tension and anxiousness when the Lunar Queen descends onto Earth. I can’t wait to find out more about this in the future books of the Lunar Chronicles!
This has really been one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and I am incredibly impressed considering Cinder is written by a debut author. I think that this is a story that will suit anyone – don’t let the science fiction elements put you off as this really isn’t the heart of this novel. Cinder is a mystery, science fiction, love story and paranormal all in one and boy does it really work!...more
I was really surprised to discover that Across the Universe had a sequel at first because that book was wrapped up so very well. I was really excited to read the sequel though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as this book was going to need a completely new direction after book 1. Beth Revis did however manage to come up with a whole host of issues for Amy and Elder to deal with in this book and I loved every minute of it!
At the end of book 1 the ship Godspeed is off the calming drugs pumped into the water supply and now there is a whole lot of angry and upset people aboard the ship. With no planet in sight for what could be countless generations there is a whole host of issues to contend with including mutiny, violence and work strikes. Elder has his hands full learning how to be an effective leader and Amy is busy uncovering the truth left to her in clues by Orion.
This book is really about change and growth and showing how the characters handle these new and stressful situations. Both Amy and Elder are beautifully handled by Revis and I found this book incredibly difficult to put down. Their blossoming romance was done well also, it isn’t just smooth sailing but they both question each other at different points throughout in a incredibly believable manner.
While I had a pretty good idea how things were going to end up before I got up to the climactic ending wow I still found it an exciting read and the cliffhanger was fantastic. I truly love this series and if you like a good science fiction then you wont be dissapointed by this trilogy thus far!...more
What can I say, I just really enjoy this series! This book is dThis review was originally posted at Tea, Daydreams and Fairytalest on 3rd August 2012.
What can I say, I just really enjoy this series! This book is dark, the opening scene is gruesome, traumatic and there is a lot of death. This opener really sets the tone for the entire novel and things don’t really look up for the people of Mythos Academy anytime soon.
In this book Gwen is on a quest to find the Helheim Dagger and through this Gwen learns a lot about her mum and her time as Nike’s champion. I really liked the quest in this book and the pace was just beautifully done, you always felt something was happening without being bombarded with too much information. I also loved that even though it had been a while since I read book 2, the author managed to weave in enough recapped information that you never felt confused or unsure about things that had happened in the previous novels.
Gwen is a wonderful lead character though in this book I felt at times she was a little thick as the author gave some fairly obvious hints that Gwen just glossed over entirely. I found this really frustrating at times, it was pretty clear to me what was going on from fairly early in especially with who Loki’s champion was yet Gwen just didn’t seem to get the most obvious warning signs. Good thing the story was so interesting that this could be taken in stride and wasn’t too big a mark down for the overall book.
Logan is awesome as always but man can these two just hook up already and stop with all the awkward conversations and wonderings. I just can’t see enough of a reason so far in Logan’s past that he has to stay away from Gwen. The backstory with his family just doesn’t cut it in my eyes and I hope there is something else we’re yet to uncover on this. The romance in this book is on the backburner in comparison to the first two books buts thats ok as Gwen really does a lot of self exploration and growth in this novel. I think too much romance would have really deterred from the processing and internalising of her mothers memories that happens over the course of the story.
Gwen’s quest really is the central focus in this book and I really did miss the fantastic secondary characters that have cropped up. I hope we get some more air time with Daphne and Carson plus Logan’s spartan buddies in book 4 as Gwen will need her friends to take on the Reapers after this huge page turning finale. The reappearance of the Fenrir wolf was a lovely surprise and side story in this novel, I’m really glad there was more to the wolf’s story even if it was all a little bit sad!
I can’t wait until book 4 is out, this is a wonderful series if you want a good all round paranormal – there is action, romance, mythology and teenage drama, definitely great fun!...more