Amber's Reviews > Incarnate

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
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Feb 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: harpercollins, arcs, books-i-own, reviews, favorites
Read from January 22 to February 01, 2012

Like a butterfly, Incarnate transforms itself into a vibrant and unique fantasy with incredible characters, complex relationships and a plot that keeps churning until the very end. Sparkling descriptions made it easy to step into this animated world and Ana's bold nature and intelligence were a pleasure to read. Though this debut is filled with the image of a butterfly, a butterfly it is not. Because I guarantee that unlike a butterfly's fleeting life, Incarnate will last.

I'm hard on fantasy in the YA genre. I grew up reading fantasies before YA and am very familiar with the genre. So I'm generally very cautious about reading them because I tend to judge them a little more harshly. I didn't know Incarnate was a fantasy when I began reading it but by page 10, I was entranced by Ana's world. The author does an incredible job of setting up different creatures, re-creating fantasy favorites and give us a vibrant descriptions of what Heart looks like. I could picture the bustling market place and the tall, imposing temple and I wanted to be there.

One of my favorite things about this novel was Ana. She's everything I want my heroines to be. Coming from an abusive situation, she is quick to doubt herself and very distrusting but I'm not sure I would have believed anything else. I also feel like her un-trusting nature is one of the things that made her point of view unique and anyone else would have seen the world very differently. Ana was also really intelligent. Not only can she pick up on things quickly but she isn't going and getting herself into silly situations for the plot's sake. I feel like as readers, this is one of our biggest pet peeves, and it was almost as if the author was acknowledging that with a slight nod our way. For instance, Ana says when she is getting followed "Going after someone unknown in the dark and cold and almost-snow--that wasn't brave. That was exceedingly stupid." (Pg. 205) There have been so many times I've yelled at a character not to go after that noise when they know their life is in danger. I'm glad Ana recognizes this. What made Ana so well rounded and really sparkle was her devotion and admiration of music. Her intense love for song and melody and her passion for learning it were some of my favorite passages in the book.

Sam was the perfect counterpart. Where Ana was passionate and impulsive, Sam was patient and cautious. Only someone with as much patience as Sam could endure Ana's many relapses into not trusting anyone and still want to help her. Also, Sam's love of creating music clicked with Ana and I felt that through this, a deeply satisfying connection was formed. I fell in love with this slow burn that is Ana and Sam's relationship. Watching them get to know each other and seeing how after so many lives, Sam is still able to be surprised is really delightful. I really felt like I was watching these two grow to understand each other and build something solid and strong. Like both the characters, there were multiple layers to their relationship that I loved because I saw each one formed.

I did find a little disconnect sometimes with Ana's reaction to what someone did or said. I couldn't always understand why she would get mad or frustrated. I suppose this had to do with her background but I couldn't always see it. It wasn't enough to really bother me but it's worth mentioning. Meadows' writing is flawless. I was particularly impressed with the brilliant descriptions, the creativity in building a new culture and creatures and the passages that describe music. Seriously, I wanted to hold each of those gorgeous music passages near me forever because they were candy for the eyes. I also want to mention that the questions raised in this novel about how one person can make a difference with just one life when the other people have been reincarnated millions of times made for a complex plot and gave the main character a wonderful chance to blossom and grow as a character.

Combining a bright new fantastic world with complex characters, Incarnate makes one stunning debut. The pages fly by as you fall deeper into Ana's quest to matter within the little time she is given. Incarnate is the perfect start to what promises to be an exciting fantasy series.
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01/25/2012 page 70
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