I first heard of Incarnate almost a year ago, and have been dying to read it ever since. I wait for book release days like most people do for summer blockbusters. Like with movies, I read the synopsis over and over. I read interviews with the author, sample chapters, repeatedly watch the book trailer if they have one. And then I wait. And wait. And wait for the day I can get the book in my hot little hand. If there’s anyway I can beg or borrow or enter a contest to win an ARC, I try to find it (and usually fail, lol!)
Incarnate finally came out this week, and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like being too sick to get out of bed stop me from finally reading it as soon as it came out! So like any good reader with zero patience and a Kindle on hand, I bought it at midnight the moment it released, and read into the middle of the night until I’d finished it.
And oh. My. Gosh. You know how some books suffer the sad fate of the over-hype and the over-anticipation, where you’ve waited so long to read a book it can never live up to the monument you’ve created for it in your head? Yeah, Incarnate lived up. And more.
Oh how to name all the things I loved about this book!
-The setting. It has kind of a fantasy world feel to it, but they have gadgets too. And dragons! It was unusual and really freaking cool.
- Ana, the heroine. Her mother tells her that because she’s been born new (and not a reincarnation of someone else, like everybody else in their world), she’s a nosoul. Barely even a person, really. Watching Ana struggle with this conception of herself and slowly grow into the conviction that she is a full person with as much right to live and love as anyone else was really satisfying to read, and handled so well at every moment along the journey by the author.
- The reincarnation idea. It was really f’ing fascinating to think about a world where a soul can live for thousands of years, casting off old bodies and being born anew, but retaining their memories of everything that came before. You really get a feel for how insane this would be through Ana’s friendship with Sam. Ana’s seventeen, and Sam’s thousands of years old, currently in a seventeen-year-old body. Many of the residents of Heart consider Ana to be childlike, because she doesn’t have the skills or knowledge everyone else has been able to gather over the millennia. But being that old also means people are set in their ways. Many are unwilling to accept the newness and challenge that Ana’s very existence brings. Others ignore her, because like a butterfly, her life will be so brief that she’s not even worth reckoning with. I guess I found this point especially fascinating, because it gets into questions of what a single life is worth, however short it may be, and how it would affect the way you live if you believed that your existence was un-ending, that even if you died tomorrow, you’d come back and back and back. People tell Ana that she is passionate, and it made me think about the ways that passion is so often tied to do with discovering new things, discovering things you want to fight for, and having something to lose. It’s easy to lose your passion as you get older.
- The mysteries. There are some great mysteries throughout, starting with the question of why Ana is the first newsoul ever to be born, questions about the dragon attacks and the mysterious temple with no door, mysteries about factions that are secretly working against Ana, questions about Sam’s past, and more. And my favorite part of the book was the epic ending, where we get some really satisfying answers to some of these questions, there’s some amazing heartbeat-raising action, and basically all around, big sh*t goes down! There’s nothing I love better than a satisfying ending. Some mysteries are left to be resolved throughout the series, and with the characters that I completely loved by the end of the book, I finished at 4 in the morning and about died realizing I’ll have to wait a whole nother year to find out what happens next!!!! But like with book 1, I expect it will be worth the wait.