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Newsoul #1


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New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published January 31, 2012

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About the author

Jodi Meadows

31 books4,629 followers
I write books. I snuggle cats. I drink coffee.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,615 reviews
December 31, 2015
"You should have left me there. Everyone would have been happier to forget about me.” I collapsed over myself and wept. “I hate you. I hate everyone.”
Good lord, would you like some cheese with your whine?

My quest to read all the popular books in the past few years continues. And I got yet another dud.

To be honest, I didn't have great expectations for this book. I was prejudiced against it from the beginning, why?

1. The cover is damned pretty. A pretty cover comes with a roughly 77.2% probability of it majorly sucking

2. It's an YA sci-fi/dystopia thingy. That comes with a 96.4% chance of it sucking

So if my math is right, you multiply the odds, and the chances of this book sucking is huge. HUGE.

And I was correct. This book was pretty awful, but it was not a cesspool of shittiness that I had imagined. Here is why:

1. The main character makes Katniss in Mockingjay (never forget) seem like a pillar of strength. She whines, whines, whines some more. She is useless. Helpless. She can't get by without Sam leading her and helping her and TEACHING HER HOW TO LUUUURRVE (*turns green and heads for the closest trash can*). She's a nosoul. Her mom hates her. Everyone hates her. I get it, you poor poor thing, but for fuck's sakes, have some focus, girl!

Ana is so determined to get to the city of Heart to discover why she's a nosoul. That's great, that's an admirable strategy to figure out the meaning of life - why she exists. The problem is that she doesn't follow her mission one bit. She spends her time in Heart playing music and mooning over Sam. That's it!

2. The world building. It is crap. The first few pages of the book was awesome. The premise of reborn souls pulled me in. I love the concept of reincarnation, and the idea presented in this book was so fascinating - at first.
There were a million souls in Range. There’d always been a million souls, and every one of them pulled their weight in order to ensure society continued to improve. Everyone had necessary talents or skills, be it a head for numbers or words, imagination for inventions, the ability to lead, or simply the desire to farm and raise food so no one would starve. For thousands of years, they’d earned the right to have a good life.
Wow!!! Wow!!

Not. That's where the world building ended. To be frank, there was almost no world building at all. It is a fantastic concept that was never explored. I wanted to know more about the souls. I wanted my questions answered. Questions like...

a) If the souls are reborn every lifetime, are children born all-knowing?
b) Is everyone related to everyone else in some way? Talk about a fucked up family tree...since it has been like a thousand lifetimes in the book, after all.
c) What if you end up marrying your one-time mom like 1000 years down the line?

Etc., etc., so creepy! And furthermore, each soul is agender. You could be male in one life and female in another. Ana, for example, sees a photo of Sam in a previous life as a female (who is hotter than she is). Isn't that strange? Isn't that a comcept worth exploring? This fluid concept of sexuality is unusual in an YA book and again, it barely garners mention at all within the book.

Drones! Dragons! Sylphs! Where the fuck do they come from?! More details, please! It feels like the book throws in a mishmash of fantasy stuff without any background.

3. Love. Firstly, there is simultaneously too much romance and no romance in the book. To get back to my previous point, if there has been so many lifetimes, is there really no such thing as a true love, since every lifetime, you love someone else? Wouldn't love be sort of meaningless then, if you fall in and out of love so easily in every life? I would feel pretty betrayed if my lover loved someone else in another life.

Now, the romance in the book between Ana and Sam exists in a mysterious way because I honestly have no idea why they're attracted to each other. Some romances sizzle. Sam and Ana just...fizzle. There is no chemistry between them, and half of their romance consist of them making goo-goo eyes and half-missed glances at each other across the room. Give me a break.

In short: wonderful concept, terrible execution.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
February 16, 2012

I am extremely disappointed with this book. It held so much promise with the story of souls being reincarnated, dragons, sylphs, and a utopian society! Doesn't that sound awesome? And that cover! It's simply gorgeous! Well, you know that age old rule, "Don't judge a book by its cover?" I should have listened to it. -_-

Ana, our protagonist, lives in a world where once you die you come back reincarnated in another body. Everyone always comes back, except on one night when the Temple flashes black and the soul, Ciana, dies. Five years later a baby girl is born and everyone is expecting it to be Ciana. Instead, Ana is born and is the first Newsoul. Ana's father seemingly abandons his family, while her mother leaves the city, Heart, out of embarrassment. Ana is kept away for eighteen years and mentally and physically abused by her mother, Li. Li blames Ana for replacing Ciana and she along with others call her the Nosoul. So, on Ana's eighteenth birthday she sets out to the city of Heart to find out why she was born.

That all sounds really interesting, right? So, imagine my surprise when the majority of the book Ana isn't researching her past or digging into mysteries of the Temple, but instead playing the piano with the love interest, Sam. Most of the book revolves around their relationship. And while I really liked how it was not an insta-love situation, it completely distracted the book from the actual plot. In fact, you barely even know more about any other characters besides Sam and Ana. This book had a lot of potential and up until about 80% of the book, I was okay with giving this book 3 stars in hopes that the ending would save the rest of the book. It did not.

Let me break this down for you:

The Romance:

The entire book is the romance. Do not let the blurb fool you. Ana is rarely doing anything to find out more about her past. When she first leaves her mother's cottage she gets attacked by a Sylph and nearly drowns. However, Sam, a thousand-year-old soul, just happens to be camping nearby and saves her. From then on out their relationship consist of music lessons, almost kisses, and awkwardness. It was clear that they did like each other, but it is not clear what the romantic conflict was. Was it their age difference? What the people of Heart might think about them? It almost seems as if Meadows purposefully kept them apart just to add romantic tension because most of the time nothing is happening. What really irked me was the choppy dialog between Sam and Ana. Ana is always "almost" catching Sam's facial expression or "too slow" to see his true emotions:
Something flashed in his eyes, but I was too slow to fully see it.

...as well as a dozen other emotions flickering across his face too quickly to read.

His gaze stayed on mine, like there was something I was supposed to read in his expression...

...and when he glanced at me, some indecipherable expression crossed his face.

He caressed the keys again, some strange expression crossing his face. Or— It was hard to tell. I still couldn’t interpret his expressions well.

His expression was impossible to read in the dark.

He closed his eyes and again, I wasn’t fast enough to comprehend his expressions.

He faced me again, but it was too dark to see the subtleties of his expression.
And on and on it went. Ana didn't know what was going on and neither did I. For most of the book I remained in the dark about why Sam even liked Ana. You like each other, I'm not sure why, but I get it already! They became so annoying that I just wanted to grab their little heads like so,

and make them get it over with already.

However, what really got me was how Ana just turned a blind eye to things Sam did. When they first met he told her his birthday was the same day as hers, but later she finds out his birthday was a few weeks before hers:
I glanced at Sam; he’d said we shared a birthday, hadn’t he? Why would Meuric say something different?
Indeed, Ana. Why would he lie about that? And she never confronts him about that. Then when they get to Heart, Sam becomes Ana's "guardian" and teacher and resides in his house. She notices that he sneaks out every night and never confronts him about it. She often finds him talking about her behind her back and when she does confront him he pretty much says, "I'll tell ya later." Ummm...Whhhaaaattt? But he never actually tells her later. So once again, I'm lost. Not to mention often times I couldn't even tell who was speaking due to choppy dialog.

The World Building or lack thereof:

We are told that there are one million souls that are reincarnated over and over when they die. It is also mentioned that the Council monitors who can have children to not mess with the gene pool. We aren't really told how this works and it bugged me the entire time I was reading. It seems that the souls are asexual beings that can come back as male or female each lifetime. So, I guess you could be Billy's mom in one lifetime and 10 lifetimes down the road Billy might be your mom? Except by then, Billy would be a Susie. And perhaps in the next lifetime she's your lover? Sam has a best friend that is his sometimes lover. Sam owns women's clothes because he has been a woman in other lifetimes and he lends these clothes to Ana to wear. For whatever reason, this seemed awkward to me. There was also the question of where the other people who didn't reside in Heart live? We are led to believe living outside of Heart is very dangerous because of the dragons, sylph, ect. so how are they surviving? Is Janan their god? What's up with the Temple? There just didn't seem to be any rules to this universe. Can we say, "Back to the drawing board?"

The Plot and The Ending:

Where was it exactly? I should not be flipping through the pages wondering when the climax will hit. One minute Sam and Ana are finally proclaiming their feelings and the next minute dragons are attacking the city. So much time is focused on their relationship that I actually forgot her original reason for coming to Heart. Hell, it sure seemed like Ana forgot. And when we finally discover why she was born and Ciana wasn't reincarnated, I'm like, "That's it?! That's your big reveal?!" The ending just seemed like it was thrown together it an attempt to make me worry for the character's lives. And I didn't. *shurgs* They all could have been eaten by dragons for all I cared by the end.


I haven't been this disappointed in a book since Wildefire and the only reason why this book gets two stars instead of one is because it was interesting and the premise kept me turning pages in hopes that it would live up to the blurb. I will read the next book in the series, but for now it resides on my, "you’re on probation" shelf.

An ARC was received from the publishers for reviewing purposes. This review expresses my honest opinion of the book.

More reviews at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for Lyndsey.
126 reviews3,147 followers
January 12, 2012
A gorgeous YA utopian tale! Nope, not dystopian. Do you know the difference?

This book blew me away with... a Masquerade Ball, reincarnation, slyph, dragons, music, souls, butterfly, slow burn romance, tension, laser pistols, massive library, war stories, dragon battles. Need I go on? I mean - Wow.

I read this in a flurry of addiction. I just couldn't get enough of the world and it's goings-ons. Completely entrancing.

The Rundown

Ana was born into a society of a million souls. A million souls who have known each other in various forms for thousands of years. They reincarnate into a new body every time they die. Except for when Ana was born. When Ana was born, they were expecting one of their own, someone named Ciana, who was now lost forever. Ana's mother hates her for taking the place of Ciana and is ashamed, so she moves her new baby outside the city and locks her away from all the others. Now, Ana is eighteen and on a quest to the city of Heart to find out about her birth and Ciana's disappearance. Will she find the answers she seeks?

The Writing

The author's prose has a very subtle lyricism, and the underlying message of this book seemed to be one of peace and hope for the future, which is a happy change from bleak and desolate outcomes of some recent dystopian fiction.

The main character, Ana, gets things done. The questions Ana posed to herself in her head were realistic and it was refreshing to have a character who asks questions and goes against the grain instead of settling for everyone-else-knows-best. The love interest, Sam, was complex, intriguing and a hottie!

The romance developed at a (GASP!) realistic pace, more so than most paranormal YA. It wasn't all "You looked at me like you LIKE me, so LETSBETOGETHERFOREVER!" I was afraid that it would feel cardboard or manufactured like some recent YA romances have. But it didn't. It felt natural and ended up being higher tension and surprisingly steamier than I had imagined for such a PG book.

Although few and far between, there were some unobtrusive religious, or possibly even anti-religious, undertones. The thing was that I couldn't tell. I couldn't see an agenda hidden behind the words and I appreciate that. These undertones were woven in delicately and did not overwhelm the world or the characters. It seemed to be more about raising the questions, instead of forcing an answer on you.

Should you believe in something you can't see? That's one of the questions it raises. Novels should be able to raise questions without imposing the author's answers onto on unsuspecting readers. Books should make you think and learn and discover the answers for yourselves. I felt this one did that pitch perfectly.

One complaint I do have, however, is the lack of dialog tags; oftentimes, it was necessary to reread passages over and over to figure out who was saying what. But that might just be my ADD talking. *sings* It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN. Doodoodoo. Wait, what was I saying...

The World-Building

A fresh and unique twist on the mythology of reincarnation. Finally! It is handled beautifully and seems intensely creative. But I want more! I'm so excited to learn more from the next books in the series.

In actuality, there are SO many interesting things you could do with this society. What if the same couple had been together for ten lifetimes but in the next, one just isn't attracted at ALL to the other. Oh, the scandal!

Even though I love the reincarnation concept used by Jodi Meadows, it still weirds me out a bit. Statistically someone who had been your lover in a past life could end up being your parent in the next....or vice versa. *shudder*

In general, I still have so many questions about the world-building. It was exciting and unique, but I wanted more details. More answers.

But I guess we don't know everything about even our favorite mythologies. Like what the hell are midichlorians (besides "bacteria") and how do they work? And WHY can't Darth Vader teleport? I mean, if the Weasley Twins can do it, why can't the original Dark Lord do it?

Regardless, I LOVED Incarnate. I inhaled it. This is definitely more of a 4.5, but it could have been a 5 if the ending had been more dynamic.

I was expecting something more emotionally heart-wrenching. Break my heart into pieces and then put them back together just in time for the last sentence. Give us a huge reveal, more answers, something epic, something shocking, something weep-worthy! However, it just didn't quite do that for me, but I'm hoping that the next books in the series will.

Keep in mind that this is a series. The story comes off at times as a mish mash of genres and ideas. So if you are for streamlined world-building and definitive answers, you might wait on this one. I'm hoping all is explained in the upcoming books but even I still have MANY questions.

I CANNOT WAIT to read the sequels.

Just look at this word cloud. How can a book with this word cloud NOT be awesome?

There's only one thing it needs: NINJAS! Because if I had lived for over 5000 years already, I would definitely have learned to be a ninja by now.

This review is also posted on my blog: Strangemore.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 30, 2012

With a cover as pretty as that you'd think this book would be more dramatic, but unfortunately very little seems to happen for the majority of the novel. The story consists of Ana attempting to discover why she is a Newsoul and managing to fall in love along the way. You see, in this utopian world every soul is reincarnated into a new body once they die, this has continued on and on for thousands of years. Each time a baby is born, they search for a match in the soul database to find out which individual has returned... until Ana. Ana's soul didn't have a match, and at the time of her birth, the soul of another disappeared from the database. In a world where everyone has known everyone for thousands of years, being responsible for a soul disappearing leaves Ana an outcast, abandoned by her father and mistreated by her mother because of it. One day, she sets out to discover why.

As much as I like the change from the typical dystopian setting, a utopia is difficult because nothing particularly bad happens and the novel lacks excitement because of it. The story concentrates more on Ana's relationship with Sam. I found the focus on music and dancing - for which they both share a passion - to be very dull, this would probably not be the case if I was a big fan of playing instruments and ballroom dancing... as I am not, however, I almost fell asleep during these scenes. I would have also liked a better explanation as to why Sam's opinion of Ana differs so greatly from everyone else's even when he has only just met her. He constantly tells her that she deserves to live her life to the full and enjoy it, whereas everyone else seems to believe that her life is worthless because she is unlikely to be reborn. Isn't it too big a coincidence that she happens to run into a handsome young guy who also happens to be okay with who she is? It seems every young adult heroine must meet that one guy that is completely different from all the rest.

I also have some problems with this whole reincarnation thing. I'm guessing that their must be some incest going on if they've been reborn so many times, isn't it also possible to give birth to your grandparents? Weird. And if you are with someone in one life (e.g. married) are you just supposed to find someone else even though you retain all your memories of your past lives? That doesn't seem right, and yet you would be a completely different person biologically, there's even a chance you could end up being siblings. Imagine your husband or wife being reborn as your brother or sister... too strange. And perhaps I missed the answer but it wasn't clear if I did: if people remember their past lives, are babies born intelligent?

On top of that, the changing genders issue also seemed kind of weird to me. Now, you have to be careful with the subject of gender, I mean, what is gender after all? Isn't it just the effect of primary socialisation on our behaviour? It could be. And I suppose having souls that are genderless is one way of getting rid of inequalities, I quite like reading books that explore the idea of one gender or being genderless. But, here's what's weird, and it's all to do with the reincarnation thing again: at one point in the novel, Ana looks at a photograph of Sam when he was a woman in a past life, and she is jealous because he fills out a dress better than her. I'm trying to wrap my head around what it would be like to be jealous of your boyfriend because his curves look good in a dress. Bizarre.

Incarnate really could have been good. It could have explored interesting ideas like the possibility of reincarnation and the nature of the soul. It could have served as an important reminder that we have one life to live and that we need to make the most of it. It could have, but it didn't.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
December 12, 2011
Incarnate had such an interesting premise that I rushed to request the ARC. The concept of a society of people constantly reincarnating and being reborn to each other was too good to pass up. Blue Bloods had a poor crack at it and I hoped Incarnate would fare better. Alas, no. What Incarnate had the opportunity of doing was taking philosophy by the horns and riding that bull like a cowboy at a rodeo. Instead, incarnate chose Philosophy!Bull's friend, Philosophy Show Pony and skipped along very slowly and sweetly to Romance Ranch. There it stayed, refusing to budge from it's very comfortable stall until the last thirty pages where it promptly collapsed in a fit of seizures and died. I can only hope Meadow's next book in the series won't be beating a dead horse.

One could reasonably argue that this is just YA literature and perhaps I was expecting too much. However, I think that's not crediting teenagers with enough. A book such as Incarnate has the opportunity to reflect on our society in so many ways, to do so much! How does possession change when no one really dies? How does parenting change when babies are really just miniature adults waiting to get back to their own lives? How does society change? Is there really murder and would it even be a big deal? What about debt? What happens if you can't die to escape that? What does it do to a psyche to die and be reborn constantly? Over time you will have probably given birth to, married, or been parented by almost everyone you know. How does that change the way you see people?

These questions are only very briefly looked at and none are truly answered in any satisfactory way. Instead, the world of Incarnate is eerily like our own with only a few minor changes to the facade.

This is not meant to imply that Meadows is a bad author. What she does do, she does well. The focus in the novel is heavily situated on the romance. It's a very sweet, endearing romance and the characters are lovely. Yet, if I'd wanted a cutsie romance then I have chicken soup for the soul for that.

No, Meadow can write well with lovely descriptions and sweet romantic talk and tense, dramatic, emotional scenes. If I were to sum up her writing style and JUST the romantic aspects of this book, I would say 'lovely'.

But this book looked to be more than just a YA romance and in that it failed. The mystery was flirted with occasionally but otherwise forgotten until the very end, there was almost no action or suspense to speak of outside the very beginning and very end. Some characters were contradictory and nonsensical, some plot elements just didn't fit, etc.

Mostly, where the book failed is that I have no interest in reading any more of this series. I've read my fill of chaste kisses, reluctant love, obstacles to affection, with a cursory nod at plot that only advances at a snails pace amid so much potential. That's all this book was and I currently don't see any potential for the series to be anything more than that. Thus I have no intention at the moment of reading this book's incarnate.

You can read this review on my blog:

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Profile Image for Krystle.
893 reviews337 followers
April 21, 2014
Can you say disappointment? I haven’t been this bummed by a book in ages. The cover was just too beautiful to resist and the premise was one of the most intriguing things I’ve seen all year. But, nope. It was all aesthetics and nothing else.

(On an aside note…) The cover totally reminds me of this:

And this:

ANYWAY. Let’s get on with the real review shall we?

By gods, this book was such a slow torturous read. I wanted some awesome worldbuilding with an astounding fresh twist on reincarnation and what not because well, this plot premise is like a rare bird about to go extinct and there’s only five left of them in the wild. Instead all I got was a lot of sappy romance and major angsting. You know that whole figuring out the origins of her existence bit? Totally doesn’t happen. Everything is glossed over and forgotten about to make room for the sickening romance between Sam and Ana.

Here’s how the story basically goes:

Ana: “I hate you, you abusing woman! Ima packing up mah shit and vacating, bitch.”

Li: “Go ahead. You too stupid anyway.”

Ana attacked by some scary creatures and gets burned decides to jump off a cliff into a lake where she’s rescued by Sam and taken to Heart.

Ana: “OMG, everyone HATES me. I’m telling you. You hate me, yo neighbor hates me, the council hates me, heck even that woman who looked at me funny in the street HATES me! I bet they’re plotting my demise right now!”

Sam: “Surely, you must be mistaken. No one hates you. You’re just… different.”

Ana: “Oh no, they definitely hate me, just like I hate MAHSELF. Look at me wangst here in the corner like an idiot. But that’s okay because you make MUSIC that sings to my SOUL and I’m like so in love. DO ME NOW!”

Sam: “This is highly inappropriate. No, we shouldn’t. I shall refrain.”

Ana: “WHY? It’s because you HATE me, isn’t it!? I JUST WANT SOME HOT LOVING, WHY CAN’T YOU GIVE IT TO ME?!”

Sam: “…I thought you were trying to figure out your origins?”

Ana: “Oh, yeah. I remember doing that… like NEVER. Btw, yo big pillar of TALLNESS is totally messing up the feng shui of this place.”

Sam: “Uh, yeah. It does. Stupid god/guy/dude who decided we should all be perpetually reincarnated’s fault. And, OMFG DID YOU SEE THAT?! DRAGONS! OMG! DRAGONS! Those suckahs have it in for me! They kill me all the time! AHHH! Lemme cry in my corner and be catatonic.”

Ana: “HEY, I’m a butterfly LOVE me. I WANT YOU TO JUMP IN MAH PANTS. Hold up. Someone’s trying to kill me, damn. Totally killing my edge.”

And so on and so forth. This story? Ridiculous. I hated it. I took forever to read this blasted thing. It’s all about their dumb romance and nothing. There’s some strange melding of sci-fi and fantasy in here that doesn’t really cohesively work. I was expecting something deep but all I got was a story that was very shallow and superficial which didn’t even delve into anything near that I wanted. The writing’s all right, though. Not bad but certainly readable.

I am so unhappy right now. Ana is just too pathetic for my tastes. Sorry for the nonsensical review, I just have no idea how to express myself. LoL.
757 reviews2,346 followers
December 16, 2016
I'm lowering my rating down to 3 1/4

This book is so bad it's good.

Didn't make any sense right? My brain works in a weird way. If it was so horrible, THEN WHY DID I LIKE IT???

I liked it because the writing pulled me in. It's just a way Jodi Meadows wrote that sucked me in and made me forget how terrible everything else was. Everything else was shitty AND I LIKED IT. God damn it, I'm going to try to explain my weird ass thinking.

This book is about a world where, when someone dies their souls are reincarnated into another body. They have memories of their past lives and blah blah blah.
Ana is going to find out why she's different. That's what the blurb says, BUT THEY LIED. Instead of finding out why she's a nosoul, she lives with Sam and studies music and dancing and other stuff. LIKE WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???

Here are some Pros:
•I loved the whole concept about the souls even though at times I was so confused about it. Like I've never read a book about reincarnation and souls so it was a cool subject.

•The writing. This book was like a The Raven Boys situation.
-The plot was pointless. It made no sense with what the blurb said.
-I couldn't care less about anything, but the characters.
-The writing was beautiful.
-It was dull and slow. It felt so...lifeless?

The cons:
•The main character was a whiny bitch who wouldn't shut the eff up about how pathetic her life was. Alright I get it, you're a nosoul. You're mother hates you and treats you like shit. She tries to get you killed, but the fact that she continuously mentions stuff about how pitying her life was, was just getting annoying.
Also she was basically useless without Sam to guide her and help her. Like she didn't even try to help herself for anything.

•The lack of world building:

•Sam and Ana's relationship aka the romance. It. Was. Terrible.
○Boy saves pathetic girls life.
○Girl doesn't want his help.
○Boy won't leave her alone.
○Girl gives in and starts to develop feelings for boy.
○Boy becomes girls guardian.
○Boy has feelings and would do little romantic gestures but pretend nothing ever happened.
○Girl wants to kiss boy but is afraid he doesn't like her.


I can't believe I like this. Read at your own risk fellow bookworms.

My review probably didn't even make any sense. Oh well. :P
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,756 followers
April 20, 2019
Um. Yeah... I was rooting for the dragons to destroy everything by the end.

If you saw my status update or twitter thread, yes, there was one instance of unnecessary sizeism. But that was the only one I noticed. There were, however, a few knocks to Deafness, blindness, and mental illness. Things like "It was so loud even the Deaf could have heard it." It came across as ignorance about disabilities rather than intentional malice. But it was enough to notice.

The relationship between Ana and her abusive mother was extremely unpleasant. Ana's best alternative if she can't escape her mother is to die by suicide rather than tell anyone. While abuse can definitely lead to suicidal thoughts, the book didn't explore or unpack it in a way to make this feel representative. It felt more flippant. And the fact that none of the adults seemed to care about how the mother was abusing Ana was pretty infuriating.

Then there's the romance. It's the case of a 5,000 year old (reincarnated into the body of an 18 year old) in love with a(n actual) 18 year old. I'm not typically bothered by age differences in paranormal instances like that, but this on was pretty undesireable to me. There was a huuuuuuge gap in knowledge and power between them so it seemed very unbalanced. If this is a trope you don't like, maybe avoid this one because it's very strong here.

The end got weird with the whole temple thing and I ended up feeling like I didn't know anything about what had happened or where the story was going. I realized I had checked out during the last hour of the audiobook and upon finding out that the sequels aren't available to me on Overdrive, no tears were shed. I didn't have much desire to continue on anyway.

Audiobook review: One of the most dreadful audiobooks I've ever heard. The narrator has a pleasant voice to listen to and she enunciates very clearly. Her voice was very fitting for the main character, and the love interest's voice was fine too, but EVERY other character was read like the Wicked Witch of the West was doing a one woman play. They all had this very croaky, shrill voice that didn't fit any of them. I need to know the reason for this acting choice. Really, just listen to an audio sample somewhere because it opens with a quote that she reads in this way - though she pours it on thicker further into the book.
Profile Image for Mith.
284 reviews978 followers
January 26, 2012
Gah. No no no no no NO!

What was this mess?

So there's this city, right? Every person in that city is a reincarnated soul, right? Except for this one girl, let's call her Bessie (I forget her name), who is a new soul - she was born in place of a to-be-reincarnated soul. So everybody hates her, including her own mother. So, the girl leaves home on her birthday to find out the truth behind her birth and what went wrong with the other soul, then runs into some shadow monster, then falls into a lake and gets rescued by this guy (let's call him Bob). And then they talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. About nothing. In very stilted dialogues. (I started skipping pages after this). Something something about a Heart, how Bessie thinks EVERYBODY hates her, how Bessie thinks there's something odd about Bob, but oh, she might be falling in love with him...followed by more something something...old libraries, dragons, Bessie's Dad...


I stopped reading right about there. And all this happens in the first 30 pages.

In summation (only because I want to post a gif of the beautiful, beautiful, Benedict Cumberbatch) -

Stay away for your own good.
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 31 books4,629 followers
June 14, 2011
Since I wrote this book, I admit my love of it is not an objective and unbiased love. I would feel weird giving it stars.

Since I did NOT make the cover, I have no qualms about telling you how much I adore it! *touches face* *looks dramatic*

People seem to really love the cover. (Yay!) If you were curious, I answered a few cover questions in an interview here.
Profile Image for Kathleen Peacock.
Author 7 books834 followers
July 24, 2011
Incarnate deserves to be placed alongside His Dark Materials and The Lord of the Rings as one of the most inventive examples of world-building ever set to paper. Not only has Meadows created a rich and detailed world for her characters to inhabit, she's brave enough to let them ask difficult questions of themselves, their world, and what it would really mean to live in a perpetual cycle of birth and rebirth.

Very rarely, five stars doesn't seem to go far enough. This is one of those times.
Profile Image for Roohdaar.
165 reviews1,780 followers
March 25, 2012
Oh, premise of Incarnate, you seemed a bit promising. You were tolerable.

What happened?

I'll tell you what happened.

Ana, the protagonist, is seriously one of the most naive, childish, and annoying girls I've ever read about. I don't care what she's gone through. I don't care how she was brought up. I don't care that I am insensitive. Sam is so utterly boring. I don't know how he attracts Ana. The whole time he was with Ana, I felt like he was an old man explaining his stupid daughter about life and how it works.

- "That, my dear, is a house. There are these creatures called "humans" that live in it. A house can also be used in many different ways. Besides shelter, it can be used as a museum. Isn't that interesting, my dear?"

- "That is a market. It is where people sell fruits and vegetables so that they can get money and the people that purchase the fruits and vegetables consume them and have a long, fruitful, and happy life."

That is literally how their relationship developed. She asked him questions, he answered them with the longest answers ever.

The whole time Sam talked, I was yelling and crying at the book,


You see, I am not a fan of insta-love. However, when the main characters take a lifetime to simply kiss, it irks me. The romance in this book is agonizing. For God's sake, they live in the same house, do the same things, and eat delicious honey together. HONEY! What could possibly stop them from being together, right?! They are so annoying. They're physically incredibly close. They hold hands. They brush each others hair out of their eyes, they lay down together.

But NO KISS. Just... Just. Someone help me.

Ana complains that Sam never makes the move, yet she is doing absolutely NOTHING to satisfy her carnal desires. She merely sits there and gloats while he runs away from her. Why does the guy have to make the first move?

I have nothing to say regarding the plot. NADA. NOTHING.
Profile Image for Jillian -always aspiring-.
1,821 reviews198 followers
November 27, 2011
(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

In the growing world of young adult dystopian literature, Incarnate is an odd beast, blending elements of dystopia, utopia, fantasy, and even science fiction. Instead of reading like a seamless story, however, Jodi Meadows's debut novel sends many mixed vibes, to the point that the whole package feels like a mish-mash of concepts where some could have been cut as "excess." The novel actually reminded me of The Host by Stephenie Meyer: I mean that in both good and bad ways since, much like The Host, Incarnate shines not with world-building or plot but rather characters, their development and interactions, and intriguing concepts that make up the threads of their world.

Ana, the heroine of Incarnate, lives in a world where everyone has known everyone else for thousands of years through reincarnated lives. However, Ana is the exception to the rule: for reasons no one can explain to her, she is a newsoul with no memories intact or prior lives on record. Because of this anomaly, she has experienced the brunt of being isolated and ridiculed by her cold mother, who despises her for "replacing" one of the other reincarnated souls. On her eighteenth birthday, Ana finally escapes her isolated life and heads for Heart, the city where she'll hopefully find answers and maybe even the meaning to her existence.

Much of my enjoyment of Incarnate came from Ana as a character, who is both relatable and sorrowful because of her situation. Despite the emotional abuse she experienced at home, Ana is not a weak or timid girl; rather, she's simply wary and distrustful of people. Yes, she's indifferent at times and quite naive during some moments, but I would be shocked if she weren't any of those things. At the beginning of the story, she's a bit like an abandoned dog who has been abused and neglected; it takes her time to grow away from all of that even though the emotional scars and memories will never fade. Over the course of the novel, her personality unfolds like the opening petals of a flower in bloom, and I couldn't be happier for the transformation she undergoes as she begins to learn to care, trust, and even love.

(Speaking of love, I must admit that I adored the romance within this book. While it won't be for everyone -- especially those who don't like "age differences" -- I felt charmed by it and glad for Ana that she finally had someone kind and understanding in her life.)

Innovation to the "reincarnation trend" aside, the world-building...bothered me a bit. I understand that writers can do anything they want with their books, but I guess I'm too traditional in that I don't like seeing modern technology and influences mesh with fantastical creatures like dragons, centaurs, trolls, etc. It doesn't work for me since I don't often come across writers who can mesh "realistic" and "fantastical" in a believable fashion. Incarnate was no different because I never felt convinced of the world within the novel, which has a bit of an identity crisis with fantasy elements yet also many instances of technology that could have been transported straight from our world. The end result feels like a half-baked idea for an alien world of some kind. In truth, despite the many mentions of the creatures inhabiting this world, only sylphs (air spirits with no souls) and dragons are threats in this first installment, and even then some of the attacks seemed to be random methods to inject conflict and suspense into the story.

As for the rest of the plot and the revelations therein...I wasn't moved by much of it. Honestly, I was ready to give the novel four stars before the final climax and denouement, both of which felt dull and flat compared to the vibrance and emotion in earlier chapters. The last fifty pages of the novel offered some answers and revelations, but the execution of everything felt sloppy with a lack of proper punch.

Despite my misgivings, I did like much of my reading experience with Incarnate, so I will be reading both sequels to see Ana to the end of her journey. As for whether you should take the plunge yourself, look to the reviews, positive and negative, and try to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. There is enjoyment to be found in this novel: the only question is whether you will be one to find it or not.

Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,156 reviews641 followers
August 19, 2011
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. There were definitely aspects of the story I found creative and the narrative flowed quite well, but I think Meadows’s take on reincarnation was difficult for me to embrace. Putting it frankly, it goes against my belief system and at times I did feel Meadows was pushing some sort of agenda that I wasn’t quite willing to accept.

Now, I don’t know if I would classify this story as YA Utopian . To me, there were elements of the story that made it feel like YA Fantasy, where the people are perpetually incarnated into a world where dragons, centaurs, griffins, and sylph fire are trying to kill them. Once those creatures are introduced, it feels like Fantasy to me. But, then you have the whole concept of reincarnation and a society of souls that have been recycled hundreds of times over, which in the end just left me a bit baffled. So, it’s a hybrid in my mind and I’m not tying it to any particular genre for now.

Now, about the story. In this book, we meet Ana who is a new-soul, or as her mother would describe her, a no-soul. Prior to her birth, there were a million souls that have been reincarnated, but in the year of the Song, the temple goes dark, a soul is lost and Ana is born with a new-soul. Ana is cast out at the age of eighteen and meets Sam, who is willing to accept her for what she is. However, Ana’s journey to discover why she is not a reincarnate is not without its trials as the people of Heart can’t seem to let go of the fact that Ana might just be the first of a new generation of new-souls and they are seeing the end of their perpetual existence..

So here’s what I had a difficult time grasping. First, if humans, as intelligent life forms that have reincarnated for the past millennium, are able to fall back on their knowledge of their previous lives, why have they not been able to dominate over the creatures that are trying to destroy them. For example, there is the case of Sam who has seen his demise at the dragon’s hand thirty times over. I didn’t quite understand how the people of Heart have not been able to somehow defend themselves against these creatures and protect their domain.

Then there was the concept of how the people of Heart reincarnate. Again, let’s take Sam for example. In one life he can come into existence as a male, but maybe for the next three or four lives, he will reincarnate as a female. So I had to wonder, what his is dominant gender? If he loves Ana in this lifetime and reincarnate as a woman in the next, how will that love translate? To me it made the relationship between Ana and Sam confusing and awkward, especially since Ana was grappling with this confusion as well and I don’t feel it was ever really properly addressed.

What bothered me the most though was the relationship been Ana and Li.. Now, I’ve read enough fiction to have come across some pretty shitty parents, but it never gets easier for me. In this book though, I couldn’t fathom how a mother would treat her daughter so poorly because she was not a reincarnate of her previous friend. There was no motherly instinct what-so-ever and frankly it bothered me that Li along with several other reincarnates exhibited this entitlement to another life, thus making me feel they didn’t fully appreciate the here and now because heck they’ll get a re-do card, so what’s the point? Overall, I felt no connection or compassion for any of the characters in this book, including Ana to some degree for other reasons I won't go into.

Lastly, I felt the ending was a bit rushed and not much was offered to hook me into the series. But in the end, I’ll give it three stars for an ambitious attempt that did have me slightly entertained and constantly grappling with the concepts that were introduced.

Thank you so much Lyndsey for touring this book! It’s off to the next Booker. :)
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,036 followers
May 2, 2015
I don't know what it is, you guys, but I just can't explain how much I click with this book. I love the concept, I love the world and how aesthetically pleasing it is for me personally, with its mix of fantasy and sci-fi. I love how the writing feels so yummy to me and only amps up the overall visualization of Range. Heck, I even have an intense love for not only the covers of this series but the overall design aesthetic. It's just. So. Me.

I don't know how else to explain it. xD I've read this book three times, thinking my opinion would change eventually, but...no. I just love it. I still do and probably always will. It just hits all the right notes for me, so to speak.
Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,302 followers
March 20, 2015
As beautiful as the cover!

“If I only get one life, I don’t want to waste it by hesitating”

These days I’m a bit out of sync when it comes to the books I read.. I like some books that others don’t, and I don’t like the books the others love, I feel like I’m missing something.

This books is one of the books I loved, while some of my book fellows didn’t.. I don’t know what’s the element that really made me like it so much, but I know that from the very beginning I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

The world settling was great – a mix between dystopian and fantasy (with futuristic technologies but also dragons and other mythical creatures). For me it felt like a parallel world where human (their souls) can reincarnate over and over again, and the city has its own heartbeat. It was intriguing and somehow original, mostly different than what I’ve read recently… It felt refreshing to change perspective and to get lost in such an unusual world.

The cover is beautiful and it fits the story. This is the 3rd book in the past months that has a masquerade scene in it, and (this time again) I loved it. And I loved how Ana (the main character) thought that she was like a butterfly – it was a good comparison on so many levels.

The characters are complex and they have more than only one layer. It is the world that make them different than us, that make them act differently, feel differently, be something entirely different than us.

- Ana
She is a ‘newsoul’. That means that this is her very first life. In a world where for thousands of years people have reincarnate over and over again, she is the only one new – the only one without a past, without memories, without friends from past lives. Her mother who resembled a regular evil fairytale stepmother, made her think the worst of herself.. made her think that she has no soul and she doesn’t deserve the life she has. Why is that? Because before Ana was born, another soul vanished forever (it never came back to life again) and that soul was her mother’s best friend.

- Her mother
Of course in our world it is hard to understand how someone could care more about a friend that a child, but think about the fact that in this fantasy world there is a limited number of souls. They get to be reincarnate and have kids from the same group (in one life you could be my parent, the next one you could be my child). The friendship is the most valuable thing you have, the only thing that never changes through all these lives.

Also, a new soul taking someone’s place is a threat for everyone.
What if someone else will vanish as well, what if this is not a singular case. Is this newsoul going to reincarnate, or will people vanish forever at some point. People feared Ana, people hated her for taking away a friend, even if it wasn’t her fault.

- Sam
When Ana finally leaves home (it takes her a bit more to do that than the others because she knows almost nothing about the dangers that await for her) she faces some of the mythical creatures I told you about. It’s Sam who’s saving her life and tries to keep her safe (and warm *giggles*), and even after knowing who she really is, he still protects her against the entire world.

“After I worked so hard saving you, I’d appreciate
if you didn’t try to kill yourself again”

Sam becomes Ana’s teacher and protector and their story is one that will stay with me for a while. I like them as a couple, I liked how they got from complete strangers to friends and then lovers. It was a slow and sweet transition that made me like them both. I liked their conversations and how Sam made her understand that she has a soul and she has the right to love and be happy. I loved how music brought them closer, how they were both passionate about the things they did, how they were better as a couple.

There are some other secondary characters too, but I can’t say if I liked them or not. Mostly because I didn’t know them enough, and at times I didn’t trust them. My focus was always on Sam and Ana, and their lovely romance. They were a strange but wonderful mix like the world they were living in – she was a newsoul, he was an old-soul; she was impulsive, he was more calculated, they complete each other perfectly.

“It’s difficult to focus on my sudies when my best friend is struggling to get through the hour”.
He hesitated. “So I’m your best friend now?”
My cheeks heated, and I shrugged. “It was between you and Sarit, and you have music. She just has honey.”

Now I can’t wait to see what comes next, I want to see how Ana will change through the story. Also I have some questions that have’t been answered in this installment, I want to know more about this world, and I want more Sam-and-Ana moments.

Book Source: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. (thank you!)

4.5 stars
Music of choice: The Moment – Yiruma

This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com - Incarnate

Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin' | Blog (RO)

Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
January 27, 2012
Incarnate gives us a fresh, new soul in YA. Originality at its core, Jodi Meadows has written an incredible world with dragons, sylphs, laser pistols, temple with heartbeats; really- how much more imaginative can it get? I was blown away with the imagery that formed in my mind while reading this book. It's a gorgeous, but notably frightening world. I did have a bit of difficulty swallowing the fact that, since everyone is always being reincarnated, they give birth to people they already know. It could even be your own father. However, it is a way of life for them, who am I to say what's unreasonable? I've heard of a mother who used her daughter's egg to get pregnant, which basically means she gave birth to a grandchild of sorts. Is this weird? Of course! But we're living in a world where you can have babies that are literally not your own, so it makes sense to think that living for thousands of years with reincarnation would desensitize people to things that presently blow our minds.

Ana has had to live with her mother telling her she was a Nosoul for all of her 18 years. This turned her into a deeply defensive, cautious young woman who has difficulty putting her trust in others. Ana is a remarkably easy character to like with a realistic voice that stands out. She may have had a hard life, but this makes her loves and joys come from the heart. It's not fake or shallow when she feels something, it's with her whole heart and soul. Sam, the first person to show her kindness, has a heart of gold, but more importantly; the patience of a stone. They have a positively sweet romance that creeps up on you. You suddenly realize you've been longing for them to be together. I was delighted by how perfectly paced their relationship flourished.

We've got originality; we've got charming characters; but let's not forget the fascinating plot that surrounds it all. Mystery after mystery flows inside these pages. I was starved for more information as much as Ana. Why is she the only newsoul? Where did Ciana go? Why was the town of Heart just sitting there? A temple with a heartbeat? It's all so mystifying. We don't get all the answers in this novel, but we do get some, as well as one heck of a promise: that this is the start of an epic series!

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,035 followers
January 10, 2016
3.5 stars really but i'm feeling generous!

this book was so absorbing for me. despite the synopsis, this book is mainly a romance between the main characters, ana and sam, and i was 100% okay with that because i loved the pair together. they had great chemistry. their relationship developed slowly from a nice friendship with mutual offers of comfort.

ana was frustrating in the beginning. she lashed out so gratuitously, and although i admit it aligns with her childhood, it was still uncalled for in most situations. but i still liked her a lot. i found her interesting and relatable.

the world was so intriguing. jodi meadows crafts it with so many unique characteristics that make the world engaging and fascinating. however, i'm also left with so many questions about it and about reincarnation. i wish the world was more detailed, more fleshed out; i wish i still didn't have so many questions.

i'm kind of sad this is a series. i really wish it was a standalone. i don't know why i wish that, since i found this book really enjoyable, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,313 reviews215 followers
January 29, 2018
This cover is freaking amazing!

I read this book so freaking quickly that I really want to get the next book from my library, right now. Even though it isn't even open until 10am tomorrow. I want to go all mission impossible on my library and find all of the books within this series and walk out of there like a boss. Yup, that's what I really want to do right now. Or just call out of work "sick" tomorrow and spend my day at the library or at barnes and noble and just READ. All day. In my happy place.

Incarnate, again, WAS AMAZING. I couldn't put it down. If I could read and drive I would have done exactly that. But since my life and car are very precious to me - I didn't.

Okay, back to the book! So the MC in Incarnate is Ana and she is a new soul. She has a god awful mother, named Li, who I wanted to punch in the vagina countless times. Anytime she was mentioned or talked, I instantly felt bad for Ana. She just deserved a way better family than what she had.

Besides loving Ana because she's so god damn sassy, smart, independent, and unnecessarily defensive (but then again if Li was your horrible mom you would always be on the defense too) there's Sam. OH SAM - I LOVED HIM. He was just what the doctor ordered.

Sam was everything to me, I mean Ana. Definitely meant Ana. They were two peas in a pod. Even though Sam has died like 400 times or something and Ana hasn't died once because she was just born into this lifetime. They were still freaking adorable and I shipped the heck out of them.

I can't wait to dive into the next book because I need more of Sam and Ana. I really really do.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
965 reviews741 followers
July 30, 2015
With a spectacular concept and a beautiful cover, Incarnate fell short for my taste and interest.

In my opinion, the story became less and less interesting as story progresses since the main plot or goal became blurry along the way. Yes, there are revelations and sometimes twists in the plot but they didn't help to redeem the lost attention.

The story was too focused on building the romance and friendship between the two main characters, Ana and Sam, that events about incarnation and finding out about Ana seemed just sidetrips.

And it really felt like that the scenes had been thrown in random and it's up to me to organize and make sense out of them. So basically, it's a clutter.

There are dragons, slyphs and years which have different names and there is the so-called Janan. There are explanations actually, but the world was still vague, really vague, that I ended up disappointed.

The main characters, however, were not annoying but they are plain and monotonous. And the minor characters didn't register to me that much. So as a whole, it's an okay-read for me.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
250 reviews329 followers
December 29, 2015
“Music overwhelmed me, soaked into my skin like water. I didn’t have words for the squiggles and dashes across the pages, or the way his fingers stretched across the keys to make my heart race. If I could hear only one thing for the rest of my life, this was what I wanted.”

You know, I read Incarnate by Jodi Meadows three years go. And to this day I still have no idea how I should rate this book. I keep on bouncing between two stars to four. Why? Because there are some things that I really don't like, some things that I am indifferent to, and other things that I adore.

Before I start the review, I'd better tell you what it's about. I do need to stress out that when I saw the absolutely drop-dead gorgeous cover I honestly thought it was going to be about these butterfly people in some sort of fantasy land. No I kid you not I was that desperate for something original.

By this point The Hunger Games's popularity was sky high and therefore every publishing house was riding on the dystopian train. While those times weren't as dark as the YA Paranormal-Romance Age brought on by Twilight it was still quite difficult for me to read anything that wasn't dystopian. And as a girl who doesn't particularly care for dystopian, it was hard to buy new releases that interested me. So I bought the butterfly book as soon as I saw it. In hardback. Like a nob.

As I quickly figured out, Incarnate is actually about a girl named Ana who lives in a world where everyone's soul is reincarnated over again and again. However Ana defies her world's logic by being an entirely new soul who actually causes another soul to vanish mysteriously. Shunned by society she is banished to live a sheltered life with her minder -- a hone maker named Sarit. After years of abuse she finally is set free from her home and has to travel to her world's capitol, Heart, to learn about her existence and maybe even start her own life. On her travels she meets a guy named Sam. Together they go to Heart and try to discover how Ana came to be and what happened to the soul that she replaced. Along the way they'll have to face off wolves, trolls, dragons, sylph, and corrupted religious systems.

Weird plot, am I right? I guess it sort of reminds me of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones in that way; there are a whole load of genres being thrown into this book. But unlike Cassandra Clare's work, I feel like this meshed much more elegantly. As stupid as the name "Heart" is, I did believe the world and the culture intrigued me. Whenever dragons or those sylph things popped up I was squealing with enjoyment. I guess Jodi Meadows is sort of like the author of Bone Season, Samantha Shannon; it feels like she's more at home with the fantasy elements.

However, much like Samantha Shannon, the author rarely takes advantage of her strengths. Instead she rather focuses on this;
“He held on to me like I was a rock, the only thing keeping him from drifting out with the tide of dark memories.
It was the first time I realized he need me too.”

Don't let my summarization fool you. This book isn't about Ana finding out about her past. This isn't an adventure novel set in a fantasy/utopian landscape. This isn't a book that reflects on how religion and blind-faith might lead those astray or how people might abuse religions. Oh hell no. Those are interesting concepts that no book aimed at teenage girls should tread. Instead this book is a full on romance novel.

Is it insta-love? Why yes. My mortal enemy has once again infiltrated a YA novel and plagued all of it's pages. As soon as Ana steps out of her cottage to being her 'big adventure' she bumps into him and makes gooey quotes such as, "Thanks to Sam, I was immortal.” But do they shove their tongues down their throats on page three? Strangely and thankfully no. By the time they get together we're drawing to the last third.

Does this make the romance any bit better? Heck no. It actually makes it more annoying, because while Ana and Sam aren't the hormonal We-Need-To-Shove-Our-Sexual-Genitalia-Together-Like-Yesterday type of couple (who try to fool the audience that they're truly in love when in fact it's obviously just their pants talking), their relationship is so awkward and strained. You know damn well they'll get together, but they take a long ass time to finally get there. I understand why the author might have wanted to avoid making the relationship sudden, therefore took the slow-burning route. And you know what? I respect that line of thinking. I encourage it. But by god you don't make it as obvious as my nose that they're going to get together from page one and expect me not to be bashing my head against the wall when they FINALLY admit it to themselves.

That is why authors need to time their stories. They need to make sure that it starts of subtly and goes from there. That's how you do a slow burner. You don't just dive into "I like him" and hold off for what feels like a century.

But if you insist on going down that road, fine. Do whatever you want. Just don't make the romance you're focal point of the entire novel. Because it's freaking boring. And it's not like you didn't have something interesting going on! Whenever Ana searched for clues on her past or whenever she shone a light on Heart's people/costumes/religions it was pretty damn interesting.

“Breathing in the scent of his hair, I realized I'd needed him my whole life, before we even met. First, his music and the way he taught me through books and recordings. Then, he saved my life and refused to abandon me no matter how much I deserved it.”




I wouldn't mind, but Sam is a pretty nice guy. Sure, I do find it highly skeptical that Ana meet's a young, handsome boy who just so happens to be her musical idol and just so happens to be going to Heart too, but he's the type I've always fallen for; sweet, knows how to hold his ground, in-touch with his emotional side but not to the point that he's a wimp. All in all he was a solid character.

Unlike our main protagonist Ana.
“Before I had a chance to feel too sorry for myself, I turned toward the front of the cabin and found the bookcases carved right into the wall. Hundreds of leather-bound volumes rested in dim alcoves. I had no idea what stories or information they held. It didn’t matter. I wanted to absorb anything they had to say.
[...] 'Do you like to read?'
How did he know? Did he guess?"

He saw you staring at the bookshelf like a twit. That’s how he fucking knew you liked to read. Seriously this girl is such a nitwit it's embarrassing. She's like a deer staring into headlights -- all scared and naïve. She can't do anything without the help of Sam, and then instead of learning from him or learning from her mistakes she then complains about her uselessness. I kid you not the only questions she asks Sam is about music. Sin sin! Whatever he does she just pulls a blind eye too it. At some point she hears him leaving the house and she's all, "Oh, Sam is sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night. I wonder why? Oh well. It’s probably nothing.”

Geez woman. For someone who self-proclaims that you're curious, you don't exactly act like you're curious about anything.

Judging from the ending I do have a feeling that Ana does grow less naïve and does grow a vagina in the next book, however in Incarnate she's insufferably dumb. Of course you could make the argument that she can't help herself since she was stuck in the middle of nowhere for most of her life, but on the other hand she could have easily learned throughout the novel to make it less painful for the reader.

Like I've mentioned before I feel as thought Jodi Meadows is much better suited to describe battle scenes and chase scenes as her writing does have that action-based choppiness mixed in with nice prose. But as you might have already noticed from those quotes above she can get quite cheesy in her line delivery. And since this only has a few lively scenes and the rest of the novel has to rely on Ana's emotions and her chemistry with Sam... yeah. This is all types of French cheese. It was the dialogue that was the most painful in my opinion.
“ 'I regret I didn't wear a jacket, or I'd give it to you.'
'I still have my wings. It wouldn't fit.'
'I'd carry them for you.'
'They're attached to the dress. It was the only way I could get them to stay."
He squeezed my hand, tone mischievous. 'In that case, I'd be especially happy to carry the wings.'
'It wouldn't be the first time I've seen you without clothes."
'Sam!' ”

Aaaaaaah awkward banter is so damn awkward. *cringe*

But damn I'd be a liar if I didn't say I adored the Canadian-esque setting. By god it was so refreshing to finally read a dystopian/utopian with snow instead of reading about the dessert or a city. It does give the book an unique personality that does stand out in the over-saturated market it has been pulled into.

Honestly? It's a decent book. I'm definitely grateful that I bought it without fully understanding what it's about, because if I had read the synopsis I would have been hyped to the moon only to be let down. For what it is it's a interesting book with a likable cast of secondary characters, great setting, and filled with original and creative ideas. I only wish it was executed with more grace. I'm still deciding on whether or not I'll give the next two books a try, but it seems unlikely that I'll buy it. I think I'd be better off loaning it from someone or from the library.

It you're looking for a relatively quite YA book that has a chunk load of romance and cheese but done with a bit of class, then I suppose this book is for you. Thank you for reading and I'll see you next time (hopefully).
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews568 followers
November 16, 2011
For all the hype and publicity that publishers and bloggers have thrown behind the dystopian YA craze that I'm convinced never really happened, few books released during this period exceeded expectations, or even met them. Many had strong initial premises that quickly fell apart or began to rely on well worn tropes to keep momentum. With Jodi Meadows's debut, the first in a planned trilogy, we are given a glimpse into a slightly different world, a utopia, with another promising premise. Does she beat the curse? Yes and no.

For much of the book, Meadows falls foul of the exposition-dump method of storytelling, especially in the beginning where we are given a quick soap-opera style recap of proceedings before being thrown into the action. Much of the information we receive about the world and the reincarnation element comes from this method, and the lack of solid development becomes grating very quickly. The intriguing premise is given several interesting moments but never enough to feel like a fully constructed concept that stands up to scrutiny. There is plenty of room given for further explanation in the sequels but this feels more frustrating than anything else. For example, since one million souls are reborn over and over again, and it's established very early on that the vast majority, if not all of the people Ana interacts with know each other from many lifetimes, yet issues of possible incest are never explained. What happens if your mother in one lifetime is your lover in another? Each soul can born male or female in different lifetimes but there is a moment where it is insinuated that they are always born heterosexual. One couple are revealed to have been lovers in each of their lifetimes but it is also mentioned that they couldn't bare it if they were born of the same gender and would kill themselves to be reborn the appropriate way. The couple in question are revealed to both be women but one of the characters said their love overcame this, which is all well and good but I found the idea that one million souls are continually born straight a little hard to believe. This may not be the case and may just be an awkwardly worded section that needs correcting, since this is from the ARC, but several points like this emphasised the occasionally sloppy world-building. Like many hyped books of the past few months, the world of “Incarnate” rests on a singular premise rather than a fully developed set of rules. While there are strengths to this world and attention is given to a few key areas, one never fully gauges why this world is governed in the way it is, or the impact a small pool of constant reincarnations has on a society, or how a sudden drastic change to this system – the birth of a new soul, Ana – impacts their beliefs. A god of this world is mentioned occasionally but once again, to no real impact.

The summary of the book promises something more akin to a journey of self-discovery, yet this is mostly shoved aside in favour of the romantic element. Although I appreciated the romance getting at least some level of development beyond instantaneous true love, it does follow a very stock pattern, with the romantic hero Sam serving as the typical super-sweet and understanding guy who somehow also manages to be a bit of a jerk, but in a way Ana can't resist. Ana herself would have been much more sympathetic if the book hadn't been told from her point-of-view. Since so much time is dedicated to her growing feelings for Sam, we never fully understand her beyond the brief questions over her origin that are repeated several times throughout the story. While I can understand her passivity to a point, it becomes tiring so quickly. There's also a serious lack of a strong antagonist, with Li, Ana's vindictive mother, never acting as a true threat, seeming more like a de-clawed Lady Tremaine from Cinderella. The supporting cast is equally weak, which makes the story's final few chapters a real disappointment that felt more like a rushed ending and cut-off for the sequel than a true ending.

There are enjoyable moments throughout the book but overall it feels like “Incarnate” has no idea what sort of book it wants to be. There's a swirling stew of romance, fantasy, utopia, mystery and a little science-fiction that becomes something of an indistinguishable mush. In many ways, it feels like a first draft, one with huge potential but also in dire need of some tightening up. If you're looking for a romance, you could do a lot worse than “Incarnate”, which at least seems to have genuine affection for its romantic pairing, but the lack of substance beyond the pairing and the resulting barrage of questions I had after finishing the book force me to knock a star off the rating.


“Incarnate” will be released on 31st January 2012. I received my ARC from NetGalley.com.
Profile Image for Soumi.
Author 1 book379 followers
January 19, 2012
There's always the option of deciding for yourself who you are and what you'll become.
Do you believe in Reincarnation? I do. This is the first reason why I chose this book. Of course the cover is Epic, most beautiful cover I have ever seen. The complete theme of reincarnation of souls was innovative and refreshing. This book is definitely a page turner.

A Vague Indication

The story was set in a dystopian world where souls reincarnate million times, each time in a new body. The body may change but the soul doesn’t. The night Ciana died the soul temple went dark. After few years Li gave birth to a daughter, Ana. Everyone thought Ciana has returned, but this soul was different, never been born before, a Newsoul. Ana replaced Ciana. Being a new soul Ana’s life had been tougher than any one, her own mother was ashamed of her, hated her, and called her a Nosoul. Incarnate is the quest of Ana to find the answers behind her birth.

The Love Birds

As for the characters, I am confused with Ana, I really am. Sometime she was brave as hell, strong as a steal, and sometime she acted dumb, fragile like a delicate butterfly, if you try to tight your grip on its wings, it will be broken. When she’s with Sam, she got all the courage to fight out anything, when she came face to face with Li, she became just like a small little kitten trying to hide itself from the paw of big cat. I can understand her situation. Living in isolation outside the range for 18 years of her life, she had been lonely, unlovable and friendless. When she escaped Li’s and set foot on Heart, where everyone has previous lives and lot of memories, she felt unconnected, detached to the society and surroundings. That’s why I wanted her to be braver, which she wasn't enough for a main protagonist. In the beginning she was not much enjoyable, I found her sorrowful, whimpering and complaining over and over about her life, but I liked how her character unfolds slowly with the progress of the story.
I'd give anything to make things right for you.”He caressed my cheek, my hair, my back. Everywhere he touched, the angry fires cooled. I wished he'd touch my heart. "But I can't. I can help, but the hard work is all up to you, If you don't feel real, no one else can do it for you. I promise, though you've always felt real to me.
Sam was a sweetheart, just my type of guy. Determine, modest, intriguing and passionate would be the perfect adjectives for Sam. He’s a sweet and gentle guy with a very kind soul. He did every possible thing to keep Ana safe and sound, didn’t care how much it would cost him to help Ana. He always stood by Ana in any situation which was very brave of him. Sometime I found him complicated, hard to understand what’s going on inside him, but that doesn’t matter much.
The writing was lyrical, each word was chosen very carefully and beautifully by the author. The writing style is very neat example of well organized literature.
The book was supposed to be based on Ana’s quest, instead the book was more focused on romance and the story derailed and lost its track in middle. At least 60% of this book consist description the time period Ana spend with Sam, learning music, those almost but “never happening” kisses and awkwardness between them.


The author must have added all these romantic tension just to enhance the romance, but truly speaking it did nothing other than slowing down the book. What could have done in 50 pages, the author took 150 pages to write down the same thing, what a waste of 100 pages. If it were only a romantic book I would have praise all that romantic moments, but as the book is dystopian, based on complete different subject, I felt the romantic drama was too much for this story.

Why I'm Rating it Four Stars

Other than that Incarnate was flawless. In the end all the answers to Ana’s question was solved in very satisfying way. We were given only one climax in the end and which was terrifying. The last few chapters of this book were breathtaking that you will be compelled to read and bite you nails off. I liked the idea of dragon attack and sylphs, a good mixture of modern technologies with mythological creatures and old belief of reincarnation. I liked Incarnate but I can’t say I’m in love with it. This book is pure 3.5 plus an extra 0.5 just only for the cover which is incredible.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews906 followers
April 5, 2016
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Range is full of souls being re-incarnated over and over and over again. How many souls are being re-incarnated? About a million. These souls live their lives as a man or even a woman. Imagine having the ability to learn all that you can again. The people write journals to document their life which is set in the library to keep safe where anyone can read it.

In comes Ana, an eighteen year old nosoul. She’s different because she wasn’t supposed to be born. Another soul named Ciana was supposed to be born instead but she dies, and Ana is born. No one knows why she is born, so on her eighteenth birthday she leaves her abusive mon’s Purple Rose Cottage to venture in the city of Heart. On her way to the city, she meets Sam (Dossam) who rescues her from drowning and from the clutches of a sylph.

Some people believe that the creator Janan has created all life. Including species such as: dragons, centaurs, phoenixes, unicorns, and giants.

The story started out really slow, Sam and Ana getting to know one another felt completely real. It didn’t feel rushed or fake like some novels do. Their relationship builds up and when they finally kiss..well let’s just say it was pretty steamy.

Can I just say how romantic it is having a re-dedication to your mate? After how many years of being together, one may still be in love? How pure and sweet love can be. I can’t help but wish that is real. I’m such a romantic at heart and in our modern times I’d like to think this is what we call “soulmates.” I wished Jodi added more of a plot in the beginning of the novel just because it felt broken in the middle considering Ana did not research more about her past as much as I would have liked to. She also turned a blind eye to who was trying to kill her. I mean if that was me, I’d be trying to figure out who was trying to kill me and what their motive was. I did love the ending though. The little twist wasn’t uprising but it was still very entertaining to read.

Needless to say, I loved this book for the endless romantic tone, action, and mystery. Jodi Meadows write beautifully and I can’t wait to read more.
Profile Image for Luke Taylor.
Author 15 books299 followers
September 30, 2018
So what is Incarnate?

An unforgettable journey through the fabric of human space and time? A sweet and sensitive storybook romance dramatically altered by earth-shattering events? A fresh and creative young adult sci-fi with eternal themes at its core?


Yes! Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows, book one of the Newsouls series, is difficult to review in some ways, but still so easy to compliment. The world is a fascinating one, reminding me of the mountainous heart of America, complete with an ancient temple and reincarnated beings. The premise is perfect, and it's impossible not to pull for Newsoul Ana, who truly feels alone in this harsh new world. She finds love in Sam, love and life and a reason to live and grow and learn and bloom and spread her wings. This world is not without challenges, dangers, and people who wish Ana harm, and the book soars through Ana and Sam's relationship to a breathlessly exciting ending. This book is a joy to read and to share, and I was honored to share it with the wonderful Sveta, and can't wait to read the rest of the series together :)
Profile Image for A.G. Howard.
Author 19 books8,705 followers
August 22, 2015
Why I gave Incarnate five stars:

1. Unique premise, deftly executed. There's no other story quite like this out there, at least none that I've found.

2. A heroine that actually has a character arc and a spine. Not only does she have to learn to trust and love (others and herself), but she has to find a way to forgive the very society who spurns her.

3. A sweet, realistic romance that blossoms and grows and takes a little work along the way.

Profile Image for Jude.
198 reviews637 followers
May 3, 2015
*Updated review based on my April 2015 re-read: I STILL LOVE IT PEOPLE. LOVE IT!!!!


*December 25, 2011 review:*
Incarnate blew me away. Seriously my favorite book in its genre so far. It was that good. And the cover is amazing! Now onto to the review:

I’m usually not a big fan of fantasy, since often times they tend to lack lack in depth, so the fact that Incarnate has the best female character I have read ever is astonishing. From the summary you know that Anna is different. She’s a Nosoul, and as such she was raised to believe she was not worthy of loving things or being loved and that she should be punished, constantly and cruelly.

As soon as she’s free of her guardian, some really really bad stuff happens and she nearly dies. But do not fear, Sam is here! Oh Sam! I want him under the Christmas tree! Bringing me cake on my Birthday! He’s just…. *swoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon* I mean, WOW, I don’t remember falling so hard for a character before x). ahem, back to the point. Sam takes care of her and he doesn’t mind that she’s a Nosoul, strange…

Sadly, not everyone agrees with Sam, and Ana is thrown into a world where people hate her and judge her for something she had no control over: her birth. I was so frustrated along with Ana, sad and angry. I understood everything, her bitterness and hurt, her want for love.

There’s also the lovely romance between Ana and Sam. Flawlessly Beautiful. As much as I would love to give some spoilers I’ll restrain myself. BUT I will give you this: I have read Chapter 21 and 22 at least 6 times today, and I just finished the book earlier.

Incarnate had the power to change my emotions in one line, incredible romance one minute and thrilling action the next.

Dragons, Burns, Dance, Music, Romance, Secrets and the constant uncertainty of whom to trust, along with the knowledge that the only way to survive is to believe in one’s self. Incarnate is a Book You Can’t Forget. Period.

I can’t wait to get my finished copy! Amazing with Major Capital A :D a HUGE Thanks to Netgally for the opportunity to read this!
Profile Image for Hannah Cassie.
395 reviews144 followers
May 27, 2016
MORE? MORE! @ P.S. I love that book!

THE WORLD: Okay so the world in this series in unique. Basically you have souls who have been around since day one and they just incarnate with every birth. Therefore, people are intelligent and have hundreds of years worth of memories. But one day one of these souls dies and does not incarnate anymore. Instead a new soul is born. And here the story takes off...

CHARACTERS: So the new soul is called Ana. A girl raised by one of old souls in isolation because of the shame being the new soul. All her life she was treated like abomination and upon 18 years old birthday Ana leaves her "home" and goes off to find Heart, a city where most old souls live. On her way she meets this old soul Sam who takes interest in Ana. So together they got to Heart where many things happen. Now, I liked Ana. She is naive and sometimes made me want to punch her but other than that she was okay. Sam, on the other hand. I hate Sam. And I cannot really explain why. He is just extremely annoying I guess.

LOVE: Obviously Ana and Sam. A forbidden love cliche. Really really not interested in their romance.

PLUS: The plot itself, I like the concept of reincarnation and with what happened at the end of the book...I really want to read more.Another plus was that there are dragons and sylph.

MINUS: Old souls same faults. The characters and well everybody besides Ana are extremely stereotypical in this book and lately I really cannot deal with stereotypes.

OVERALL: I really want to read the next book but I am being careful when it comes to expectations. It can either get really cool or really bad.

MORE? MORE! @ P.S. I love that book!
Profile Image for tonya..
227 reviews243 followers
January 9, 2012
It's rare for me to become sucked into a book immediately. Typically I need time to feel comfortable with the narrator's voice and get my bearings within the story's world--but not so with Incarnate. I was immersed from the very first page, intrigued with a storyline I'd only glimpsed on the very surface, and immediately sympathetic to Ana.

In a world populated only by Reincarnates--those who have died and been reborn since the beginning of time--Ana is a nosoul. A newsoul. From birth she has been shunned by society, banished with her mother to a cottage on the outskirts of Heart. She is abused, neglected and starved by her vindictive mother, who believes Ana's birth replaced another's--Ciana's--rebirth.

For eighteen years Ana lived under the iron first of her mother Li, before setting out on her own to find the truth of her origins in the great city of Heart. Along the way she meets Sam, who becomes her friend and ally as she navigates a society that resents and fears her, and an enemy that wants her dead.

Incarnate is a beautifully crafted and layered story. It has everything: fantasy elements (dragons, sylphs, gods who inhabit stones), futuristic elements (gadgets, guns, etc), action, adventure, romance (oh god. so good.), religious undertones (without becoming preachy), murder, mayhem, conspiracies... I could go on and on. It is exciting and engaging, heartrending and swoony, and everything at once without feeling like one of those cluttered, everything but the kitchen sink plots.

The world building is fantasic; smooth, organic, without the use of clunky infodumps or lengthy passages of exposition. It is well thought out, well-written and easy to understand. The societal structure is one I find myself still thinking about and questioning. I cannot wait to learn more in the sequel.

The love story. Sam. Holy swoon alert. It is not one of those love at first sight romances with electric shocks and long drawn out stares. No, this was a bond that developed through the course of the story. A friendship that blossomed gradually, realistically until... god. The first time they kiss, you guys? I can't. It might have been the hottest kissing scene I've ever read. And it gets better from there. I was a giddy, swoony, pearl clutching mess.

Sam as a character is as three dimensional as it gets. Meadows allowed him to be human, allowed him to be flawed and that made him infinitely more likable than many YA guys. He was scared in some instances, he was weak and depended on Ana to be strong. And she was. Ana is a kick ass heroine who doesn't take anyone's word for anything, who questions things and takes steps--even when they're dangerous, even when they're hard--to find the answers. And she does it alone in most instances.

A truly amazing story, one of the best I've read in a long while. I am almost kicking myself for reading it early as I know I'll be waiting that much longer for the sequel.

Incarnate is released January 31st and I'd encourage everyone to pick it up.
Profile Image for Francina Simone.
Author 8 books2,098 followers
April 30, 2017
World building was a little off for me and sometimes the plot slowed waaay down during times of action...but other than that cool book!
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