I've been eying Incarnate for a while now. With a cover like that how could you not? It's all pretty and jewel toned and doesn't have a dress on it (though the close up face shot is getting up there with the dresses). It just got lost in the shuffle somehow. I never really forgot about it but there were more immediate concerns that I focused on.
Then I found out that the release party for Asunder was going to be at my work. It got moved up the list, quickly.
I was surprised by Incarnate. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, something a little more dystopian, I think. But it's not that. It's completely different. It reminded me more of Under the Never Sky than something like Divergent. I was unprepared for the level of mythology that it had. These were, by no means, unpleasant surprises but they were surprises.
Ana took some getting used to for me. There was something about the beginning of the book that I struggled with. I think it was that I couldn't really tell what kind of setting I was going into. There was so much thrown at me all at one. Jodi Meadows just dove right in and it took me a bit to orient myself. Even by the end I couldn't quite reconcile the technology and the dragons and the temple and everything. It was jarring and so, admittedly, I began to ignore it.
Anyway, Ana. Her naivete in the beginning took me a couple of pages and then her inherent distrust took me another little while. I felt like I took a large chunk of the book trying to figure her out. Instead of being disturbed by this I am impressed by how much she blossoms by the end of the book. It's not a sudden thing that jolted me out of anything. She opens up a little at a time and each little burst took me a little by surprise. And by the end I loved how loyal and fierce she was. She's willing to admit that she doesn't know almost anything in comparison to the others and that's a major sore spot. It should be. She is everything that a character in her position should be.
At first her distrust of Sam and his feelings irritated me. Not because I didn't understand them, they made sense but because I wanted them together! It took me a little bit to figure out that that was why I was so grumpy about it but when I did I was muttering angry things at Jodi Meadows. Until the masquerade. Hot damn the masquerade.
And Sam. What I love about Sam is that he was always changing throughout the book. In almost every chapter we learned something new about it. When we first meet him he has no idea how to handle Ana and it shows. He laughs and doesn't realize she's offended and they argue and it's generally a big to-do. But then he buries all of his own bodies and he's Dossam. He's always trying to learn a new skill. And after 5,000 years he's horrendously insecure and that's charming. I loved really getting the chance to see him broken after the dragon attack. Part of me wishes that could have been a little more in-depth but the rest of me thinks that since we're in Ana's head and she can't fully understand it than neither can we.
And I think the overwhelming set-up of the world is aided by being in the head of Ana, who doesn't know how any of it works. I was curious about how all of these factors of their world came together and the logistics and Ana is too and it works really well. It does a fantastic job of highlighting just how much Li as mistreated Ana and left her uneducated.
Speaking of Li i think she had a great page presence and would have liked to see more of her understated menace once she got back to heart. However I think Jodi Meadows has set up enough other things to let it go. But Li was a well done villain.
Jodi Meadows does such a fantastic job threading this undercurrent of uneasiness through out the entire book. Everything about the temple freaks me out a little and did before she even went inside. The heartbeat in the walls thing (is very Tell-tale Heart) and really creeps me out. But every time the temple or Janan is mentioned I start to feel uneasy.
Which leads me to the mythology set up in this book. I really wish there had been a little more to this. she does such a brilliant job of making it this looming sort of threat. I have no idea what kind of being Janan is but apparently he can be poisoned. Which I find fascinating. But the voice in the temple telling Ana that she's a mistake is just terrible (in a good way?). I hate this religion already but I really want to know more. It's all so convenient and I'm a little bit baffled that no one but Ana sees that (but then again, we're in Ana's head).
This book was heavily exposition. She kept the action moving fine but then there scenes of just world building dumping would happen and I would have a hard time reconciling some of the facts while trying to keep up with what was happening. Once the story really took full swing I ripped through the book. I'm really looking forward the reading Asunder since the exposition should be all out of the way now.
But overall, I give Incarnate a rating of: Epic.
I really can't wait to see how she builds on what she's set up in this one. There are so many elements in play it will definitely be interesting. Especially to see how the hostility toward Ana grows with the deaths after Templedark.
What did you ducks think?
Next I am lucky enough to have an ARC of Asunder so I am spoiled and don't have to wait. So, there's that. I do still have a Looking For Alaska post coming, I promise. I will see you all later!