Friday, December 28, 2012

INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows

This review will be as objective as possible, but long story short, I disliked it. If Incarnate hadn't gotten so much marketing and hype, I probably wouldn't have been so underwhelmed, but it has some basic issues. It's a fascinating premise, though.

My favorite part of Incarnate was the exploration of how humans would behave and live their lives if they could redo their lives over and over indefinitely. Who would they love, and for how long? What would they do with their time? How quickly would one get bored, and what would one do after that? The contrast between the "normal" humans and Ana, who is living her life for the first time, was very intriguing.

As a science fiction novel, I was disappointed by small but frequent holes in the world-building. I had tons of questions about everything throughout the novel, some of which were answered, some of which were not, and there didn't seem to be a good reason for us NOT to know the answer (it's the beginning of a trilogy, but still, can we get some basics out of the way?). It succeeded much more as a romance novel than it did as a sci-fi or a utopian novel that is hiding some dystopian elements. Ana and Sam's romance progressed believably and was interesting and not too much insta-love. However, I need more to my books than just romance (I'm not a reader of the romance genre), so that was part of why this book didn't work for me, personally. But I know there's a lot of readers out there who will appreciate the romance more than me.

My biggest criticism of Incarnate is its absolute black and white attitude toward religious people/people with faith in a higher power. All of the characters in the book with any faith in a higher power were either hypocritical jerks or psychopaths or sociopaths. I know that those people exist in the real world, and should be in fiction, too, but there was no other character who was both religious and kind and/or reasonable and/or anything positive. And that seems pretty ridiculous and narrow-minded. Ana's attitude toward people of faith is flippant and "Well, if they want to be idiots, that's okay." She has zero respect for them. That's a protagonist type that I have serious problems relating to or rooting for.

The point of view was very difficult for me to read. It's hard to read from the perspective of someone who hates herself, because we can't see the good in her. I would have loved to read the book from Sam's perspective, because he is able to see Ana's issues but also see all of the good things about her (which there clearly are, because he loves her, and we can see some of it while in her POV, it's just REALLY HARD). Ana has been abused, neglected, and traumatized, so her issues are understandable and horrible, but when everything she thinks and how she behaves revolves around how much she hates herself, it's hard to see the good things. Also, if it was in Sam's POV, i think it would help with some of the world-building confusion, becase there's a lot of stuff that the characters know, but Ana doesn't tell us for a while not because of plot reasons, just because she has too much else to think about and agonize over, whereas I think Sam would be able to answer some of those questions earlier on more easily.

I gave Incarnate three out of five stars.


Jasmine Stairs said...

What? You want a realistic depiction of people of faith? We're writing FANTASY, not LUNACY!

Bahnree said...


Jasmine Stairs said...