Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012
Genre: YA; Romance; Fantasy
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.
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?
My Thoughts and Reflection:
I first received this book (and it's sequel) from a former teacher of mine who had already read the books and was willing to pass them on. I've had it for a while and decided to pick it up a couple of days ago. Needless to say that it took me a while to get into it; I re-read the first chapter a few to times. I had a hard time grasping the main character and the story, but eventually I held on tight enough to proceed with the book.
The beginning of this book is a little rocky. The reader is first getting to know the defensive, insecure newsoul that is our protagonist Ana. She is actually like a lot of YA protagonists: utterly unextrodinary until some guy comes along and says that she is extraordinary. How disappointing. However, in this book because all of the souls have been reincarnated so many times, physical looks are not often described in the book. There is little talk about body images and appearances in general. That certainly was a unique aspect of this book, and it gave the reader more time to focus on what the characters were actually like instead of what they visually appeared to be.
The majority of the story is not centered around Ana searching for the reason why she is in the Range, it is focused on her often strained, awkward relationship with Sam. Not that it was a bad thing; they were cute and a little predictable but not vomit inducing. Their intimacy level was lower than a lot of YA books and that sets this book apart as well.
There is not exactly a clear antagonist throughout the story, more like several persons and ideas that overall make things harder for Ana. First her mother Li is certainly an ongoing enemy throughout the story. She and her followers do have their beliefs and story to why the treat Ana the way they do but it is not something that alters the ending all that much. Second is the council and their lead speaker. They seemed unnecacarilly concerned with Ana's life and habits while living in the city of Heart. They were innocent in their desire to protect their city but went overboard in their efforts to suppress Ana. I suppose the dragons and mysterious unexplained entity sylph were also antagonists in the story, but they never worked directly against Ana per say. I wish that there had been more explanation regarding both of these creatures. (On a side note, there were several other mythical creatures mentioned in the story as well, but never make a concrete appearance. It seems silly for the author to have made a point to include them and then not put them in the actual story at all).
Ana was a protagonist who developed over the story. She learned and adapted slowly to what was around her, although she remained naive, and childish through out the entire story. I was frustrated numerous times in the books by her lack of reaction to certain events when similar events had provoked emotion before. She was a wishy washy character, but I didn't hate reading about her.
Sam was just annoying. He was sweet and considerate only to be sly and decisive the next. While this is part of the development of the story I felt like I never got to know him as a person because he was always behind this mask.
The other side characters in the book varied in how fleshed out they were. The different levels added a diversity to the cast. The characters who were more frequent I knew more about, which is how it honestly should be in most books.
The ending was rushed and utterly confusing. The final explanation didn't make any sense and didn't fit with the story at all. It wasn't a cliffhanger ending, exactly. It felt like it ended in the middle of a chapter or something. *Sigh*
I was in no way impressed with Meadows writing style. It wasn't particularly descriptive, or flowery, or metaphorical. It was just writing, and that made this a boring book to read. The characters were just okay and left me with no desire to continue their story. Since I have a copy of the sequel, I will probably read it, but only because I crave more explanation after that poor ending.
Dust Jacket Ramblings:
Overall, I dislike this cover. The butterfly does reference the many times in the book that Ana compares herself to the delicate insect, but the butterfly mask doesn't relate to the story. If butterfly wings had been used as a costume on the model I might have felt better about the story, since that actually references a seen. I am generally not a fan of models on book covers and this is one example of why.