Katherine Tegen Books
Available January 29th
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when
many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for
the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable
changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward
her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for
herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she
wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but
even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to
overcome a lifetime of rejection.
In this second book in the
Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will
have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful.
Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed
depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating
Asunder reintroduces us to a world that left us a tiny bit confused after the concluding chapters of Incarnate, questions abounding as to the relationship between the temple, the creation of newsouls, and the true death of the darksouls to make us a touch wary when reaching for this second installment. We can't help but wonder if this sequel will follow the formula of so many sequels, simply setting us up for the next book without answering any of our many and varied questions, but luckily for us Ms. Meadows satisfies our curiosity in thrilling fashion. Though the opening chapters with Ana and Sam are a touch slow as we struggle to remember the finer details Heart and the reincarnated souls who make it their home, the story quickly picks up once they return to the city, our protectiveness of Ana and our undisguised disgust for those who treat her so cruelly flaring to life and reestablishing the beautiful connection we formed in book one.
Ana is a character whom, at first glance, appears extraordinarily vulnerable and rather meek, her sheltered upbringing and the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother making us wonder if she'll ever overcome her inherent desire to belong and instead choose to embrace all that makes her gloriously different. While it takes her a good portion of Asunder to weld a bit of steel to her vertebrae–her natural passivity and desire to refrain from making waves keeping her backbone distressingly pliable for the first half of the book–she does finally find her voice both with regard to the discrimination she faces on a daily basis as well as her relationship with Sam, instilling in us a deep sense of pride when she finally refuses to be disregarded simply for being new.
Sam is a key figure in this story in terms of our connection to Ana's journey overall, not because he's incredibly sweet and supportive throughout, but rather because he's often the opposite (though not in a malicious way), pushing us away from him and toward Ana until her pain and loneliness are our burdens to bear as well as hers. For as much as Sam tells Ana “I love you” and expresses a willingness to wait for her to figure out what those three little words truly mean before she's able to say them back (something we applaud her for), we can't help but wonder if it's not Ana, but in fact Sam himself, who needs to spend some time pondering the definition of love. Sam's love at times seems conditional–he speaks out in her defense when she's verbally and physically attacked and offers safety and comfort when she needs it, however, when those who have known him longest whisper in his ear, he's quick to reevaluate his entire relationship and often hurts Ana by discounting her feelings as those of someone who's too young to know better.
The tension between them keeps us deliciously on edge, providing just enough angst to ensure we're emotionally involved without taking it so far that we start to develop a nervous tick wondering if they're going to be hot or cold when they're together next. The romantic tension is nicely supported by the anticipatory tension stemming from our unanswered questions about Ana and newsouls in general, and we're finally given much of the information we've been craving since learning of Ana's uniqueness. While there is certainly more to learn by the time we reach the last page, we're inordinately grateful for what we do know, and eagerly look forward to what Ana's fresh perspective will bring to a world gone static thanks to five millenia of monotony.