Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Joint Book Review: Shatter Me and Incarnate

After reading--and really enjoying--Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi I moved on to Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I was suprised and pleased to find that they shared some interesting ideas and themes.

Here are thier synopsis from Goodreads:

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel."

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)"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."

Wow. Don't you just want to go devour these books and then horde them forever?

If those enticing bits are too much for you then I say shoo! Go forth! Read read read!

Are you still here? Did you just get back from reading these two yummy nuggets of awesome? Nice...

The main thing that inspired me to write this joint book review (comparison? analysis?) was the heroines: Juliette and Ana. I would describe them both as isolated, unprecidented, abused, powerful and underestimated. They are in the position of being the first of thier kind and are therefore constantly in danger. Juliette can kill with a touch. Ana is the first new soul in 5,000 years. They have many enemies and no friends. But that is about to change...

The boys *Victorian swoon* The BOYS! Just by virtue of allying with these girls alone I would love them. They're not the bad boy or the unattainable guy or the clown or the super bad ass. What I loved so much about them is that they weren't cookie cutter but they were the smart-girl choice. Things they had in common: mature, passionate, responsible, sacrificing and not threatened by strong women. It takes a special guy to break down the walls that Juliette and Ana have built around themselves and these guys were perfect for the job. Although I love me a good love triangle I really appreciated the abscence of one in these novels. As a reader I was able to focus on one couple, I knew where to put my energy and hopes. The world outside the romance was where I needed to put my anxiety and I found that refreshing.

Next on the roster are the worlds that Mafi and Meadows created. Shatter Me is set in a dystopian future shrouded in mystery. A new goverment has taken over and wants to effectively destroy the past. Incarnate takes place in fantasy world that resembles our own in minor ways but is completely original in major ways. It is baffling to think about a group of people who can essentially live forever (of course they have to body hop, but for immortality? psh whatevs) and what that would mean culturally and socially. Juliette lives among chaos and drastic change. Ana brings the chaos and drastic change. Seeing as this is science fiction compared to fantasy these books stayed true to thier genres. Some cool connections my brain made (because my brain never concentrates for long, too much of a free spirit that one) involved some all time scy fy and fantasy favorites. Shatter Me definetly has some X-Men elements that I really look forward to being explored in further novels. On the other hand Incarnate reminded me of Lord of the Rings with modern elements. Mostly because of dragons but also because of sylph eggs and a magic city that came out of nowhere. How did Heart get there??? Yet again I must wait for the sequels. Le sigh.

The point of this joint review isn't meant to pick a winner, it isn't a contest. However I am dying to talk about the strong elements that aren't necessarily shared by both novels.

1. Steamy Romance. Boy does Shatter Me have this in spades! I was all blushy and had to resist the urge to fan myself and kept thinking "this is so much hotter than most YA...hooray!" Don't get me wrong Incarnate gets nice and steamy but its not as prominent. Think about it: Juliette hasn't been touched/held/cherished her whole life. And when she gets a taste of that, well...*gives in and fans herself*

2. Character Building. For me Incarnate hits this out of the park and its all because of the complexity of souls and Sam. This beautiful boy has lived for thousands of years, lived and died, as a man, as a woman, had every job imaginable. He was like this huge onion (cake? parfait?) and I couldn't go through his layers fast enough. And yes he made me tearing up (Megan: making onion analogies work since This Sentence).

3. World Building. Both books were successful but for very different reasons. Incarnate benefited from being a fantasy which requires a good deal of background and doesn't require a super fast pace. I was fascinated by the culture and religion and history that Meadows dreamed up. Shatter Me on the other hand needed to be action packed and able to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I was totally satisfied by Mafi's dystopian future but have a ton of questions that I trust will be answered in time.

In conclusion: I love how complex characters, original worlds and satisfying romances are being written for YA more and more. Shatter Me and Incarnate are amazing debut novels that give you substance and fun and an unquenchable thirst for more.


  1. Hi! Stopping by from YALitChat. I read Shatter Me and am looking forward to the sequel. I still have to read Incarnate. So many books!

    1. Thanks for stopping by :D

      So many books indeed! I put off reading both of these for awhile and am so happy I finally got to it.

      (Admission: Goodreads is my addiction! Its like literary candy-crack)

  2. My TBR list is going to be a mile long! I'll have to check to see if the local library carries either of these.

    And, I gotta admit, I prefer a book sans a love triangle, so these two sound like good choices for me. Sometimes a goofy love triangle makes me want to throw the book out of the window.

    1. Nickie! I live in a pretty small town and I got both of these from the library so I hope you will be set.

      Oh, love triangles. How I love thee and how I hate thee. I think what really did it for me was Twilight. The really drawn out love triangles you know? It just makes you want to punch people!

      Examples of love triangles that work: Hunger Games, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Mortal Instruments (Jace/Clary/Simon)

      I think the reason those work is because one person is so obviously not right that it doesn't get under your skin. Also Jacob was immature and annoying LOL