Sunday, February 3, 2013


by Jodi Meadows
Read: January 30-31, 2013
Published: January, 29, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)
Source: Purchase
Category: Fantasy YA
Series: Incarnate book 2 

NOTE: Asunder is book 2 in a series, and my thoughts may contain spoilers for Incarnate
Ana has 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.

Many 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.

Ana 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 fantasy. (From Goodreads)

The set-up.
In Incarnate we were introduced to Ana, the first new soul to be born into a world where the same number of souls had been reincarnated over and over again for 5,000 years. When Ana was born, someone else did not come back. Despite the work Ana did throughout Incarnate to show the people of Heart that she is worthy of life and love, many are still fearful and confused about who she is and what her arrival means for their society. After almost 75 souls were lost at the end of Incarnate during Templedark, the people are even more hostile towards Ana. Asunder begins within this swirling emotion, as Ana seeks to find the truth about new and old souls, and how Janan is connected to it all. The more answers she finds, the more impossible everything seems, including her growing relationship with Sam.

I could feel the rising tension.
In Asunder Jodi Meadows artfully cultivates a mood of uncertainty and an ever mounting sense of urgency. Although I wouldn't call the second book in the Incarnate trilogy fast paced, there were so many intense emotions bubbling below the surface that the tension was palpable. I could sense Ana's unease about Janan and the temple. Her growing fears about what that means for herself and other newsouls. Desire and longing between Sam and Ana as they try to build a relationship, despite their differences and the external forces trying to pulling them apart. Distrust and anger from the surrounding community who want to blame Ana for everything. All of these emotions created an underlying feeling of urgency in Asunder

Asunder is a sensory experience. 
Meadows uses music and the natural world to build her story and personify many of the emotions in this book. Music is important to both Ana and Sam. They play and compose to express their moods and feelings, but also to shape and change them. There are several gorgeous scenes in Asunder that demonstrate the power of music in both Sam and Ana's lives - creating music with friends, Ana playing to pull Sam out of a painful moment, Sam gifting Ana an instrument of her own, to name a few. Music is also an important way that Sam and Ana connect to each other. In Asunder they are no longer just teacher and student, but through music have found a true companionship and way to relate to each other on a deeper level.

Asunder can be described through meteorology.
From downpours, freezing temperatures and snowstorms, to sunshine and crisp winter days, I sensed the mood of the story through the weather patterns. As summer turned to fall and then bled into winter, there is an increased urgency and helplessness in the story. But Asunder also has sun dappled afternoons and quiet mornings after snowfall that are moments of peace between Sam and Ana. 

Roses play an important role in this book as well, their beauty and fragility reminding both Ana and Sam of their pasts and uncertain futures. Ana is very much still alive and present in the world that she lives, but seasons change and nature is unpredictable, and Ana's life feels even less certain now. 

Sam and Ana make each other stronger. 
From their first meeting in Incarnate, I have adored Sam and Ana's relationship. Despite extreme differences in age and experience, they have cared for, related to and supported each other from the beginning. Even though they continue to face enormous obstacles,  it has always been clear to me how right Ana and Sam are together. In addition to their shared love of music, they make each other stronger. Denied love throughout childhood, Ana has learned from Sam what it means to love another. Sam has always avoided confrontation, and that has meant remaining uninvolved in politics and also relationships. But in Ana, Sam has finally found something worth fighting for. 

How Sam feels about Ana:
In the temple light, I caught his determination, and that strength he got from loving me. It made him brave.
How Ana feels about Sam:
Even in my imagination, I could feel him beneath me, bones and muscles and the solid presence of him. In my imagination, he lay there beneath me and never left.  
Sam and Ana confront their age gap.
I tend to think practically about book relationships, and I really appreciated that Sam and Ana were forced to confront their very real differences in Asunder. Sam is 5,000 years older than Ana, and has thousands of years of life experience. Ana is still discovering who she is and what she wants to become. But Sam can be dense at times, and Ana often sees things more clearly than he does. Their differences created some awkward and painful moments for them in Asunder, but those moments are also vital to their growth as a couple. 

Although Ana believes she is asunder, it is easy to relate to her. 
What I most connect to about this story is Ana's very human struggle to fit into her world. Her desire for love and purpose are things that every person wants. However, the more questions Ana asks, the more impossible answers she finds. For one, she and any other newsoul that is born is only alive because an old soul is not coming back. But that is only the start of the complications in this story, and all of it is a challenge to her already fragile relationship with Sam. But these difficult questions are also what make this series so relatable and human. And if Ana and Sam can love each other despite everything mounted against them, is anything really impossible? 

I'm not gonna lie, Janan freaks me out. 
I've really connected to the human story within this fantasy novel, but the hardest part of the series for me is Janan and the temple. Asunder answers a lot of questions about who and what Janan is; why souls are being reincarnated; what are newsouls; and where Ana fits into the puzzle, including how likely it is that she will reincarnate. Janan is at the Heart of everything, and this story would not be told without his presence. Even so, I have not really connected with the 'magical' parts of the book, which honestly still confuse me a bit. For me, the temple scenes always make me feel like I am entering a different story, where all the rules have changed. I am hoping that as more information is clarified about the temple in the third novel, I will find more connection to this part of the storyline. Perhaps it's just that I'm channeling Ana's unease about Janan.

Don't forget the sylph or Stef.
Sylph are featured heavily in Asunder, and the book answers some questions about what they are. Let's just say that I am very intrigued and eager to find out more. I also adore all of the side characters in this series, including loyal Sarit who makes honey and fills Ana in on town gossip, and Stef, who isn't afraid to say exactly what she's thinking (even if it comes across abrasively). We also meet Cris, the brilliant gardener who once tried to make roses blue. 

Last thoughts.
Asunder is a fantastic sequel. Jodi Meadows steadily builds tension, answers questions and increases the stakes, without sacrificing the integrity of her characters or the story she began in Incarnate. I also love that Asunder is a sensory experience. Through music and nature, Meadows increases the intensity and sets the mood of the story. At the end of Asunder, Ana's task is even more impossible, and her future with Sam is even more uncertain. But their relationship is stronger, as is my faith in what they can accomplish together. I certainly won't be betting against Ana.  

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low-Medium. No immediate danger, but a lot of anticipation about what is to come. 

Last week I attended the Asunder Book Launch and met Jodi Meadows, as well as Sam and Ana. Jodi answered questions about the Incarnate series, her road to publication and her thoughts on love triangles. Read my post HERE.


  1. Fantasy isn't always for me, and I'm still not sure about this series, but thanks for giving me a better idea of what it's all about!

    1. You do read a lot of contemporary fiction! I really like Sam and Ana's relationship and I found it to be realistic and relatable despite the fantasy elements. But I will admit that the 'magical' parts of this story weren't my favorite.

  2. I haven't yet started this series either, Lauren, but I know you and Asheley are fans so that definitely enhances my opinion:)

    1. I really love these books and I would be very interested to see your opinion of them! For sure let me know if you pick them up!

  3. OH MY GOSH. When I clicked on this post, my heart just started pounding away, and I read it twice. And I'm in tears now. You KNOW how much I loved Incarnate and re-reading it/listening to it last week only made that love grow, so I'm SO EXCITED to read this and see that we feel the same way about a few things. If you re-read Incarnate soon, be sure to talk to me about it.

    About Janan and the temple, we're on the same page - I'm still a bit confused myself, but I think Ana is too, so I feel okay with that for now. And I have LOVED the Sylph from the moment I met them in the forest in Range at the beginning of my first Incarnate read, before she met Sam, even though they're scary creatures! I just love them as creatures, along with all of the other lesser-used *things* JMeadows puts into this book - dragons, trolls, goblins, etc. I'm so excited that they will be featured a little more heavily in Asunder. I love the Sylphs and the eggs and all of that. YAYYY!!!

    This is so exciting, this blog post. AS IF I wasn't anticipating this book enough! I'm so excited to read Asunder soon.

    1. Oh Asheley, I cannot even express to you how much I KNOW that you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It is a truly fantastic sequel. I think you will be just as fascinated as I was by the sylph in this story. They are my favorite mythological element of this world. And Sam and Ana *sigh.* They are an incredibly unique couple. Their struggle to be together speaks to my heart. I also love their awkwardness at times. JUST YOU WAIT, my friend.

  4. I really enjoyed Asunder i found it to be a thousand times better and more engaging than Incarnate!
    Great Review
    Lily @lilysbookblog

    1. I agree that Asunder was a stronger book than Incarnate, but I loved them both!

  5. I can't even tell you how much I love the fact that she's developing a backbone. That is like my FAVORITE development in any book series ever. EVER.

    Irene(Search Engine Optimization Houston)


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