Friday, January 25, 2013

Me on Asunder

Title: Asunder
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Ana has always been the only one. 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 her, see her as a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving strangely around her, when people turn violent, Ana must learn how to stand up for herself as well as those who cannot. More than anything, she wants to be a part of Heart, to live and love and be considered an equal to those who've lived for so long, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, Ana's lifetime of rejection seems impossible to overcome. It's time for Ana to discover the truth behind reincarnation, and time for her to make her young life meaningful.

Asunder is at times sweet and whisper-soft but also darkly mysterious and utterly heartbreaking. It took nothing to fall back in love with this world first discovered in Incarnate, this combination of rustic old world living and the simplicity in life brought on by futuristic devices and the retained knowledge of five thousand years of lifetimes. If Incarnate was about discovery, then Asunder is what comes next. This is so much more, this is an exploration of life and death, of what it means to be new in an ancient world.

The people of Heart are now faced with something they never imagined would occur. Almost eighty souls disappeared the night the temple went dark, souls that will not be returning. The souls that will, however, will be newsouls. The finality of death is real now. Previously, there was an impossibility of new life, but no longer. And there are those who resist, who see the newsouls as invaders, as dangerous and insidious as a disease. They don't want to know what it is to die after living forever.

The newsouls that will come, those like Ana, will know nothing of the world. They'll need to be taught and supported by others, not being able to contribute to society for a time. It seems, to me, like a metaphor of childhood and adolescence. The newsouls are the children, blind and clueless, and the oldsouls are the adults who must bear the burden of their education and care. But the oldsouls don't want the newsouls because they have nothing to contribute. And so the newsouls suffer before they're even born.

Ana still struggles to find her place in Heart. She was the first newsoul but she still sees herself as a nosoul, especially when confronted by those who see her as an omen of danger. But there are those who care for her, people like Sam and Stef. She needs Sam desperately, needs the support and the unflinching affection and love. It could border on dependency, their relationship, especially after a lifetime of disdain from a parent who refused to teach her or love her. But I don't think that's the case here because Ana wants to learn, to discover and change and live the life she deserves.

Her voice is wonderful, curious but confused and lost like a lonely little girl. Not necessarily lyrical or poetic, but honest and trying in her discoveries and uncovering of secrets. And so clear in her voice is the surprise and horror she feels when she uncovers the biggest secret of them all: the secret behind the reincarnation of the oldsouls.

Something big is coming, but what is it? Does it have to do with sylph? With Menehem's experiments? With Janan and what's lurking in the dark inside the temple? Over the course of the book the tension builds, and it builds, and it builds until an ending arrives that changes everything. Whatever comes next, wherever Ana goes in the third book, it will be greatly devoured.

(I received an advance copy by an author.)

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