Wednesday, February 29, 2012
by Avery Williams
Simon & Schuster
see the official book trailer here
The striking cover image of a beautiful girl with other-worldly blue eyes--whose image is repeated but fades each time will draw teen readers to this stunning new novel, the first in the Incarnation series. Seraphina Ames has been alive for 600 years ever since she was a girl in London in 1349 and attended a masquerade ball where she danced with a stunning stranger. He takes her outside to a London street and she sees that it is Cyrus, the apothecary's handsome son. They are accosted by street thugs who knife Seraphina, but Cyrus brings her back to life with a serum his father created that gives eternal life. Since then, every few years Seraphina must find another young body to inhabit. That means someone has to die--each time she takes another host, the young woman dies.
She's disgusted by what she has become--a murderer of young and beautiful girls and she doesn't love Cyrus anymore; he is controlling and cruel. She makes up her mind to die for real this time, but she needs to get away from Cyrus in order to do so. He would never allow her to die and leave him alone in the world. Imagine living in an abusive relationship; now imagine doing it for 600 years!
When Sera tries to save a teen girl from jumping to her death, she just happens upon a car crash victim. The girl is dying and before Sera knows it, she inhabits the girl's body--she just can't help herself. When she awakens, she is 16-year old Kailey Morgan, a young girl whose future looks bright.
Sera is horrified that she's still alive and doesn't know how to act--it's been a long time since she was ever 16. High school is like another civilization in itself. Kailey (Sera) finds fitting in with her friends and acting like a "normal" teen is a full-time job. Having caring parents and a brother who loves her is weird, too. That, and the neighbor boy who is ridiculously hot and obviously in love with Kailey is another "problem" that Sera soon finds appealing.
Sera hates to disappear on this family, but she knows she can't stay Kailey forever and Cyrus is surely looking for her by now. When a new substitute teacher appears at her school, Sera is in serious trouble. Just how long can she keep up the masquerade?
How long before Cyrus finds her?
This is an interesting first book in what is destined to be a compelling series. I wish the character of Sera had been a little more defined. It is hard to feel compassion for a body snatcher, but I think teens who feel compassion for vampires, werewolves, and zombies will like the Incarnates. I thought the book opening with a masquerade ball was genius since Sera, Cyrus, and the other Incarnates are masquerading the rest of their lives.
Highly recommended grades 7-up. No language, no sex although Cyrus and Sera are partners for life. Also, in order to inhabit a new body, the Incarnate must "kiss" the life out of the other person. This means Sera has to "kiss" girls, but it is not a romantic kiss.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.