Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Incarnate Trilogy

Go To

The Incarnate Trilogy is a series of books by Jodi Meadows.

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.

Ana’s 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 suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. However, she also meets Sam, a young man who believes her soul has worth—but can he love her knowing Ana may only live once?

The second book, Asunder, was released in 2013, with a novella, Phoenix Overture, following soon after. The final book, Infinite, was released in 2014.

Not to be confused with the comic Incarnate.

These books contain examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Li to Ana - partly because she genuinely fears Ana to be a bad omen, partly because the vanished soul Ana replaced was a friend of hers, but mostly because Li is vicious by nature.
    • Sam's original father in Phoenix Overture.
  • Abusive Precursors: Their desire for immortality led them to allow the murder of countless newsouls.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: Justified. The phoenixes are godlike but lose their immortality when they take a life. They prefer not to risk it, only intervening when they have no other choice.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted with the sylph, but most people think they play it straight.
  • Big Bad: Janan is the main villain of the story, who is revealed to have given the people of Range the ability to reincarnate in exchange for allowing him to devour newsouls.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The temple of Janan recalls an M. C. Escher drawing, with pure white shadowless walls, holes that draw gravity upward, and stairs that look like they move up but really move down.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Ana is hurt when Sam compares her relatively short lifespan to a butterfly's, but she embraces the symbol anyway by dressing as a butterfly for the masquerade.
  • Celeb Crush: Ana had one on Sam long before they met, from listening to his music.
  • The Chosen One: The sylph believe Ana is the key to their redemption.
  • The Cutie: Serit is the nicest and most innocent character in the books.
  • Dance of Romance: Ana and Sam at the masquerade.
  • Deal with the Devil: In Asunder, it's revealed that the people made a deal with Janan to let him feast on newsouls in exchange for reincarnating them after death.
  • Death Is Cheap: The people of Range constantly reincarnate, so death means nothing to them. Sam even jokingly reproaches Stef for the hard work he put in cleaning one of Stef's corpses out of a broken machine. This eventually revealed to be Janan's doing. Subverted by the end of the series, when everyone is given a last chance to reincarnate, after which they will permanently die.
  • The Dragon: Meuric and later Deborl are Janan's main collaborators.
  • Duet Bonding: Sam teaches Ana to play the piano and compose her own music, which becomes a deep bond between them; he even grants her a symbolic immortality by writing a waltz for her.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The sylph can best be described as shadows that burn.
  • Enemy Mine: Humans and dragons grudgingly agree to help each other stop Janan.
  • The Exile: Ana at the end of Asunder.
  • Fantastic Racism: Toward Ana because she is a newsoul. Since arriving in Heart, Ana has been denied citizenship, dehumanized, harassed, and assaulted by people who view her very existence as an abomination. The newsoul children born after her are also targets of prejudice and violence.
  • For Science!: Menehen's motivation.
  • Friends with Benefits: Cris and Stef both have a history of this with Sam, somewhat to Ana's dismay.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Stef.
  • Genre Blending: Fighting dragons with laser pistols and running a supernaturally built city with automatic maintenance systems.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sam had one after he returned home to find all his instruments destroyed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cris in Asunder.
  • Irony: The oldsouls despise Ana and the other newsouls because they believe a newsoul is unnatural and wrongfully replaces an innocent oldsoul. It's actually the other way around: the oldsouls have been robbing the newsouls of a chance to live by way of a Deal with the Devil.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Janan made the inhabitants of Range forget that they had made a Deal with the Devil to obtain immortality. Each time they reincarnated, they were actually feeding a newsoul to Janan in exchange for their own life.
  • Light Is Not Good: Janan's temple shines brightly and only goes dark when he's been weakened.
  • Mad Scientist: Ana's absent father Menehem. It was his experiment in trying to "poison" Janan that caused Ana to be born in the first place.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Ana and Sam, which some fellow citizens (including Li) find quite disturbing. Ana herself is sometimes upset by what she perceives as condescension on Sam's part, while he is bewildered by the "impulsive" reactions of her young mind.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sam in Asunder, after realizing exactly how reincarnation was begun: If not for a certain failed experiment, his beloved Ana would have been eaten by Janan along with all the other newsouls.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Queer relationships are commonplace and unremarkable. Orientation isn't really an issue when you and your lovers have lived as both male and female dozens of times. Sam does mention a couple that used to dislike being born as the same sex, but they adjusted, and are happily together as women at the time of the novel. Also, Stef and Cris have both loved Sam over many lifetimes regardless of their bodies.
  • Quest for Identity: Ana wants to find out where she came from.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Everyone except Ana. And the baby newsouls in Asunder.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sine.
  • Reincarnation: Everyone is reincarnated after death, but Ana is new.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Infinite ends with Ana and Sam meeting again many years later.
  • Rescue Romance: Combined with Florence Nightingale Effect when Sam rescues Ana from a sylph and nurses her back to health. She later repays the favor by helping him with PTSD after a dragon attack.
  • Running Gag:
    • Serit coming up with new insect based nicknames for Ana.
    • Sam insisting that not all music is song because songs have words.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ana is touchingly grateful when Sam gives her a jar of honey, after Li having punished her for eating it as a child.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Deborl becomes speaker of the council.
  • Was Once a Man: The sylph are humans who were cursed by the phoenixes.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: This is explored throughout the books, and Ana ultimately decides that everyone will reincarnate only once, to make room for the newsouls.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Lidea lives in constant fear that someone will hurt or kill her newsoul son. Then she learns that her partner actually hates newsouls and betrayed her friends to Deborl.
    • The homes of five pregnant women were bombed because their children might be newsouls. Two of the women died and one miscarried.