Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows


Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: young adult fantasy, adventure, romance, EPIC
Format/Source: ARC, provided by the author for fangirling and review
Status: Final book in Newsoul trilogy


Summary:
DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the
Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

Review:
It is very bittersweet that I now say farewell to the Newsoul trilogy. I'm a sap when it comes to series endings in general, but this one is more special than most for several reasons. 1. I have a really good actual friendship with Jodi. She's one of the first authors I really ever interacted with on a regular basis. 2. Incarnate was the first review I ever posted on the blog way back in December of 2012. The Newsoul trilogy is also the only series for which I have published reviews for ever installment. Many bloggers don't follow my....well, it's not a hard-and-fast rules so I'll say guideline here, but I generally don't like writing or reading reviews for entire series, whether it's because some series are too long for it (I'm sorry, I love the Vampire Academy world, but there's no way I would ever do reviews for all 6 VA and all 6 Bloodlines) or because I like to spread the love around to many authors and many books.

The interesting thing about writing reviews for all 3 Newsoul novels plus "Phoenix Overture" is that I've witness Jodi's growth as a writer and the evolution of the story and my response to it as a reader. On my first read of Incarnate, I gave it a 3 star rating. Asunder was 4, and "Phoenix" and Infinite here each earned 5 stars. In the weeks leading up to Infinite's release, though, I participated in the Incarnate Read-A-Thon hosted by Alexa of and Bonnie of . I only made it partway through Incarnate on my reread because of other commitments, but I realized that I would probably have to re-rate Incarnate because I loved the story so much more the second time around. I was finding all these beautiful references to the events of Infinite. This is MASTERFUL technique on Jodi's part because obviously Infinite wasn't written when Incarnate was. That means 1. Jodi clearly had her ending in mind from virtually the beginning and 2. Jodi also utilized her own books when writing Infinite. The effect? A cohesive trilogy from start to finish full of parallel writing and foreshadowing and all those other wondrous literary devices that get a literature nerd like myself hot.

The very very best element of Infinite is, of course, Ana and Sam's relationship. I ship them so hard, you guys. It's not just the romance that is so perfect, but it's the evolution of their relationship over time. First they are strangers, and Ana is forced to depend on Sam's kindness for a time. Then they become friends which morphs into an attraction as they get to know each other. From there we witness the shy beginnings of a young romance which blossoms into so much more. The romance intensifies both physically and emotionally, culminating in one huge triumphant emotional breakthrough on Ana's part. And all this is just what happens before Infinite.

In this installment, we see not only the swoony good parts (my personal favorite, btw, is the hand scene. I don't want to spoil it for you, but it's very close to the beginning and it's AWESOME. I personally love how well Jodi includes intimacy of all types in these books. As I told her the other day, you don't need sex to make me swoon!), but now, Sam and Ana are past the honeymoon part of their relationship. Suddenly, for the first time, they have to work at their relationship. Sometimes, it's not so good. They still love and trust one another, but they come to realize sometimes the person you love the most also has the power to hurt you the most too. It's a sobering lesson, one the two of them really did need to learn, even if it's heartbreaking to witness. The good news is that it makes them grow so much stronger as individuals and thus as a couple as well.

I admit at times in Infinite, I was a little lost in regards to one major plot device. Sam is instrumental (MUSIC PUN INTENDED) in the development of the plot in Infinite. His part to play (ALSO INTENDED) is really dramatic and pivotal...but sometimes I found myself wondering, "Uh, wut?" More good news: Jodi 'splains it all, don't worry. While there are basically two sides in the primary conflict (Ana's side vs Janan's), most of the characters have wildly differing opinions on how to resolve the conflict, and that creates a more multifaceted conflict than you'd think. This is where the loving and trusting comes into play. I gotta say, poor Sam. He has it rough in Infinite for a whole host of reasons, and Ana doesn't always keep him in the loop. Can you believe that for once the GIRL is keeping the BOY in the dark to protect him instead of the other way around? How refreshing...if still, you know, annoying for a character to do that at all. Human nature, I suppose.

Infinite, as the finale of this lovely series, is expectedly heavy on the feels. The romance gets turned up to eleven (WOOHOO) because of hands and the sharing of a sleeping bag and kissing and snuggling while [spoiler]ing a [spoiler] (don't be pervy, that doesn't mean what you think it does); the waterworks turn on and don't really ever turn off as the stakes get higher, and characters get more desperate; the rage is surprisingly present. While I was frustrated and irritated at circumstances and characters during Incarnate and Asunder, I don't remember being so infuriated while reading them. At one point, I was yelling at the book: WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY?!?!?!?! Because, guys, I talk to books as I read them. Obviously. Random, but you know how sometimes in romance novels, they talk about the heroine feeling like a wrung-out sponge post-love scene? Well, my that's a pretty apt description of my heart by the time I finished. It's like the reader version of veni, vidi, vici: I swooned, I cried, I raged.

As for the ending itself, there was SO MUCH ACTION. Things were pretty chaotic for a good while and so so very tense. There's this epic showdown, and everything is just crazypants. I felt like I needed to be let out of my skin because there was too much for me. Even moments before the big climax, I had no idea what Jodi was going to do. I was absolutely taken by surprise. And then...and then...the very very end was so unexpected, truly. I never saw it coming. Thinking about it still weirds me out, just a little, because it's so different from how I thought the conclusion would go, but it fits very well. Infinite is one of those final books where I think about it, and I don't honestly know how else it could have finished now because it was so natural to the story, so right for the characters.

Basically, you need this series in your life, and that leaves only one more thing to say.

To Jodi: Thank you so very much for sharing Ana's story with us. Thank you for sharing Sam with us. Thank you for sharing your love of music (Aw, yeah, flute players unite!). Thanks for the laughs and the tears and the swoons. Thanks, even, for the torture. Yeah, you're right. I kinda loved it. Thank you for Stef and Sarit and Armande and Orrin and Whit and even the bad guys. Thanks for CRIS. Thanks for Fayden. Thanks for dragons and sylph and mayhem and madness and beauty and love and roses and honey. Thanks for all those epic late-night giggle-inducing Twitter chats. Thanks for writing a new series that I can fall in love with now, but thanks for saying you might be open to future Newsoul stories if they come to you (on behalf of Maura, I suppose this is the part where I am supposed to beg for you to tell Cris's story, if he ever finally lets you in on it). Thanks for coming to Texas for this release, and thanks, especially, for being an awesome friend. *hugs*

Book Links:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg

PS If you're looking for a signed copy of Infinite, you can try contacting The Book Spot in Austin, TX, or Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. Jodi had signings at both stores for the release of Infinite and they may have some copies left. No guarantees, but it's worth a shot if you're interested!

About the Author:
Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.

*A Kippy is a cat.

Author Links:
  

3 comments:

  1. So you like the series then? Lol! I haven't started it yet but it is nice to know that all the books are great and that the series as a whole is satisfying.

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  2. So glad you really enjoying it!! I wasn't really a fan of this one but I know a lot of people really liked it. I'm glad it ended on a high note!

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  3. I can't wait to read this series now.

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