Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 29th, 2013
Shelve It: Goodreads
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 Newsoul 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.
Following the same formula as Incarnate, Asunder took its sweet time meandering around the issues Ana was supposed to care about, without actually investigating any of those issues. With a lack of character development and a disappointing romance, Asunder’s saving grace was its second half where Ana finally started concerning herself with the things that mattered and the plot took off at a breakneck pace.
Asunder is, essentially, the same storyline from Incarnate: Ana sets out to uncover a great mystery and, instead, she becomes distracted by a minor side-plot which involves a lot of angst surrounding a certain romantic interest. Once the dust settles, Ana remembers the big mystery she was originally investigating and is surprised to find information in abundance, just waiting for her to stumble upon it. Had this formula worked for me the first time around, I might not have cared so much. Instead, I found myself so frustrated by Ana’s inattention to plot points (how do you expect me to not question why Ana ignored the sylph and Menehem’s research, after having devoted the entire opening to those same subjects?), her inability to pick up on the obvious, and her slightly obsessive focus on her status of newsoul, that I failed to sympathize with her.
After the explosive ending to Incarnate, I was expecting a much different version of Ana than the one presented in Asunder. Having found the strength to confront her inner demons, the courage to protect those she loved and the bravery to face down deities, I thought Ana had finally arrived; I thought she had found herself, and through that self-realization, her worth as a human being. While I was expecting for Ana to continue to experience some lingering self-doubts, I wasn’t expecting to encounter the same Ana that had been present throughout Incarnate; mostly, I wasn’t expecting Ana to be as insecure in Asunder as she was in Incarnate, especially when it came to her relationship with Sam.
After 5000 years of life experience, Sam understood why Ana would have a hard time vocalizing her feelings for him. So after dropping the “L” word, he understood why it would be near impossible for her to say it back to him. It was also assumed that Ana did love him, even if she couldn’t say it back; numerous characters in their lives comment on this. What really boggled my brain, then, was how often Ana would not only disregard Sam’s opinions, but his presence. How often she would seek his reassurance for something small, but then discredit his genuine concerns when it conflicted with her desires. How often she would ask him to put their lives in danger for her needs, only to later hold his needs against him when it didn’t align with her beliefs. While I appreciated that they finally discussed the inappropriateness of their relationship, considering his life experience in comparison to hers, it only served to fuel the anger I had towards Ana and her childishness when she reacted selfishly after he didn’t give her the answer she wanted about progressing their relationship to the next level of intimacy. If anything, Asunder managed to further convince me that the relationship between Sam and Ana is destined to fail. While I felt their connection in Incarnate, in Asunder I saw only how Ana’s selfishness took advantage of Sam’s selflessness at every turn.
Fortunately, Asunder managed to save itself just past the halfway mark. While I didn’t necessarily like how Ana acquired all of her information, I loved that we were finally given some answers. The true history of Heart and its 1 million inhabitants, their connection to, and history with, Janan, and the secret to their reincarnation were all uncovered in a shocking and gruesome twist that also served to explain why Ana was the first newsoul in over 5000 years. While I’m still a little confused as to the magic surrounding the inhabitants of Heart and its effects on their memories, and the behaviours of the sylph, now that we know their secrets as well, the answers provided in Asunder are as satisfying as the secrets in Incarnate were elusively frustrating.
Much like with Incarnate, many of my issues with Asunder were only brought to life once I sat back to reflect on what I would say in my review. So while much of what I’ve said thus far has been negative, my overall experience with Asunder was a good one. While reading, I mostly enjoyed myself and found that, after the slightly slower beginning, the pacing was quite decent. Even though Ana was frustrating in her seemingly purposeful obtuseness, I enjoyed watching her race to uncover the secrets behind Heart, even if she often found herself sidetracked.