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Incarnation by Emma Cornwall


by Emma Cornwall

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Egalley thanks to Gallery Books
Beautiful storytelling which very much reminded me of Gardella Vampires by Colleen Gleason.
Rich, vibrant and really engrossing.

This is not a YA and neither it is a paranormal romance, more like a paranormal historical adventure with slight steampunkish elements. I wouldn't even call it steampunk, because although some interesting technological advances are mentioned they are not used by any of the characters.

Lucy is a very intelligent, courageous girl who is turned suddenly by an ancient vampire, and wakes up in her own grave with a stake in her chest. Confused and disorientated, she literally claws her way out and spends few months feeding on animal blood and living in the cave until a distant call from her creator forces her to go searching for him.

When she thinks of him it's all very Gothic, hazy and luminescent but not romantic. She accepts him like some kind of irresistible force.

She finds her family country house deserted and day by day recovers more of her humanity back. In the same house she discovers a book by Bram Stoker where a heroine with a very similar name Lucy Westera instead of Lucy Weston is seduced and turned into a vampire by Dracula. Enraged by the author twisting the truth, she is determined to come to London and ask Bram how he knew what happened to her and why he distorted the truth.

However, in London our young vampire quickly becomes entangled in Lady Blanche's, an ambitious vampire, struggle for power with a sinister intent to openly dominate humanity, and only Lucy's own maker might be able to stop her.

Joining forces with a mysterious Protector, Marco di Orsini Lucy needs to use her unique link to her creator to find him before it's too late, defend the Queen and country and fulfil her destiny, - the reason she was incarnated.

Fabulous story, very entertaining, with a smart resourceful heroine and a powerful and enigmatic hero. Nothing is simple in Incarnation, oh, and did I mention a brilliant mad geneticist who is just as evil as Lady Blanche? I guess I just did.

Read it! Fans of Kristen Callihan and Bec MacMaster especially, will love this. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
An interesting twist on the dracula story, from lucy's post of view. Btw, this book is a bit steampunk, although it doesn't make any mention of it in the beginning. It also takes a bit of a historical ficition twist with vampires being involved with the throne of england and protecting the isle from ancient times. ( )
  Schlyne | Nov 12, 2015 |
I received a copy of this book for free from Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

Wow. When I requested this book from Edelweiss, I thought it looked good - pretty cover, interesting sounding plot - but I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, particularly as it was my first steampunk novel. As it is labelled as a Young Adult book, I was expecting the writing style to be fairly basic, as it tends to be in YA fiction. Cornwall, however, goes all out and writes the novel as if she herself was writing in nineteenth century England.

Where YA novels tend to base most of their description around characters (particularly of the male persuasion), this book contains many beautiful descriptions of the environment: the dark, eerie Yorkshire moors; the dingy alleyways of Victorian London. I don't know if it helped that I've visited Whitby and the Yorkshire moors myself, so I can imagine them more vividly, but I think even without visiting them Cornwall's descriptions do them justice. The writing flowed so well, and I think it is the use of words and diction contemporary with the setting of the story that really lifts it above all those other paranormal YA novels out there.

Rather than being a straight retelling of the Dracula story by Bram Stoker, Cornwall instead chooses to directly involve Stoker himself, which works really well. I find that when historical or famous figures are included in stories, as long as they are not too out of character, it makes the story more relatable, by presenting the reader with characters they are already familiar with. For example, we also get to meet William Gladstone, former Prime Minister, and Queen Victoria.

Speaking of characters, Lucy as a character is a wonderful protagonist, particularly as a female lead in a YA paranormal novel. She is strong, and barely phased by her transformation. She just gets on with it, she doesn't moan, whine or cry. Although there is some romance, it doesn't completely consume her and she never gets soppy. She's smart, quick-witted and generally a strong character all round, and manages to avoid cliches. We need more female protagonists like her.

Now as for the downsides of the book: I managed to guess one character's secret very early on into the story, which made the big reveal much less of an impact - I feel that perhaps Cornwall left too many clues for that one. I have to say, the ending was a bit of an anti-climax and over rather soon - but I felt the rest of the story kept it up at a five-star rating. There were also quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes, but as I read an ARC I'm hoping that they'll all be corrected in the final edition.

I highly recommend this one, even if you haven't read Dracula! (I haven't... better get on it.) It is beautifully written, and a fun read - especially if you want a more 'intelligent' feeling YA novel. If the steampunk element is putting you off, I would say don't let it - steampunk is only a very light part of the novel. ( )
  Rinnreads | Sep 24, 2013 |
I have been entering Goodreads giveaways for awhile, and this morning I was pretty excited to wake up and find out that I had won a copy of this!!! I can't wait for it to arrive......

9/18: I decided to wait a bit before I posted my review, because I wanted to think about what I wanted to say. Ultimately, I did enjoy this book, however that comes with some caveats...if I had not won this book in the First Reads giveaway, I might have decided within the first few pages to give up, because the beginning is very confusing. I'm glad I pushed through, but I suspect that some people will just be turned off and quit.

In retrospect, it's possible that the confusion is intentional, because the main character, Lucy, who is also the first-person narrator is also confused. It was also a little bit boring, because it was all background, background, background, and then FINALLY. We get to London and it gets interesting.

It was a very interesting take on vampires, and the like, and as I said, it was glad to have pushed through, and will definitely read other works in this universe, which I assume will be forthcoming based on the way the book ended. ( )
  srearley | Sep 21, 2013 |
The Good: I love the alternative history of why how and why Dracula was written. I also loved how the legend of King Arthur is incorporated into the story. The men in this novel were very interesting, and became more important to the story that the main character in my opinion. I especially loved reading about Marco and Mordred.

The Bad: The steampunk aspects of this book are referenced but never really explained, at all. One must just sort of infer what the author is envisioning without any real help from the author herself. Beyond that, Lucy just isn't very likeable. You get to know her, understand her motives, but are never very driven to care whether she succeeds or not. ( )
  TequilaReader | May 10, 2013 |
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Listen to them-the children of the night. What music they make. -Bram Stoker, Dracula
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On the stage of London's Royal Opera House, Verdi's Aida was approaching its dramatic conclusion.
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"Lucy Weston, from Bram Stoker's Dracula, hunts down the ancient vampire who turned her in order to regain her humanity"--

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