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Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
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Incarnation (edition 2012)

by Emma Cornwall

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7610158,327 (3.62)None
Member:Ceridwen83
Title:Incarnation
Authors:Emma Cornwall
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Rating:***1/2
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Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

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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 |
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall is a spin-of/sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Story is narrated and told in a first person point of view by Lucy Weston, side character and one of Dracula's victims in Bram Stoker's novel.
If you have read Dracula by Bram Stoker (or watched the movie) you know how the story ends for poor Lucy - Dracula seduces her and transforms her into a vampire but she is almost immediately killed/destroyed by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Incarnation by Emma Cornwall continues story from that point. Lucy wakes up buried in a coffin with a wooden stake trough her heart and no memories of her life before the transformation (or, to use the term from book, incarnation).
We follow Lucy as she tries to find out what happened to her. She accidentally finds book Dracula by Bram Stoker and is outraged because the story in the novel is not true. Lucy finds Bram Stoker in London and he points her to elite vampire club The Bagatelle. It's interesting getting a view of vampire's decadent society trough Lucy's (naive) eyes.

Unfortunately sometimes the story just gets lost. It feels like Emma Cornwall tried to cover too many genres, if she just stopped at some point Incarnation would have been much better novel. We have historical Victorian setting, vampires, werewolves, magicians, secret societies, forbidden-love type of romance and even a little bit of Arthurian mythology.
Romance in the book is just... flat. I could not feel any depth of emotion between Marco and Lucy. I can excuse Marco because of the customs of that time-period, but Lucy is the narrator. All her descriptions of him were very good but cold. There were no butterflies/chemistry/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.
As for promised steam-punk, all we got was occasional glimpse of zeppelin/dirigible in the sky. Very disappointing. Steampunk element is not necessary for the story and I would not even complain that it is missing, but book summary promised us "steampunk world". So where is it?

Another thing - although this is a stand alone novel it has a little bit open and unresolved ending, especially regarding the love side of story. It is obvious that author plans (if book is popular) to write sequel. This additionally adds to my feeling that Incarnation is not the story that needed to be told, but that it is written to milk the success of current genre trends.

I recommend this book to fans of: vampires or paranormal novels in Victorian setting.

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review. This text is also posted on Amazon and my blog. ( )
  bookwormdreams | Apr 10, 2013 |
It's chafed, not chaffed.

Buildings crumble to the ground, people crumple to the ground.

A few mention of dirigibles does not a steampunk novel make. ( )
  Jammies | Mar 31, 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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