The undemanding sequel to Incarnate (2012) goes down slow but easy, leaving characters poised for a third book.
Singular newsoul Ana finds herself increasingly isolated in the wake of the catastrophic Templedark her biological father engineered, in which almost 80 souls were permanently killed after thousands of years of reincarnation. Far too many of the remaining oldsouls have grown increasingly distrustful of Ana, even becoming violent. When more newsouls are born to fill the new void in souls, they attract hostility as well. The romantic tension established between Ana and guardian/not-quite-lover Sam in the first book continues, with lots of steamy kissing and little else, as angst (Ana: can a newsoul truly love? what about all his lovers from his many past lives? Sam: he’s meant to be Ana’s guardian, not her lover) predictably ends the consummating clinch over and over. Things are brought to a head by the escalating violence against pregnant women and baby newsouls, sending a reluctant Ana back into the Temple to confront the godlike, hostile entity Janan to find answers. A recognizable, modern-day question of ethics threads its way through the pedestrian prose of Ana’s first-person narration: Is the unborn soul more or less worthy of life than the one that is already in the world?
Readers who want the answer will have to wait for the sequel. (Dystopian romance. 13 & up)