Incarnation by Susan Nolan

Incarnation by Susan Nolan
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, YA
Length: Short Story (128 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Katherine Blair has no idea she possesses supernatural abilities. Not until Richard St. James, an intriguing and mysterious classmate with powerful skills of his own, initiates her into his world. Wanting to explore her newfound shape-shifting powers, she spends time getting to know Richard, only to find herself increasingly drawn to him as time goes by.

Haunted by dreams of ancient times, she is caught in a desperate struggle against past injustice. The link to this unknown past experience sends her own life plummeting into the dark realms of revenge and murder, as she attempts to reconcile her feelings for the young man she’s come to rely on to protect her and keep their shared secret.

Will Katherine and Richard be able to break the spell that has held her captive through the years, before it consumes her? Can their budding young love survive tragedy, or will they be torn apart?

Katherine’s life has already been marred by tragedy, but is her future destined to be even darker than her past?

Katherine handles her introduction into the supernatural world fairly well considering how much she learns in a short period of time. When she’s having a hard time coping with the news that she is a shape shifter, she does what any good bookworm would do. She goes to the library. I like that she wasn’t content with the information Richard provided and took the initiative to find out more on her own. At first Katherine is fascinated by her abilities as well as Richard’s, but it isn’t long before she learns just how dangerous the supernatural world can be.

I had a very hard time figuring out how to define Katherine and Richard’s relationship. At first they both seem mildly irritated by each other. However, once they start spending more time together, they became fast friends, and I got the feeling that romance might be in the air. It is clear that Katherine has feelings for Richard, but I’m having a much harder time figuring out where Richard stands, especially given how he behaves around Meredith, a girl in his class. When Katherine questions him about his romantic past and what his relationship with Meredith is, he is unwilling to talk about it. I found this odd because Richard professes to care about Katherine, yet he continues to associate with Meredith even though she is openly hostile to Katherine.

I also have the feeling that Richard is hiding things from Katherine. I don’t think he has lied to her, but he is very selective about the information he shares with her. I can’t decide if he is doing this because he is trying to protect her, or because he is trying to keep her dependent on him because she has so much potential. I do think Richard cares for Katherine, but I can’t shake the feeling that he has ulterior motives.

Katherine’s connection to the past is still very murky by the end of the story as is the link between Katherine and Richard’s families. The book felt a bit choppy at times, and I was left wanting more detail. Again, I think this is due to the fact that Richard is hiding something. The conclusion is very open ended and left me with even more questions. I can only hope that Ms. Nolan has plans to continue Katherine’s story in a sequel.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Incarnation. It is a fun, fast paced book for anyone looking for a quick paranormal read to spend an afternoon with.

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