3.5 stars (I round up for the "stars")
This is going to be a tough review for me. On one hand, I really enjoyed the story, the world, and the characters. What an awesome concept; to take a new sideways look at a historical author and his characters. But on the other side, I had a tough time with the execution. The verbose language and extensive ruminations by the lead character kept tripping me up throughout the story.
Lucy Weston, a twenty-something free spirit from a well to do family in no rush to marry, wakes up buried in a wooden box with a stake through her chest. Unfortunately, her “dreams” just before waking were distant memories fleeting in and out and she struggles to piece them together. While coping with her new hunger, animal instincts and loss of family, she stumbles upon Bram Stoker’s extremely popular novel that details her life and demise in a rather exaggerated fashion. To get to the truth of her situation, Lucy sets out to find this Bram Stoker.
When I first saw the synopsis of this book, it wasn’t the Bram Stoker angle that drew me in. Indeed, I was kind of surprised by how little he showed up in the book. He was briefly there in the beginning but made up for it in spades with his performance at the book’s ending. Nor was it the steampunk-ish setting of 1897. I actually liked the light “dribbling” of steampunk technologies newly evolving in Lucy Weston’s world. It added a really cool backdrop for the darkness of the story without overwhelming the vampire tale.
What I wanted to read about was the story of a newly made vampire trying to find her way in the new world of supernaturals and the life she has been dealt. Can you say, “world turned completely upside down”? Emma Cornwall delivered an awesome tale – Really! Lucy has no clue what she is and has to figure it all out while at the same time trying to determine the vampire rules, who her allies and enemies are, and reconcile her previous “life’s” memories. Add in a little political intrigue and secret sects and I really loved the story!
It was the political aspects of the time period that I think tripped up the story. Lucy spent a lot of time explaining the political atmosphere and the players in the game and in the end, those ruminations didn’t mean much to the overall plot. It just got a little verbose in those sections and I ended up just skipping over them. I try not to do that often.
Also, Lucy’s pensive thoughts of life before “vampire” just didn’t grab me. I think it just happened too often when she should have been plotting and taking action. It’s probably just me, though. This was a new type of book for me, being a historical/fantasy/steampunk novel, I might be comparing it too closely to an urban fantasy and the speed and action of those. So take my ruminations with a grain of salt!! If you look at the other reviews, a lot of people really like this book. I loved it! I’m just not in love with it….
I did like the little bit of romance thrown in. This is not a romance novel, by any means, but it added a nice tension to the storyline and ultimately, an ending I wasn’t expecting. Will I be reading the next book, if there is one? HELL YEAH!! I want to see where the romance goes!!
When all was said and done, Emma Cornwall spun a great tale and built an amazing world that has so many opportunities where it can go for future books. And with its ending… wow, I must have more!! Just please go easy on the long speeches, okay?
By the way, there is a Goodreads giveaway for Incarnation that ends September 5th, 2012. If you’re in time, run over to giveaways for a chance at 1 of 14 copies.