Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: The Incarnations by Susan Barker

Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 18, 2015
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you.

So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.

As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for over one thousand years. And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher growing closer and closer…

Seamlessly weaving Chinese folklore, history, and literary classics, The Incarnations is a taut and gripping novel that sheds light on the cyclical nature of history as it hints that the past is never truly settled.

My Review:

Wow, that was the first thing that was in my mind when I finished the last page of this book and closed the cover... I almost debated on turning the book over and starting it over again, it was such an amazing read. I really have to thank Michele from Just A Lil' Lost for recommending this book to me. We have very similar tastes and she told me how much I would love it and she was so very right!

This is a book that you want to sit down with and you don't want to let it go, as I traveled deeper into the story, I got more confused as to what was happening, but I knew if I continued all the answers would come together. So much of this book goes into the ancient idea of reincarnation after death, and some people are connected from past lives. When the book opens Wang receives a letter talking about how someone knows all about him and his past lives. As the book continues, each life is detailed and you can see how the personalities all match in a small way.

Susan Barker truly brought an amazing story to life with The Incarnations, she brings Chinese tradition to the forefront and mixes in history and even literary classics to the story. Honestly, the way Susan brings each of Wang's lives to the forefront and the mystery of who is writing all this to him will keep readers on their feet. I wanted to know who this "soulmate" of Wang's was that seemed to try to get him to snap. The chapters switch from Wang's perspective attempting to find this mysterious person watching over him to the letters, some that are detailed stories of each past life trying to get him to remember who he once was. I love how these past lives always come back around showing that what is in the past doesn't always stay in the past...

I wasn't sure how much I liked Wang's character in this book, he seemed very passive and let others walk all over him, but I couldn't help but watch as he became more aggressive as he got scared about this "watcher" leaving strange letters for him. Imagine someone leaving you letters detailing the things you do on a daily basis and telling you they see you and your family every night, who wouldn't become more aggressive in finding this person before you get hurt.

The Incarnations is truly a masterpiece of a book that left me thinking about it long after I closed the cover. Even the ending left me a bit confused, but like I said it is a book that you take your time and Susan Barker definitely wants you thinking about everything when you've finished. This book has stuck in my mind especially because I wasn't sure how to write a review on this, I felt that this story was such an experience for me as a reader and I loved every moment of it.

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