I was eager to read this book because of the interesting premise. One million souls populate the land and they have been reborn for five thousand years retaining their memories. Death is not the end, until Ana is born. Everyone expected Ciana to be reborn but it appears when Ciana died, she died forever. Ana is a nosoul/newsoul. Raised in isolation by a resentful and cruel mother, Ana finally leaves home for the big city of Heart to find answers. How are souls reborn and what caused her existence? Just one day into her journey, she runs into trouble and meets Sam after he saves her life. They take turns saving each other for the rest of the book. Sam becomes her love interest and protector. They face dangers from the sylphs whose touch leaves horrific burns, to the dragons that slobber acid, to the humans who despise her. So many citizens of Heart resent Ana for what she represents, perhaps an end to their immortality. Sam and Ana are well drawn complex characters. The pacing of the story is excellent. Never a dull moment. Love the butterfly analogy. Overall, it is a good story that should be a hit with teens. The minutiae in this book nag at me though – Do all million souls have permanent residences within Heart where everything is within walking distance? There are references to other lands; do some of the souls reside there? Sam has been killed by dragons many times yet why is he always in the open when dragons attack? It’d take just once being killed by a dragon and I’d duck and cover for the rest of my lives. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. So many questions are not answered. Then again, it could be the answers will come with the next two books in the trilogy that I hope to read. The book presents an interesting premise, a world filled with immortality and the ideas presented will linger with me for some time. How would you live your life differently if you knew you’d be reborn and retain your skills and memories? And how would that society evolve? Reminds me somewhat of Philip Jose’ Farmer’s brilliant Riverworld series (adult ).
Galley review – Publication date 1.31.12