Tag Archives: immortality

It’s a Tom Robbin’s Kind of Day…!

jitterbug

What if you lived in a land that executed its rulers at their first sign of old age. A wrinkle? Poison it is for you! A grey hair? Down falls the axe! Luckily, unless you’re a professional super model, this doesn’t really apply to you. What if you were a king who defied these laws and escaped–only to spend the rest of your magically LOOOOOONG life seeking immortality. And messing around with Pan. Yep, the goaty one. That’s Jitterbug Perfume for you.

“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”

Or, in the case of Still Life with Woodpecker, you are a lovely redheaded princess in modern day America. You live in a moldering old house with your doddering sovereign parents and your batty old nursemaid. Then, during a vacation to Hawaii, you fall in love with a self-proclaimed outlaw. A snaggle-toothed ginger terrorist with dynamite strapped to him. Seriously.

My dear friends Merri and Peter introduced me to Tom Robbins, and out of all the books I’ve adopted from them, TR is by far my favorite author. His unusual and sometimes vulgar writing style is vastly entertaining and his metaphors are so strange yet so… right…that you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself.

Jitterbug Perfume was a pretty dense read compared to Still Life with Woodpecker, and had a few more dry spots. However, that being said, they both earn 4 out of 5 Camel cigarettes and drops of horny goat elixir.

Baaaaaa….

stilllife


Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Humans have been unsuccessfully seeking immortality from the beginning of time. There have been legends of the Holy Grail, the Alchemist’s Stone, the Fountain of Youth… even humanity’s  idea of Heaven and the afterlife is a form of immortality. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, speaks from a different perspective. What if you could live forever, but you still had to die?

In the world Meadows has created, specifically the city of Heart–people can do just that. There are exactly one million people living in and around the city and all of them have existed in one body or another for the last 5,000 years. Lifetimes are spent seeking love, learning trades, and exploring the world. When you die, some time passes and you are reincarnated into a different body. Soul scanners are used on newborns to determine what old soul is in the new body. While you may have been someone’s brother in one life, you could very well be their mother in the next. Yep. Reincarnation even transcends gender. Some lovers even schedule their deaths so as to be reincarnated around the same time. Pretty interesting stuff.

Just when the residents of Heart are getting comfortable (and after 5,000 years who could blame them?) Ana is born and it shocks the world. When an old soul named Ciana hasn’t returned to a new body in over 20 years, everyone expects the new baby to contain her spirit. But it doesn’t. It contains Ana. A “newsoul” or, more offensively, a “nosoul.” Ana is immediately an outcast, and even her own mother Li doesn’t love her.  So she decides to journey to Heart to find out the truth behind her mysterious background. There she finds love, danger, and intrigue. But all is not what it seems…

I really enjoyed this book. While it didn’t have the immediate, addictive pull of The Hunger Games it is by far one of the freshest concepts in YA Fiction I have read in a long time. With the old trend being witches and wizards, followed by vampires and werewolves, and–more currently–Distopian societies, it’s nice to see something new for a change. Meadows successfully blended a world where magic and science live together in harmony. There are inventions such as (laser guns and soul scanners) that represent the future, as well as those (like catapults and cobblestone roads) that represent the past. I liked that there are cars AND dragons–because everyone knows I’m a fan of urban fantasy!

Ana as a character was pretty well developed, and I look forward to seeing more personal growth from her in the next couple of books. Her love interest, Sam was also pretty well rounded. It was interesting to think of a world where in one life you might be a girl, the next a boy, and so on and so forth. You may pair up with the same lover every lifetime (talk about soul mates!) or find a new one each time. Your lover may be reincarnated the same sex as you are, or you might be reincarnated so far apart that you are a child and they are elderly. So strange.

I like books that make me think, and Incarnate definitely did.

What would you do, if you had more than one life to live?

4 butterflies of 5


The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams has one of the freshest concepts I’ve seen for a YA novel in a LONG time. It doesn’t take place in a post-apocalyptic world, there are no werewolves, there are no vampires, there is no race to save the earth. Refreshing, right?

I mean, don’t get it twisted, I love a good vampire/werewolf love triangle just as much as the next girl. But it’s been done. Trend? Check. Let’s move on and think of other things, authors. No need to continue riding the coattails of the Twilight/Harry Potter/Hunger Games Empire. Let’s spice things up, shall we?

Serephina Ames was transformed into an “Incarnate” several hundred years ago by her first love, Cyrus. He was the alchemist’s son and had found the formula to eternal life. Nothing can be simple in love–especially immortality. To become an Incarnate, you must sever your soul from your own body and take a host. Except rather than living with a dual consciousness, you effectively killed that person–while their body remained behind for you to use. The body remains viable for about 10 years, and then you must find another or face final death.

For over half a millinea, Serephina stayed at Cyrus’ side, switching bodies to fit to his “type” and taking on hundreds of new identities. They made others like themselves and lived in an immortal coven. Until, one day–after years of discontent with stealing human lives–she escapes from Cyrus and goes to meet her final death.

Things don’t go quite as planned, however, when Serephina’s failing host form tries to resuscitate 16 year old Kailey Morgan (a car accident victim) and inadvertently takes over her body.  With Kailey’s body comes a new sense of freedom, a life away from Cyrus’ rule and a new set of friends, family, and a new love interest. An escape.

But how long with Seraphina’s peaceful stolen life last?

The Alchemy of Forever is a short book and I flew through it in a couple of days. I enjoyed it, and the story flowed pretty evenly. Williams’ writing style is a bit simplistic, even for the YA audience. This is not going to be a book-to-movie empire, but it was interesting all the same. It really makes you think about how you would live your life if you had the capability to change bodies. Would you feel guilty for the death of the original human or would you feel exultation in your new form? Would you choose someone beautiful every time or would you switch it up? Neat concept, for sure.

That being said, I didn’t really understand how Seraphina/Kailey could feel a love connection with Noah so fast, when really she didn’t even know him at all. She also makes some really obvious dumb-girl-in-a-movie mistakes that make you want to yell out loud at the book. But whatever, with no conflict there would be no story, I suppose. It would be really hard to assimilate into a stranger’s life without making it obvious that you had no idea what was going on.

But imagine the freedom of being able to be anyone. 

You could reinvent yourself so many times and learn so many skills with that long lifespan. Each incarnation could be a better version of you, if you strove for goodness.

Williams ended the book with a clear set up for a sequel, and I will definitely follow up on Seraphina’s story. But for now I’m left with something to think about…

3 incarnations of 5