I received this e-ARC for review from the publisher through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.
Range is an exciting fantasy world with dragons, sylph, and reincarnated souls!
For millennia, the inhabitants of Range have been reincarnated over and over again by Janan who is revered as a god. When a child is born, its palm is pressed on the Soul Scanner so that the Soul Tellers can determine whose soul has been reincarnated. Souls can be measured as a series of vibrations, and the unique sequence remains throughout the soul's lifetime no matter how many times it has been reincarnated. There comes a day when a baby girl is born and, when she is scanned, no data is available. Everyone was expecting the babe to be the reincarnation of Ciana, but she is not. Who is this child, and where did she come from?
The child is dubbed "nosoul," a derogatory name because she has no known soul and was not the reincarnation of anyone that is known. The kinder folks refer to her as "new soul" because her soul is new rather than believing that she has no soul. They call her Ana, and her name is taken from Ciana whose soul she replaced.
Ana has a horrid upbringing and is both physically and mentally abused by her domineering mother, Li. When she turns 18 years old, Ana decides that she wants to travel to the city of Heart where it is her fervent hope that she will discover how and why she came to be and whether there is any chance that she will be reincarnated when she dies. Li tries to sabotage Ana's quest by giving her a faulty compass, and Ana ends up wandering too deeply into the forests where the sylph roam. She tries to avoid a sylph attack by diving off a cliff into the freezing water below. She is rescued by Sam, who not only nurses her back to health but helps her to get to Heart. Once there, he receives permission from the Council to be appointed as Ana's guardian.
To be honest, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the story given that reincarnation is not consistent with my own beliefs. I am actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I loved Ana, and my heart just broke at the cruelty of Li and the residents of Heart. Ana and Sam have a lot of chemistry, and it was nice to see their relationship grow and change over time. Sam acts as a bit of an anchor for Ana, and she counts on him as she has counted on no one else in her life. I really enjoyed the snippets of Sam's past lives, but it wasn't nearly enough! I hope we learn more about him.
To be Ana, a stranger in a world where everyone has known each other for thousands of years, would be terribly frightening! I thought that Meadows did a great job in playing both sides: Not only could I relate to how Ana would feel in such a situation, but I also could empathize with the residents of Heart who were distrustful and wary of Ana's existence. I think that only a skillful writer can accomplish such a feat!
I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, which is expected to be released in 2013 which is just way too far away! With the way this book ended, the next one promises to be exciting and tumultuous! There are a lot of unanswered questions and lots of possibilities to explore, and I am eager to see how this plays out.
And let's not forget that gorgeous cover! That alone would suck me into buying the book.
MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!! Thanks to both HarperCollins and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book!