Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review | Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall is a vampire novel with tie ins to Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Book Description
In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human.

I'm still a newbie when it comes to steampunk. Sometimes the genre is obvious to me, and sometimes - like with Incarnation - I have a hard time understanding where the genre classification stems from. Incarnation is definitely Victorian, but I wasn't able to pick up on the technology that would place this as a steampunk novel. That being said, I think this is the perfect time of year to read a Victorian novel. Last year I read Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense throughout the month of October. The gothic style of Victorian literature is very fitting to the change in the season.

If I were to classify Incarnation, I would just label it a Victorian vampire story. The main character, Lucy, is the same Lucy from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Except she's not. In Incarnation, Bram Stoker is an author for hire who penned Dracula with large deviations from the truth. Lucy tracks down Stoker on her way to tracking down the creature who turned her. The lack of true connection Incarnation had to the real story of Dracula was a disappointment for me. I'm a fan of Dracula, and the use of the Dracula characters felt like an angle at first. By the end, though, I did enjoy the references that came into play.

The beauty of Incarnation to me is the descriptions of the vampire culture in London. Lucy is not like other vampires. While my usual taste in books left me wanting to know more about the vicious and seductive vampires tucked away in London, I remained captivated by Lucy and the world Emma Cornwall created.

I recommend Incarnation to those who are fans of vampire lore and enjoy the beauty of Victorian literature.

6/10: Good read

Review copy provider by publisher


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  1. Holy smokes, that is one gorgeous cover!! I'll be honest, I'm often confused by the whole steampunk genre, but I can definitely get on board with a "Victorian vampire" story! Even though a few elements left you disappointed, I'm adding this to my TBR. Awesome review!

  2. This is a book I wanted to read and probably still will. I love the idea of following Lucy and so that alone will probably still make me read it. Will definitely lower expectations some though.

  3. There is something about this one that intrigues me. I love the cover and the premise. I've had little experience with steam punk but I've yet to read one where the technology just really stuck out to me. I'm not quite sure yet how it all works.

  4. I love stories that take place in Victorian times, but I'm still hesitating a bit. You only gave it a 6/10 - lol. I like the way the premise sounds though.

  5. I have to agree with Alexis and Cheles: that cover is amazing. And I tend to be a sucker (no pun intended) for books relating to the novel and history of Dracula. It might be worth a download in the future...


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