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IncarnationIncarnation by Emma Cornwall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine waking up buried in a coffin and yet that isn’t the freakiest part of the story. As Lucy Weston digs her way to fresh air she starts to understand that her existence has changed. Lucy doesn’t even know what she is until she discovers a manuscript of Bram Stoker’s detailing her fictionalized transition. Thus begins Emma Cornwall’s novel, Incarnation.

The narrative is a dry yet witty retelling of the familiar tale with a few new twists. Whereas many recent vampire tales are filled with gore and sex, Incarnation has a rather nostalgic feel for a steampunk genre filled with interesting inventions, a passionate romance, and a spectacular blood feud. Read this novel for the adventure tale that it is, however grasp the greatest enjoyment by digging into the social and scientific themes Incarnation highlights. Readers should pick up on several themes throughout the novel that are meant to invoke deep thoughts and deep feelings. This story is filled with rich descriptions in the fictional world that Lucy “lives” in but it also provides insightful descriptions of humanity and social structures.

Incarnation is a great novel for book clubs as discussion about characters and history will flow easily out of this adventure tale. The publisher and author were thinking ahead and provided some very thought-provoking questions at the end of the book to help get your discussion threads started. Even if you aren’t part of a book club, don’t pass up the opportunity to read these questions and spend a few minutes actually thinking about what this fantasy fiction novel stirs up in your brain.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in book in Lucy’s adventure but one of my biggest questions is who is Emma Cornwall? The back cover honestly admits Cornwall is a pseudonym of an established New York Times bestselling author. I don’t understand why any author would be ashamed to be associated with this enjoyable, intense story. I have no problem with an established author using a pen name to establish a new style and genre audience. However, I would expect that pseudonym is quietly linked to the real author so existing fans could enjoy a new side to the author they’ve read before and loved. Keeping the author’s true identity hidden makes me wonder if the author is more like the real Bram Stoker or something similar to the fictionalized Stoker as seen in Incarnation.

Maybe guessing the author’s identity will be one of the best fiction mysteries ever. Are there clues in the related story, The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston?

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