Nov 26, 2012

Book Review: Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Book: Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Ebook, 352 pages
Published on September 18, 2012 by Gallery Books
(Provided for review by the publisher via Edelweiss)

GoodreadsAmazonExcerpt (prologue)


Lucy Weston tracks down the novelist Bram Stroker in her search to reveal the dark force who made her a vampire—and regain her humanity in the process.

In the steampunk world of Victorian London, Lucy Weston, a character in Dracula, seeks out Bram Stoker to discover why he deliberately lied about her in his popular novel. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she tracks the creature 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 battles her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she makes a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—the true nature of what it means to be human.

My Thoughts:

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall is a spin-of/sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Story is narrated and told in a first person point of view by Lucy Weston, side character and one of Dracula's victims in Bram Stoker's novel.

If you have read Dracula by Bram Stoker (or watched the movie) you know how the story ends for poor Lucy - Dracula seduces her and transforms her into a vampire but she is almost immediately killed/destroyed by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Incarnation by Emma Cornwall continues story from that point. Lucy wakes up buried in a coffin with a wooden stake trough her heart and no memories of her life before the transformation (or, to use the term from book, incarnation).

We follow Lucy as she tries to find out what happened to her. She accidentally finds book Dracula by Bram Stoker and is outraged because the story in the novel is not true. Lucy finds Bram Stoker in London and he points her to elite vampire club The Bagatelle. It's interesting getting a view of vampire's decadent society trough Lucy's (naive) eyes.

Unfortunately sometimes the story just gets lost. It feels like Emma Cornwall tried to cover too many genres, if she just stopped at some point Incarnation would have been much better novel. We have historical Victorian setting, vampires, werewolves, magicians, secret societies, forbidden-love type of romance and even a little bit of Arthurian mythology.

Romance in the book is just... flat. I could not feel any depth of emotion between Marco and Lucy. I can excuse Marco because of the customs of that time-period, but Lucy is the narrator. All her descriptions of him were very good but cold. There were no butterflies/chemistry/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.

As for promised steam-punk, all we got was occasional glimpse of zeppelin/dirigible in the sky. Very disappointing. Steampunk element is not necessary for the story and I would not even complain that it is missing, but book summary promised us "steampunk world". So where is it?

Another thing - although this is a stand alone novel it has a little bit open and unresolved ending, especially regarding the love side of story. It is obvious that author plans (if book is popular) to write sequel. This additionally adds to my feeling that Incarnation is not the story that needed to be told, but that it is written to milk the success of current genre trends.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

I recommend this book to fans of: vampires or paranormal novels in Victorian setting.

Let's Talk:

Did you read this book? Or some other book with similar idea?
What would you first do in Lucy's situation? Would you rejoice in your vampire state (finally that tbr is going down) or would you be on similar quest?
Any other thoughts or comments?


  1. I haven't read this book, but it does sound quite interesting.
    I read The Kindred Curse Anthology by Terra Harmony whose story went a little bit like Incarnation.
    I like to believe that if I were to transform into a vampire, I'd just go with the flow!
    It's sad that the promised steam-punk was missing and the romance wasn't all that happening!
    Absolutely great review, Dragana! :D

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

    1. I agree, if I would get transformed I would probably go with the flow also. And I would definitely first visit my family to let them know I was alright (or as good as I am going to be) LOL. :D

  2. Wow, that happens a lot. The authors bite off more than they can chew, and it just doesn't end well. I don't like plots that are all over the place. Too bad about the romance, too. Nevertheless, this sounds interesting, all things considered.
    Great, well-rounded review!

    1. Yes book is interesting and has some original ideas. Maybe I complained too much, but sometimes it just bugs me when I see that book could have been much better.

  3. I am loving the cover :)
    And it is always sad when young writers who are not experienced enough have too much self-confidence :(

    1. Yes, cover is beautiful and there are a couple of interesting plot ideas.
      According to Gallery Books "Emma Cornwall is a pseudonym of an established author who has written New York Times bestselling historical and contemporary fiction." so she is not inexperienced. She just tried to please to many people.


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