The title hints at a book that is action-packed with characters that have special powers but, unfortunately, those powers are only occasionally used throughout the book. This is disappointing and the unnecessary details that seem to be packed into a lot of the book’s narrative did not add to its appeal for this reader. The main character, Physicist Emmett Eisenberg is the “incarnate” figure of the title. Emmett seems to possess an awareness of how objects work at an atomic level, though I was never too clear about how he came by these powers. He also has the ability to use his powers for “good or evil” and much of the story is taken up with him expressing regret at bad things he did in the past. There is too much time wasted with explanations and discussions in restaurants etc, in a book that could have had a lot of incredible “science-action” in it.
As a retired Physics teacher I found a lot of the “basic physics” explanations tedious and a little patronising to the reader, but perhaps it is more gripping to a layperson? It did feel like a science textbook at times. Even so I consider that Jesse Pohlman has missed a trick in this book. It needs a lot more action and a lot less explanation. It is not until Chapter 10 that you really feel like you know what went wrong in Emmett’s past when he explains things to his girlfriend.
I could not relate to any of the characters and felt quite neutral about most of them, apart from Maria who has more depth in my opinion, but I rarely cared about what happened to most of them. I think the nub of the thing is that the book is like a collection of events rather than a story that develops and builds to an ending. Plus, if the characters have superpowers, the reader wants to see them in action and be on the edge of their seat when turning each page. One particular thing was sending a foe to orbit the sun! There was just not enough in the tale about that amazing idea. Too much time was spent in restaurants talking about superpowers rather than expanding on the incidents when they were being used. Far too much attention is paid to small details, like who has what drinks and in what order; and who shakes hands with whom and again in what order.
Finally, I found the telling of the story very jerky and clunky throughout. It did not flow at all and there were several strange expressions used that reflected a poor command of written English. The apostrophe was incorrectly used so many times that I found myself looking for the next error rather than following the plot. Overall this was a very good idea that was poorly expressed on the written page.
Rating: WoW Blog 3 stars