Monday, September 10, 2012

'Intertwined' by Gena Showalter

Reviewed by Jesi
3 Stars

Most 16-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him: One can time travel. One can raise the dead. One can tell the future. And one can possess another human.
With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they're causing him all kinds of trouble. Like, he'll blink and suddenly he's a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he'll change the future. Or he'll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she's going to die.

He's so over it. All he wants is peace. And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he's near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He's a loner; she has friends. He doesn't care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it's too late....

Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own, and a vampire princess Aden can't resist. Two romances, both forbidden. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger - but not everyone will come out alive....
(Audible product description)

This book had a lot going on--time travel, romance, necromancy, body hopping, prophesy, family secrets, cheating boyfriends, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons, faeries, witches, zombies, Vlad the Impaler...what!?!  It’s like a giant paranormal soup, afraid to leave anything out!  But somehow, it works...mostly. 

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Intertwined.  The reviews have been mixed.  But I like Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series, so I wanted to check out her young adult work. 

Aden has four other souls living in his mind, each with separate personalities.  He can hear them, but he must speak out loud in order to reply.  As a result, his parents abandoned him to the foster system and the state thinks he’s mentally ill.  I was afraid having five people in one body would get confusing, but it really wasn’t.  Each soul had a distinct personality.  That said, I really wish these characters had had more of a chance to develop before introducing forty other characters. 

Seriously, the sheer number of characters was insane! I’m hoping this is just because it’s the first book in a series, and it serves as the introduction to all of the players.  Maybe future books will settle down a bit and allow the characters to grow. 

Other than having way too much going on, there were things I liked about this book.  Aden was a good character, but so was Mary Ann.  My first assumption was that she would be Aden’s love interest, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.  Instead, they were really close friends.  It’s a refreshing twist in a YA book that a boy and a girl can be friends without needing to develop into a romance.  Of course they each fall for other people, meaning this book actually has two love stories.  (Why not have two?  This book has everything else in it.) 

Of the two romantic storylines, I was more drawn to Mary Ann and Riley.  Aden’s Victoria is an 80-something year old vampire princess.  He thinks she is totally hot, and she comes across as cold.  It’s a weird, somewhat shallow combination.  There is more chemistry between Mary Ann and the werewolf, Riley.  Things move slower with them, more believably. He first appears to her in his wolf form as a guardian, walking her to and from school each day.  He is able to speak into her mind, but he refuses to tell her who he is or show her his human form.  Their connection is strong before he ever reveals himself to her.  The scene where he finally does is beautifully written with all of the teenage awkwardness one might expect.  It reminded me of how it must be to meet an internet crush in person for the first time. 

So while it was a lot to take in, I have already bought the second book, Unraveled.  I’m interested enough in Aden, Mary Ann and the gang to stick with it.  I just hope the next book is more focused.

Overall, I give Intertwined...

Plot - 4 bookmarks (fast-paced)
Character development - 2 bookmarks
Love story(s) - 2 bookmarks (Aden & Victoria) and 4 bookmarks (Mary Ann & Riley)
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Jeremy Sumpter (Aden), Shay Mitchell (Victoria), Juno Temple (Mary Ann), Steven R. McQueen (Riley)

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