Intertwined by Gena Showalter

This is a review for an ARC copy that I got at BEA. Intertwined is another offering from Harlequin’s new line: Harlequin Teen (I reviewed another of their books, Rachel Vincent’s My Soul To Take on this blog in July – LJ | wordpress).

The Premise: Aden Stone is a teen who has been in and out of trouble for a really long time. The reason is that he can hear voices that no one else does. When he replies to them out loud, people think he’s crazy. What’s really going on is that Aden has four souls trapped inside him, who each have an ability which means Aden also has that ability. One day he runs into Mary Ann Gray, a girl who completely stops the voices inside him. They feel an interesting bond between them, but soon afterwards they meet a werewolf who has an interest in Mary Ann and a vampire princess who Aden is pulled towards.

My Thoughts: I liked that Aden Stone was a character with very serious past mistakes, the kind that means treatment options and people not trusting him. This is something you don’t always see in YA, but I’ve seen in before in another Showalter YA novel, Red Handed (where the main character was a drug addict in recovery). For this reason I found Aden the strongest character in the book, although the focus sometimes shifted off him onto Mary Ann. Mary Ann had a happier past, but she also had some depth, particularly in her relationship with her father and best friend.

There are two romances in here and although the blurb pretty much gives you an idea of who is interested in who (so this isn’t a spoiler), the first people who meet in this book are Aden and Mary Ann.  The third person narration focuses on them, so I thought they were being set up as a couple, but they’re not. They meet the other two main characters and immediate crushes are fostered. I would have liked the getting to know you to happen before each character decided they were smitten, and less telling rather than showing, so the romances didn’t do it for me, but were a couple of sweet moments. I of course had my cynic’s cap on regarding the vampire princess being 80 years old, but that’s a personal pet peeve, and here vampires mature less slowly (the equivalent of terrible twos is several years for example) which made it feel a bit more acceptable.

Besides the action in the very beginning of the book, it was a lot of set up into the world and the pacing felt slow at first. It is a long book (442 pages in this ARC) and about 200 pages of it is the protagonists meeting, finding out about each other’s powers and basically going to school. Things became more interesting when Aden’s time travel came into play. From that point on, I was reading at a happy speed, but once the significance of what he saw when he time-travelled was resolved the book sort of fast forwarded through to a quick ending that left me a little unsatisfied. It wasn’t quite a cliffhanger, but it felt really abruptly (and conveniently!) done.

A biggest problem I had with the book was that there were a lot of ideas being thrown at the reader. It’s hard to list them all. There’s all of Aden’s abilities, his past, Mary Ann’s affect on Aden, their relationship to each other, romances with others, and several kinds of supernatural creatures for starters. There felt like a lot of story arcs without a distinct focus. I think I’d have preferred that the author concentrate on Aden and his story rather than bringing in all this outside elements and jumping back and forth between Aden and Mary Ann.

Overall: As escapist fun, this was OK but flawed (uneven pacing and too much going on, things where YMMV). If I think about it there were a few things plot-wise which I hope get cleared up in later books, but the start of this series hasn’t wowed me.

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers – Ana liked it and gave it an 8

Steph Su Reads – 2 out of 5 (had some similar complaints as me re: too much going on)

There’s Intertwined sweepstakes with a $10,000 grand prize! You can enter every day until November 16th

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