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Monday, October 26, 2009

Review: Intertwined

Title: Intertwined
Author: Gena Showalter
Page Count: 440 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult, paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Copy for review was purchased by this writer

50 words or less: Aden is the ultimate multi-tasker- he has four souls living inside him, all with special, if inconvenient powers. Mary Ann is an anal-retentive high school student who befriends Aden while shutting up the peanut gallery in his head. Things go to hell in a hand basket. Tune in next time...

Dear Intertwined,

I just finished reading you, and I wanted to ask for clarification on a few of your points. I should start off by saying that I enjoyed you for the most part, but there are few tangles (get it? Intertwined TANGLES?!) that I wanted to ask about before I render a final opinion on you.

First of all- why was it so hard for you to pick what you were about? First you are about Aden and Mary Ann, then you are about blossoming relationships between Mary Ann and Riley/Aden and Victoria, then you are about vampire politics, then you are about they mysterious quest for Aden and Mary Ann's respective family histories, then you are about Elijah's visions, then you are about a deluge of supernatural tourists into the fair town that is the setting of our story, then you're about vampire politics and Elijah's visions again! Would it have been so hard to pick just a few of those elements and be about those? Pro tip: trying to do everything at once means that things tend to not get done well, and I'm afraid I felt a little of that going on here.

Second of all, Intertwined, why the cast of thousands in the story? You had great character development for the four main characters (well, three of them anyway- Riley didn't get squat for character development but maybe there's more to come in a future book? Either way, I'll excuse that for now...) but other people, like Dan, whoever his social worker/girlfriend was (incidentally, I did not buy that "I only flirt with her to get you guys stuff" line ONE BIT, thank you very much,) and Shannon (why was he even IN this book?) got no character development whatsoever! Maybe if we had fewer twists and turns in the plot we could have had a better inkling of what the story was actually about and who was actually important to that story.

Third, and this is just a personal pet peeve, what was up with Tucker and Penny? You took two characters I didn't like from the get go and, as if such a thing was necessary, made me dislike them even more! I don't care how sorry they are, what they did was wrong. Drunk, not drunk, thinking, not thinking, in my little corner of the universe, your actions have consequences, and you not liking those consequences doesn't make them disappear. Does everyone make mistakes? Sure. Does saying "I'm sorry" make those mistakes go away? Not hardly. Sexual irresponsibility isn't sexy, people, and I'm not sure I liked the subtle hint that forgive and forget is the best way to deal with these types of situations. It will, however, make for an excellent Blog With Bite discussion question, so I guess there's that.

I'm going to climb back down off my soapbox and wrap this letter up by saying that I genuinely feel your pain, Intertwined. I feel the suffering you underwent as the first book in this series to not only introduce all the characters (all the characters...) but also to outline all the backstory and speculate on all the themes and plot elements. I feel like the first book in a series is almost doomed to experience all this suffering because otherwise the series never goes anywhere. I do think, though, that a bit of a plot diet might have helped not only to slim you down, but also make the story a little more streamlined and the details a little more memorable. I'll leave it at that, Intertwined. You have enough things to worry about.




Wow. That was basically all I had to say after I finished Intertwined. I was so excited to read it; I love Gena Showalter's other books, but I think this particular novel made clear to me that, at least in my opinion, Gena Showalter's talents lie in her novels targeted at adults. I just couldn't get completely on board with Intertwined- I thought it was too tangled for its own good and, ultimately, introduced a lot of elements that bogged the story down instead of adding detail and nuance.

I thought the characters were very realistic and well-done, but I did have an issue with Mary Ann. Maybe it's just me, but I think that someone with a fifteen year life plan who wants to be a clinical psychologist to make her daddy happy isn't going to just accept the existence of werewolves and vampires and someone's head being a halfway house for souls. Nope, she's going to drink Thorazine out of a sippy cup and run, not walk, to the nearest inpatient clinic. For someone as tightly wound as Mary Ann, she didn't seem to have a whole lot of problems with the woo woo factor that just showed up on her door, and I found that really hard to believe.

Easily my least favorite element of the story was the side plot with Penny and Tucker. See my open letter to Intertwined above. UGH.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I appreciate that this book does not take the traditional and well-traveled path of following one couple's relationship from beginning to end over the course of the book, and then moving on to follow another couple in the next book in the series. Instead, Intertwined follows two couples simultaneously, plus a host of other plots and stories. This is an interesting approach, to be sure, but what ended up happening was a lack of movement in the plot until about three quarters of the way through the story. New characters and elements kept getting introduced and then seemingly cast aside in favor of more introductions. Then, right at the end, a whole bunch of stuff happened very quickly, and if I didn't already know that there was a second book in the works, it would have become abundantly clear to me at that point.

This isn't to say I completely hated the book; I actually enjoyed it for the most part. I will say, however, that I did feel like I needed a flow chart to keep up with everything and that a little more depth would have been appreciated, as opposed to the seemingly endless breadth that the story actually provided. I'll probably read the next book when it comes out next fall, but I'll be honest and say I'll probably get it from the library.

Overall Grade: B
Blog with Bite rating: 3


My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

like your review of this book.

vvb32 reads said...

interesting to hear that although the concept of 4 souls in one is fun to explore, this particular story didn't fly so well.

Yay! Reads said...

I love your review! It's funny and engaging. Really good. I hope that the next book is better :)

Emily said...

@Julie- Thank you!

@vvb32- I think the story needed to be advanced further and then the elements would have worked much better together.

@Yay! Reads- Thanks! I think the series will get better with time, especially now that the elements of the story are all laid out.

Thanks for stopping by everyone!

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