FROM THE BOOKJACKET:Intertwined is the first book in a new YA series from veteran urban fantasy and paranormal romance writer Gena Showalter. It is also the second title in the launch of the new Harlequin Teen imprint after Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take. At well over 400 pages there is a lot happening in Intertwined and I found myself easily carried along by the story. The novel has a big opening with Aden, one of the central characters, inadvertently raising a cemetery full of zombies, closely followed by an encounter with a girl (Mary Ann) who has an inexplicable effect on his soul riders, silencing them and giving him mental peace. This unprecedented effect drives Aden to uncover the girls’ identity and find answers for her strange effect on him. The effect also sends ripples through the supernatural ether alerting many of them to his existence including the king of the vampires.
There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High . . .
Most sixteen-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, for as long as he’s with 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. . . doomed. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger. . . but not everyone will come out alive. . .
The main characters Aden and Mary Ann are an interesting contrast, his background that of an orphan living at a “last-chance” ranch for troubled youths and hers an upbringing in a middle-class single-parent home and generic high school. Despite their differences, their metaphysical gifts draw them together in search of answers and in support of one another as inimical forces seek to possess them. The action is frequent and the tension constant as Mary Ann and Aden feel as if they are always besieged and in imminent danger.
Intertwined also has a flavour alike to a fairy tale. Mary Ann’s story the frog that turns into a handsome prince or in this case a werewolf to a man and for Aden a little of Sleeping Beauty when his acceptance and attraction to a real vampire princess awakens her love and loyalty. For Mary Ann, her introduction to the supernatural world is a revelation, for Aden less so given his own abilities, but it does force him to use and explore his own unique powers. How Aden and Mary Ann respond to their situations provide many of the best sequences in the novel.
Intertwined is a solid offering for its intended young adult audience - fast-paced, interesting characters, chock full of action and lots of urban fantasy goodness. Another of the other attributes I look for in young adult novels is the cross-over appeal for adult audiences. Many recent YA urban fantasy novels have been very successful at this. I found and others may find that Intertwined, in this regard, lacks some of the needed nuance and at times goes overboard on the wish fulfillment to be truly satisfying for adult readers. An example of the latter is the frequent use of the vampire princess’ persuasion powers to solve Aden`s problems by influencing decisions and courses of action to advance the plot. The ending as well seemed to wrap up a little too conveniently given the big build-up for the dreaded vampire king, but nevertheless does promise intriguing possibilities for future installments.
I didn`t feel as strongly about Intertwined as I did about Vincent`s My Soul to Take, but Intertwined is nevertheless an excellent entree to urban fantasy for young adult readers and they won`t be disappointed. A Q&A on Gena’s blog informs us that “There will be three books following Intertwined (so there will be four books with those characters)”.
PARTIAL URBAN FANTASY / PARANORMAL BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Lords of the Underworlds:
Tales of an Extraordinary Girl: