Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review – Intertwined by Gena Showalter

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. . .
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.

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)”.

Read a preview or Chapter 1.

Harlequin Teen
Published: September 1, 2009
ISBN #: 9780373210022
Format: Hardcover
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 442 (ARC)


Young Adult

  1. Oh My Goth!
  2. Intertwined (1st of four)

Lords of the Underworlds:

  1. The Darkest Fire (April 08)
  2. The Darkest Night (May 08)
  3. The Darkest Kiss (June 08)
  4. The Darkest Pleasure (July 08)
  5. The Darkest Whisper (Sept 09)


  1. The Stone Prince
  2. The Pleasure Slave


  1. Heart of the Dragon
  2. Jewel of Atlantis
  3. The Nymph King
  4. The Vampire's Bride

Alien Huntress:

  1. Awaken Me Darkly
  2. Enslave Me Sweetly
  3. Blacklisted
  4. Red Handed
  5. Savor Me Slowly
  6. Seduce the Darkness

Tales of an Extraordinary Girl:

  1. Playing with Fire
  2. Twice as Hot


  1. I have enjoyed Gena's books from sci-fi to paranormal to contemps. I have high hopes for her YA books. Can't wait to dig into this one.

  2. While I'm not a young adult, Intertwined sounds interesting and I just may have to check it out. Thanks for the review and the information about the book. Check out my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal. This exciting tale is a romantic action adventure in space and is more about the characters than the technology.

  3. Doug,

    Thanks for the review. The daughter has been eyeballing both Intertwined and the Vincent release. So I've added both to my ever growing list of 'must haves'. Christmas will indeed be book filled this year. :)


  4. Hi Doug!

    I've been wanting to get this book! Excellent review, I was wondering how it would shake out.

    I'm also dying to get Rachel Vincent's YA.

    They're going on my next Amazon order.

    Dottie :)

  5. KB I have only read a couple of books by Gena Showalter prior to this and have always found the writing solid. Intertwined is a bit of a page-turner and fun. I guess mostly a beach read.

    Sharon Sharon - shameless self promotion is not the way to win new readers.

    Michelle Harlequin has definitely selected a couple of great titles and authors to launch their teen line with. You're a great mom buying UF for your daughter.

    Hey Dottie sorry you have to wait so long. I got both of these really early from Hrlequin and am glad I did.

  6. Gena Showalter is one of my favorite authors. I'm looking to reading this. Sept. 1st can't get here soon enough.

  7. Donna I am going to have to dive into some of her backlist and see what's up.

  8. I have read this book. It was really great i even let my mom read it, she loved it... i have a unedited one so there was a coupe of spelling errors and a little dajavu. but i guess they will fix the typos before they release the book in september.
    There is a lot of stuff going on in this book. its a great set up for the next ones to come.


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