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.
It's unfortunate that the premise is so appealing, because, for me, INTERTWINED was an overwritten, confusing, and crowded paranormal mess. Showalter has the unfortunate penchant of telling, not showing, and making her characters take agonizingly slow paragraphs to undergo a simple thinking process. Any story that relies heavily on the main characters' romantic appeal must work on showing us readers the attraction and potential, instead of telling us over and over again, "X couldn't resist Y. Z was scared to show her feelings" etc.
As a staunch fan of Showalter's adult Harlequin romances, I was disappointed that she seemed to feel the need to "dumb down" her writing for the young adult crowd. Teenagers can tell the difference between an author who knows the teen voice and an author who typically writes for adults and is just trying to make his or her way into the YA genre.
It goes without saying, then, that I couldn't make myself care for the characters. They were self-absorbed, overbearingly introverted when it came to pondering, and didn't do anything really worth mentioning. In the end it didn't matter, because I was already tired of being narrated to like I have an IQ of 50 by a bunch of unlikable characters. I put the book down.
I have to give Gena and Harlequin TEEN this, though: they certainly have the right idea of what story elements will appeal to today's Twilight audience. Readers looking for equally emotionally tortured paranormal romances will no doubt find their way to this new line. I have not read Showalter's other YA books, but unfortunately I just cannot tolerate stories that insult my intelligence--and nor should I have to. Next time, Gena. Next time, Harlequin TEEN.
Wow, is the only word that comes to mind. This book has it all, vampires, witches, werewolves, time traveling, ghouls, demons, faeries, and more. I can't wait for the next book in this series!. I read it in one day as I could not put it down.So much happened in this book, I felt as though I had already read two or three books in a series. Showalter could have easily made 2 or 3 books out of this and you would not have felt cheated. I have always loved her adult books but she has outdone herself with her first YA paranormal.
This book took a bit to draw me in but finished with a bang and I was hooked. I do wish that I had known that this was part of a series before I started it but no matter now I'll be back for the next one :o)