H B I C R E V I E W  – by Parajunkee

Nothing like a little zombie action to start off a novel, Intertwined, the latest Young Adult novel by Gena Showalter, starts off with a bang – or maybe a grunt. Aden Stone finds himself in a cemetery, big no no for him, since he happens to have the ability to raise the dead – and once they are raised, well they do what every zombie likes to do – eat some human flesh. I know what you are thinking, ‘Zombies, that is like soo last week,” so lets add some ghost whispering, and then some vampires, how about a werewolf? Not impressed? Ok – but there is so much more. Intertwined is packed full of the paranormal, this is the uber urban fantasy novel for teens – and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Aden Stone, 17, sexy, and some would say a bit disturbed. He packs two daggers hidden in his boots (in case he runs into a zombie – or an errant jock calling his manhood into question) and four souls stuffed in his brain, which he often talks to, out loud. Aden has recently been transferred to the D&M ranch, a home for bad, slightly crazy, yet still functioning, boys. Since his parents abandoned him at the age of 3, Aden has gone from one foster home to the next, and later on in life, one psychiatric unit to another, all of his life. The D&M ranch is a reprieve from the turmoil of his past. He hopes to start over, maybe attend school, or search for the hot brunette that he keeps on having scorching visions of.

Through a little soul displacement trickery, Aden finds himself enrolled in high school and making friends for the first time in his life. Yet, with every friend he makes, he seems to also be making enemies. And as that list increases, Aden’s life becomes more and more complicated, and the paranormal creatures start to come out of the woodwork. He had always known he was different. He knew his soul companions didn’t happen to just anybody – but he wasn’t ready to face just how different he is – and what else is out there.

Intertwined, aptly named, because it was choked full of twist, turns and everything that could possibly happen to 1, 2, 10 main characters. Ms. Showalter throws everything at you, and while it might get confusing at times, I was able to follow it very easily. The book is a testament to Showalter’s skill as a writer, for she kept everything moving, the tone of the book was consistent and the writing was spot on and flowed well. This was my first Gena Showalter book, and so far I am impressed with her skills.
My favorite parts and dislikes regarding this book all revolved around the side characters. I believe too many characters were introduced and she should have stuck to a chosen few… the character I want to see more of is Riley. I hope he gets more play in the next books. Nothing like the dark and dangerous male to spice up your reading environment. I wasn’t too impressed with Mary Ann, I think her characteristics weren’t very believable. Fifteen years old and obsessed with becoming a shrink? Reading clinical papers to impress her father – the man as a shrink himself should have put her on meds. Then dating a guy (Tucker) you could tell she didn’t really like, just because he called her beautiful every now and again. Accepting a werewolf was mentally talking to her without a little bit of freak out??? C’mon, didn’t like her.

What I didn’t like in the novel were some of the side plots. This is the first book in the series and I really felt at some points the author was building too much for other books, she could have left some things out for later. There was a little too much left at the end that was unresolved. Now we have to wait…what maybe a year…at the most 6 months for the next book? I am a very impatient person… ☺
Besides that the book was excellent. A great, quick, read that had me laughing and while, not crying, it did have some heart tugging moments. This is not just for teens, the characters do possess a certain maturity that adults can relate to.

Blog with Bite Discussion Questions:

#1  Do you feel the ending was cut short and needed more to be resolved before the book ended?
Yes, I believe that this book felt like a Part I in a larger novel.

#2 Regarding Question #1, what are your thoughts on series books? For one you get more and more and more – depending on how long the series drags on – for another some series leave you with very little resolution at the end of the novels, i.e. the Merry Gentry series where only a couple of hours pass within the time span of one book. Do you find this is just an authors way of having guaranteed book sales – or do you really enjoy series and love reading about your fav characters over and over again?

I tend to get aggravated with these drawn out series.  I’m big on resolution and hate when something is left open-ended.  I enjoy series novels that have a defined plot line and resolutions within the frame of that one book are my favorites.  The Harry Potter series – each book was separated by a year in Hogwarts.  Even though I’m not a big fan, I like the wan Nora Roberts handles her series sometimes, where she separates the books by couples.  So if it is a trilogy, there are six main characters, there is a final resolution, or battle in the final book, but each book ends with resolution.

#3 Which “trapped” soul was your favorite and do you see potential in the future story lines with the remaining three?
I didn’t really like any of the trapped souls. Easy answer but it is the truth. 

#4  When a larger-than-life character such as Vlad Tepes aka Dracula is used as a side-plot character do you believe it gives the story a more factual base, or makes it less real?
I think Vlad was there for a reason.  He was there to put a dark face on the vampires in this novel.  I think it was an easy way out for the author.  But, with all the other characters, it makes sense. 

#5 What did you think of the side plot involving Tucker and Penny?  Do you think the issues from that plot were adequately resolved?
I believe this could have been left out. They should have let Tucker die…and I’m scared of Penny’s child if Tucker is that bad, it seems you really can’t help being nasty if you are a demon.

#6 What is your best guess as to what Aden Stone’s superpower is – the power he possess without his souls?  
Necromancer – I was thinking that the vamps were drawn to him because he might have some kind of power over them, like the Anita Blake character, but that got shot down when all the other supes showed up.