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When I first heard of Intertwined by Gena Showalter, I was intrigued. I had reviewed another of Showalter’s books earlier this year and wasn’t exactly impressed, but Intertwined seemed to have a lot more promise.

First off, this book is geared toward the teen market, something I wish they had when I was younger (my poor mother was always afraid I was reading “age-inappropriate” books every time I, at age 12, picked up a Danielle Steel novel). Secondly, the book has a very strong slant toward the supernatural and I’m always up for a good supernatural/sci-fi/fantasy storyline. Unfortunately, I am no longer a teenager.

Sixteen-year-old Aden Stone has had a hard life. Orphaned, he has spent his entire life being shuffled from foster home to foster home, enduring several stints in psychiatric hospitals for his apparent schizophrenia. Aden does in fact hear voices in his head, but it’s not because he is mentally ill. He has four distinct souls—in addition to his own—trapped in his mind.

Each soul—there are three males and one female—has its own supernatural power. One can raise the dead (as in, zombies), another can travel through time, the third can tell the future, and the fourth soul can possess other bodies. Aden goes on a quest to free the souls so they can all be at peace, himself included, since the seer soul has shown Aden how he will die. And that day is approaching fast.

You would think that souls trapped in a young man’s head, each with their own distinct power, would be supernatural enough—but wait! There’s more! Showalter adds vampires and werewolves to the mix as well as goblins, ghosts, demons, fairies, and witches.

There is some romance in the midst of all the spookiness: Aden pairs up with a beautiful vampire princess, and the female protagonist, Mary Ann, falls for the princess’s werewolf bodyguard, but the romance angle is a bit weak, as if Showalter expended all her literary energy creating Aden’s fantastical world.

I had a hard time really rooting for the couples, mainly because it all seemed so, well, cheesy to me. The vampire princess is from Romania, and her father is—wait for it—Dracula himself. And on top of that, Mary Ann’s werewolf boyfriend reminds me just a little too much of Twilight’s Jacob Black, right down to the post-human-transformation nudity.

There are, thankfully, no sex scenes. I’m not exactly a prude (how can I be, given what I read!), but the idea of such young people having sex makes me a bit uncomfortable. Plus, sex does not always equal romance—sometimes the most chaste relationships are the most romantic and endearing. And thinking back to when I was 16, there really wasn’t anything better than a sweet and simple kiss from the guy I was currently crushing on.

In the end, I think Showalter simply tried too hard to create the next teen supernatural romance sensation. Aden has too many powers, too many enemies. There is no buildup of tension—everything happens easily and quickly. I admit I really felt sorry for poor Aden—God knows I was a misfit when I was 16—but imagine having the whole world think you’re insane.

The best part of the book really was the end—and I don’t mean that snidely. Showalter did execute a fairly deft bait-and-switch, inserting a surprising twist I honestly didn’t see coming.

Intertwined is the first in what I’m sure will become a series (not to give anything away, but things were definitely kept open for sequels), but I don’t think I will be seeking out the future installments. I’m sure I would have liked the book a lot more if I was, say, 13 instead of 30. It’s just that I got enough teenage supernatural angst with the Twilight series, thank you very much.

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