December 18, 2012

Entangled: A Panoramic Review

 "Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.
" (from Goodreads)

Entangled by Nikki Jefford
My reaction:
Entangled was surprisingly readable. The writing was actually pretty good for a self-published novel, although it was not without some flaws. I felt like the reader could have been guided through the plot points a little more; some things didn't seem to follow logically (or they leaped over the step of reasoning in the characters' heads) and I just wasn't on the same page as them, which was frustrating. This was especially true for the last half or so of the book, when it began feeling rushed, as though the author were trying to stick all the plot points she'd planned in there. Basically, it started missing out on anything that wasn't a big plot point, becoming more of a bare-boned outline than a story with fully fleshed-out characters.

Another problem I had with the writing is that it would sometimes flip perspectives in the middle of a scene, which I found a little weird. It's written in 3rd-person attached POV (to Gray and Raj) and I was fine with switching between the two perspectives as long as there were clear section or chapter breaks — but having it happen in the middle of a scene kinda threw me.

The whole magic system really wasn't explained at all, unfortunately. Covens and witches have been done many times before, and Entangled's treatment didn't feel very well thought-out or unique.

Best aspect: the concept of the sisters sharing one body, and having to deal with whatever had happened to the body the previous day. Because it had been a while since I'd read the book description, I basically just started into the book blind and totally did not see this coming (even though it is very clearly part of the premise if you read the blurb!). The two-people-sharing-one-body aspect was kind of like The Host by Stephenie Meyer, although one big difference is that they're not in the body at the same time. Instead, the sisters had to communicate by notebook (or just find things out the next day) and wouldn't actually know/remember what had happened. It was funny to watch Gray having to deal with and adapt to the situation.

If I could change something... I'd make the characters more consistent. I'm all right with the character change (or revelation) in Nolan it was pretty much out of the blue, but I think it was supposed to be a surprise. He seemed really bland before, anyway, so at least this gave him a personality. 

I was less okay with how the characterization of Charlene and Raj was handled. Spoilers, highlight to read: I was a little confused by how much more evil Charlene actually turned out to be, although I liked that there wasn't a happy ending with the sisters. I was surprised the author decided to make their relationship deteriorate so badly.

Raj is portrayed as such a slimy creep at the beginning, who doesn't have any conscience or rules, and then as soon as he starts helping Gray and hanging out with her, he becomes good and starts lecturing her on using magic for evil purposes. Perhaps it's partly that the reader is given Gray's opinion of Raj, based on rumors or a false impression, but we actually see him acting like a jerk to her, so I can't excuse it away entirely. Frankly, "new" Raj just isn't as interesting as before; the original Raj was creepy, yeah, but he had more presence. We don't really get any explanation for why he starts acting like a decent guy, either — it just seems to be a consequence of him falling in love with Gray

Which brings me to another point: we aren't really shown either Raj or Gray falling in love. The chemistry and attraction is there, certainly, but there's not enough emotional explanation for the progression of their relationship. It's more a case of leaving it up to the reader to assume that "oh, they're kissing now, I guess that means they like each other." I actually preferred their interactions before they become friends, when there was more tension between them because they both seemed to dislike each other.

If you haven't read it:
and you want to read something with the feel of The Ghost and the Goth series, Entangled might work for you. Just be prepared for somewhat inconsistent characterization and a rushed second half.

If you have read it:
anyone else feel like Raj did a complete 180 partway through the story?

Just one more thing I want to mention: The idea that adults would see these teens as a threat was, well, a little unbelievable. I understand that they'd take the teens more seriously because they have powers, but while Raj and Gray are mature in some ways, they're immature in others (like in their focus on revenge). Of course, not all of the adults seemed very responsible either!


"Gray woke up with a start. She lifted her head a couple inches off the pillow and saw the two bedposts on either side of her—Charlene's bed. Gray threw back the covers. She was wearing a red and black silk, lace babydoll.

Not again.

Oh, god. What if her life was turning into the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? At least in Bill Murray's version he got to be himself every day.

Final verdict: 3 shooting stars. I feel like Entangled had potential that it didn't live up to. The first half showed promise, but then it seemed to get really far-fetched and even ludicrous towards the end.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book for review from the author.
This book counts towards my goal for the Debut Author reading challenge

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