Review: Intangible by J. Meyers



Title:  Intangible

Author:  J. Meyers

Publisher:  self-published

Series:  N/A

Other Reviews for This Author:  None

Self-published authors have a hard time getting me invested in their work as something to watch and follow through with.  I will admit this freely, as self-publishing today is an extremely bloated field that has a stigma attached to it pertaining to a lack-of-quality in the books being published.  I'm often content with the novel but never impressed, and it's the rare self-published book that makes me feel like the author had it worked on and polished to the same degree that traditional publishing would have required.  Intangible is one of those few novels - Feyland by Anthea Sharp being the other - that has proven to me that self-published YA work can contain the same base of quality and consistency as its traditionally published counterparts.

Luke and Sera Raine are twins, and they've been close for a long time as a result.  Some brothers and sisters drift away from each other, but the bond that Luke and Sera share is strong.  Stronger, perhaps, than anyone would expect.  Luke and Sera share the grief of their parents' divorce and joint-custody.  They share their day-to-day feelings and instinctively know feelings and emotions that will crop up because of how well they know each other.  This type of connection between two twins isn't abnormal, but Luke and Sera share more than parental drama and a type of sibling-friendship.

The twins each have a very special power that sets them a part from everyone else.  Sera can heal people completely, but takes on their pain as a result.  Luke has visions of the future that are never wrong.  Together, they work to try and prevent - or at least lessen - some things that Luke sees in the future.  Their powers are secretive, though, and cannot be revealed to their friends.  Luke and Sera have always felt alone in sharing the knowledge and weight of their powers.  Luke in particular feels the strain of seeing things before they happen, especially as he has never been able to prevent what he's seen in his visions.  The stress of this takes on an entirely new form when Luke has a vision of Sera - and she's dead.

Luke's vision isn't the only thing going wrong in his life.  Subtle changes are beginning to occur.  People are coming into his life - and Sera's - that are more than what they initially appear to be.  Marc, a mysterious boy who moves into town and is tormented by a group of Shadows, begins to date Sera.  His initial intentions don't involve romance, but instead getting close to the twins and potentially turning them over to the dark beings that have control over the extreme head pain he gets from his own unusual gift of mind-reading.  Fey, a friend of Luke and Sera's, suspects that something is off about Marc, but can't quite put her finger on it.  The twins' powers are attracting further attention from a group of vampires living in the area as well, and it isn't long before they realize that they aren't the only unusual beings on the block.  As their world becomes jumbled and confusing, Luke struggles to find a way to change his visions before it's too late.

Meyers introduces Intangible's main characters in a way that makes it very clear that Luke and Sera both have equal footing within the story - and rightly so.  Meyers also uses third person for the narration, so the focus on the siblings remains fairly equal between the two of them.  Both of the twins are easy to like as characters, and neither of them comes across as overtly annoying or frustrating.  They actually are written as fairly mature teens, with Luke and Sera having come to terms with a lot of what goes on in their home lives.  Their relationship with their parents is strained because of the post-divorce issues, but they understand why their parents act the way they do as a result of what happened.  The twins are best when they interact with each other, though, showing a lot of caring and humor in everything.  One doesn't often read about close siblings in YA, and Sera and Luke provide a nice break of sibling niceties to the mix.  Luke and Sera also have secrets, though, and occasionally get into surprisingly tense situations.  The worst thing I have to say about them is that they didn't grow as much as I would have liked them to throughout Intangible.  They stayed fairly consistent, and, though entertaining, they did not have a lot of clearly altered personality threads or ideas that signaled major character growth.

The minor characters have a surprising amount of focus in Intangible, and Meyers manages to do this without making the story seem ridiculously sporadic.  Meyers occasionally focuses on the other characters, but they are most often seen in interactions with the twins.  Marc is a troubled character with a surprising amount of uniqueness to him.  He is a fairly romantic guy towards Sera, but his troubles with accepting himself and dealing with the Shadows lead him into less-than-stellar territory.  It's also worth noting that Meyers doesn't attempt to make him seem perfect.  Even in Sera's eyes.  He isn't necessarily a romantic hero, but the romance he cultivates with Sera is deep and makes both of the characters seem more than placeholders for the plot.  Fey is also unique in that she is not only a friend to both twins, but a consistent friend that looks out for them.  She naturally has more to her than the twins initially realize, and the sad thing is that the reader doesn't see much of Fey as a fully-fleshed character because of how the plot movement of Intangible works out.  Needless to say, by the end of the book the reader full appreciates Fey, her friendship, and how she is a strong female character (much like Sera, actually - both are as strong as the boys of the novel).  Jonas is the final secondary character that is seen frequently in Intangible, and what's awesome about him is that A) he's a vampire, B) he's African American (and keeps the coloring as a vampire, thankfully), and C) his personality is very strong.  He's the type of character that is extremely strong, brooding, and sensible, but he doesn't come across as angsty.  He mainly gets involved to protect Sera - she seems special to him, but a lot of it is because she reminds him of his sister from  years past - but quickly becomes a vital piece of the plot in Intangible.  Other characters make appearances, too, and I would love to see them in future pieces by Meyers - especially since they all have something about them that strikes the reader as something memorable.

As with other self-published works, a lot of my enjoyment of Intangible came down to the writing.  For the first half of the book, I was not too impressed.  Meyers has a nice command of language and has edited the book cleanly, but the first half is slow and deals with a lot of character set-up.  The main focus is to spread the seeds of discord in the vampire-portions of the novel and to show Sera and Luke's friendship with Marc forming - as well as show their discovery of Jonas, other vampires, and how that pertains to their supernatural gifts.  Basically, there is a lot of characterization going on without a lot of forward movement in other things.  Meyers also jumps between characters more in this section, and it's hard to fully appreciate why that goes on.  It's not confusing, but it does make the reader wonder how everything ties together.  The second half of Intangible is much less slow, and instead focuses on how the plot fits together - and the dangers that the twins have to overcome.  Everything does end with a confrontation of the villain character, although it's not a cut-and-dry ending.  It basically allows the book to work as a standalone, but suggests that a sequel/spin-off/related work will have more to offer in the world.  Meyers does a fair amount of world building, too, and it works for the better.  Nothing in the book feels totally crazy or contrived - except maybe the villain, but even she has her moments of depth -  and what's best is that the world makes the reader want to read more.  I finished Intangible and wanted a continuation with new characters and new insights.  Meyers leaves the reader with the idea that a new type of series can be created, and the idea is enticing.  Aside from the problems with the pacing, Meyers' book feels as clean and polished as a well-edited traditionally published book.

There are a few self-published books that have really stood out to me as a new fan of digital books, and Intangible is definitely one of the better ones out there.  Yes, it has paranormal stuff out the wazoo, but the execution is far above average.  The main characters are fun, the secondary characters have a lot of great depth to them, and the writing, though at times slow, is clean and shows off the great world building.  Meyers also incorporates great character backstories and PoC characters like Jonas without making those qualities about them the center of their struggles.  Meyers creates an excellent world with Intangible, and I hope she writes more stories within it.

Cover:  The cover isn't very unique, but I could honestly see it on a traditionally published book.  That speaks for the quality.  I do enjoy the title font and purple tones.

Rating:  4.0  Stars

Copy:  Received from author for review  (Thank you, J. Meyers!)

Bonus:  A free prequel short story called Intuition is available for download for the Kindle and the like, and I have to say it's what got me to read the book.  It's quick, plot-based, and gives a decent introduction to the opening conflict of the book.

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