I love a good space opera, so I was curious when I heard about Entangled. It is about a girl named Cade who is quantum entangled (connected at a molecular level) to a boy named Xan. The pair were separated at a young age by the scientists who created them, and Cade has grown up never knowing Xan or that she even had a past. Then one day she feels a mental connection to him that stretches across light years and calls her to him. But of course there is danger. Quantum entanglement is the key to allowing humans to travel across the stars without getting “space sick”, and there are alien races who aren’t too fond of that idea. This is the groundwork for the fun adventure that Capetta weaves together.
I liked the tonal quality of the story, at least initially, and after reading a sample of the book it’s what drew me in and got me on board with buying it. I’m a little tired of the first person POV stories that we tend to get in YA, and I liked that this was third person. Not only that, I liked that Capetta inflected the writing with some style that gave the book a distinct feel. I will say that as the story went on the heavy use of music analogies got a little tiresome for me, but it still fit with Cade as a character, and in some instances it actually served to describe the state of Cade’s entanglement and her ability to connect with other beings very well.
However, the worst stylistic choice in the story was the swearing. I’m personally of the opinion that you should use real fucking curse words or not include swearing in your story. I hated “frak” from Battlestar Galactica, and the go to curse of “snug” or “snugging” in this story is even worse. It conveys nothing, sounds silly, and basically took me out of the narrative flow every time I saw it.
I also thought the characters were pretty strong. I liked that Cade has several shipmates who are also human women. I feel like space opera is a genre largely dominated by male protagonists, or in cases where there are female protagonists they are sort of the “strong woman in a man’s world” type. Cade is a female lead with female friends, which was a nice change from that sort of thing.
As far as world building, I liked that there were many alien races that appeared in the story, and for me that made the setting feel expansive. However, all in all, we really don’t see too much of the world in this book. Almost the entire story takes place on a spaceship. This didn’t bother me for this story, but this is a three book series, so I’m hoping that in future novels we get to explore a little more of the planets in this setting.
One thing I also liked about the book was how it ended. But if you’re not interested in SPOILERS, you should stop reading here…
Okay, so when I read the initial premise of the book I was really worried that Cade would end up with Xan. It felt a lot like the typical YA “destined to be together romance” that I’m really not a huge fan of. But I liked the book stylistically early on, and it wasn’t very long, so I figured I’d give at least the first book in this series a shot. And I was rewarded.
Cade does not end up with Xan. And in fact I don’t think she can in future books, since he ends up more or less dead (though I won’t go into how). I thought it was great that Capetta avoided this expected cliche finish and instead offered a more compelling end to the first volume wherein Cade chooses not to be with Xan at all, though this decision also costs her, and I’ll be curious to see how that plays out in future volumes.
All-in-all I thought that Entangled was an enjoyable read for anyone who likes a good old fashioned, romping, space opera adventure. If you’re looking for something that explores new scientific ideas or pushes genre envelopes, then this book isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for something fun, then I can certainly recommend this.