Twisted is the loose retelling of Aladdin and the fourth book in the Never After series. Each book in the series brilliantly reimagines popular fairytales in a modern, non-magical setting.
Author: Emily McIntire
Series: Never After Series
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
Page Number: 366 pages
Audible Listening Time: 10 hours and 44 mins
Goodreads Rating: 4.01/5
My Rating: 3/5
Twisted follows Julian Faraci and Yasmin Karam, the daughter of the wealthiest man in the world. As her father's trusted right-hand man, Julian has his sights set on taking over the family business when the time is right. However, Yasmin's father has other plans - he intends to pass on the reins to Yasmin's future husband. With her father's health rapidly deteriorating, Yasmin is under immense pressure to find a suitable husband quickly.
Julian sees an opportunity in Yasmin's predicament and stops at nothing to manipulate the situation to his advantage. He sends Yasmin's lover to Egypt to search for a priceless lamp that could secure his position in the family business. Julian's ultimate plan is to marry Yasmin and then eliminate her, leaving him in complete control of the company.
However, fate has other ideas as Julian and Yasmin finds themselves unable to resist their intense attraction to each other. As their relationship deepens, they are forced to confront their unwanted feelings and decide whether to follow their hearts or stick to their original plans.
Twisted is a book that I call a real ‘Enimies to Lovers’. Julian, the male lead, is a ruthless character who will stop at nothing to gain control of the family business, even if it means planning to kill Yasmin, the female lead. He believes that he is the only one who deserves to control the entire empire, and in some ways, he is right.
However, Yasmin's father has already made up his mind to follow the 'Nepotism' way, which means Yasmin is determined to keep Julian from gaining control of the business, as she had promised her dying father to take care of it. The clashing motivations of the characters create a compelling dynamic that makes Twisted an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Julian's character in Twisted is a pure villain, and his actions throughout the book are truly heinous. Unlike the male protagonists in the previous books of the Never After series, who veered towards the anti-hero archetype, Julian is unapologetically ruthless and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He is the type of villain that readers will love to hate. But his way of killing men comes off as a little caricaturish to me
Yasmin is a somewhat naïve protagonist, often lashing out at Julian but not always coming up with clever strategies to outmaneuvre him. Her relationship with her lover is so lame that I forgot his name, but that is what the author intended. But her straight-up abandoning her childhood love for someone she apparently "hates" after minimal interaction with Julian felt odd to me.
The plot and actions of the characters are definitely questionable in a dark romance, but that is precisely what readers of this genre expect. However, as a responsible reader, I firmly believe that the line must be drawn at the depiction of dubious consent. Twisted is pretty tame in this regard.
While Twisted is a decent addition to the Never After series, I found that the chemistry between Julian and Yasmin was the weakest aspect of Twisted. As an avid reader of adult romance, I know that strong and believable attraction is essential to keep me invested in the story. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the main characters in Twisted failed to capture my attention.
Additionally, the smut scenes did not appeal to me, which is a crucial factor in my enjoyment of an adult romance novel. Despite the presence of the enemies-to-lovers trope, which is a favourite of mine, the lack of sexual tension made Twisted fall short of my expectations, and I would rate it as average at best.
She's his diamond in the rough. He's her worst nightmare.
Yasmin Karam, daughter to one of the richest men in the world, has never known strife. So, when her beloved father falls ill, she's determined to make his final days his happiest. His last wish? To see her married to a man of his choosing. Except Yasmin's heart already belongs to someone else. A servant. A street rat. A man her father would never consider worthy. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Yasmin strikes a desperate deal with her father's right-hand man, Julian, not realizing he has his own twisted agenda.
Julian Faraci has one goal: become the most powerful man in the world. He's built a future from broken bones and faded bruises, never caring who he hurt along the way. But when his mentor falls ill, he finds himself on the verge of losing everything, and he'll stop at nothing to inherit what is rightfully his. Even if it means forcing a woman he can't stand into marriage.
Yasmin is a brat who speaks out of turn, and he's the villain of her story. But he decides she'll be his no matter what it takes to convince her.
Twisted is a dark, contemporary romance (not fantasy or a literal retelling) and the fourth complete standalone in the Never After series: a collection of fractured fairy tales inspired by our favorite villains. It features mature themes and content that may not be suitable for all readers. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.*