Sunday, June 19, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Beth says 5 Stars…

I actually fell in love with this cover. Lately there have been some amazing covers and this one just stood out to me. I didn’t particularly pay attention to what it was about, so when I read the summary I got insanely excited. Not only do I adore fairy tale retellings, but this is one of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, my absolute favorite fairy tale of all time. I absolutely loved Jessica Day George’s version, so I have very high standards for this particular story. Dixon did a wonderful job altering the plot to increase its depth and scope. Since I already had a general idea of where things needed to go, I didn’t have any confusion over what was happening and why. The few things that at the time seemed slightly odd worked their way into sense by the end of the novel. For me it explained why the girls needed to go dancing in the first place; not only were they trapped in the house by the mourning period, but they also truly loved to dance. The intensity of their need made it easy to understand why they would do something that otherwise seemed illogical. The darkness of the story drew me in and aged it up for me. No longer could the girls just dance freely without any trouble other than that from their father. The book is also fairly long, coming close to 500 pages. At that length it easily could have had serious pacing issues, yet none existed. Nowhere did the book drag or go too fast and leave my head spinning; I remained constantly engrossed. I’m also impressed because this is Dixon’s debut, which suggests to me that her novels will get even better, something I look forward to because of how amazing this first one is already.

The general version of the fairy tale has the girls all with flower names, but Dixon cleverly enhanced that. The girls were named (all flowers, of course) in alphabetical order, which really helped me keep them all straight, because when there are 12 sisters of varying ages any help with remembering how old they are is welcome. Azalea held the role of oldest sister and heroine well, managing her younger sisters and keeping the peace. I loved how she actually took responsibility for her actions when things began to turn sour instead of playing the delightful blame game. Although there was some romance, it really didn’t take the focus of the novel. Instead it gave way to both grief and love, with the love not necessarily being romantic. The relationships within the family really were delightfully written, and what I would imagine having a large number of siblings would be like. You could always tell that even when the girls were extremely annoyed with one another, the undercurrent of love still remained. They used each other as support throughout everything, but still tried to protect whoever was younger from any harm. Despite the fact that the book centered on Azalea, the other princesses did get some decent page time. Bramble in particular had me in stitches on more than one occasion because of her feisty temper and lack of verbal filter.

This is a complete and total must read. If you grew up loving this original story you won’t be disappointed in this new version. Instead of trying to change it into something entirely new, it just took the best parts of the old and enhanced them will small bits of the new. If you want something dark, lush, and filled with magical dancing grab this now. If not, read it anyway because everyone should. Don’t be scared by the length, because it’s a fast read that makes you wish for more.
Book from Library


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