Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Title:  Entwined
Author:  Heather Dixon
Genre:  YA Fairy-tale retelling
Pages:  472

Rating:  B

Synopsis from  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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was very excited to read Entwined when I found out it was a retelling of the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses.  So many other fairy tales are adapted and retold, but this one rarely gets touched.  Needless to say, I was intrigued, but I didn't really love the book.

The book has a great premise.  After their mother dies and their father leaves for war, the twelve princesses discover a magic pavilion run by the dark and mysterious Keeper, where they can dance to their hearts' content to forget their sorrows.  But it turns out that there's more to the Keeper than they realized, and now they're trapped into doing his bidding.  I loved this concept, the overall plot, and the action; the final climax was awesome.  The romances that developed between several of the princesses and their suitors were also sweet or funny or both, depending on the situation.  I'd fall in love with Mr. Bradford too!

The only problem with the book was the princesses themselves.  The littlest ones didn't really have personality, and the middle sisters just whined and complained a lot.  If the book had simply been about the three oldest princesses- Azalea, Bramble, and Clover (yes, they're in cliched alphabetical order and named after plants)- I probably would have enjoyed Entwined so much more.  Even though Azalea is the story's main character, these three princesses each had a distinct and unique personality that got a chance to shine.  Sadly, Bramble & Azalea both tended to become bratty at points too, especially when dealing with their father, but overall I liked both their characters.

Perhaps if the author had taken more time to give the nine younger sisters more character development, rather than spend a lot of time describing the dancing they did, the book would have been better.  That being said, I still thought it was a good read, with its magic, battles, mystery, and romance.  B

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