Entwined by Heather Dixon (thoughts)
From the publisher’s website:
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.
Entwined is a retelling of the Grimm’s tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses“, one that I’m sure I had never heard of previous to reading this book. Either that, or it just failed to attach itself to my memory bank. In any case, it’s a quick tale of an overbearing father with a gaggle of daughters who manage to sneak out and dance the night away without anyone seeing them come or go.
I really, really liked this book. I skimmed the Grimm tale’s wikipedia article (research, that’s how it’s done, right?) just after I started the book, so I knew the basics of what was going to happen. And I thought that Dixon did a fantastic job at fleshing out the tale.
First of all, well done Heather Dixon on making all twelve sisters their own, unique people. At first, the specific characteristics seemed heavy handed: Eve has Glasses and likes to Read. Bramble (YAY BRAMBLE!) is Impulsive and Fiery. But, as the story progressed, those characteristics along with the fact that the sisters were named alphabetically made the story much easier to follow. Also, I’m just going to mention that Azalea isn’t nearly as superficial as the description makes her out to be. She’s really not that worried about balls and fancy dresses, she’s just worried about her sisters and their well being. And dancing just happens to increase their well being.
Secondly, Dixon managed to make the King a sympathetic character. That’s not much of an easy task when faced with a character who LOCKS his daughters in their room at night. Actually, Entwined‘s King doesn’t literally lock them in (I don’t think), but they definitely have an abundance of restrictions put on them. But there were Reasons behind his decisions, even if they didn’t make much sense to the daughters.
Thirdly: Hidden passages! Bewitched tea sets! Carnivorous rugs! It was like a more menacing Beauty & The Beast castle. And anything that reminds me of Beauty & The Beast is going to win me over.
Finally – this doesn’t have anything to do with the story – but hey look at that cover. A girl in a pretty dress, running from something. Guess what? This book actually features girls wearing pretty dresses who have to run from things. A cover that actually kind of matches the story. Crazy.
In conclusion – I liked this book and if you’re in the mood for something fairytale-ish, I suggest giving this a try.
PS – Since finishing Entwined I have been introduced to Heather Dixon’s blog and have been highly entertained by it.