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4.05.2011

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Hardcover $17.99 (480 pages, GREENWILLOW BOOKS)
Ebook $9.99
Audiobook $44.00

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.

Author Site: unavailable

Lush, Atmospheric, Fresh (5 stars)

In this elegant, chilling retelling of the Brothers Grimm's classic Twelve Dancing Princesses, debut author Heather Dixon proves to be an author to watch. Azalea, eldest of the twelve daughters of the King loves to dance more than anything. When a tragedy puts the family into mourning dancing is forbidden. But with the King away at war the girls find a way to dance in secret. A magical room hidden away within the palace where a mysterious young man, known to them only as Keeper, waits each night to welcome them to his pavilion. Dancing until their slippers are worn through each night, the twelve sisters continue sneaking away unaware that their strange host waits like a spider with the darkest intentions.

When the King returns and discovers the tattered slippers it is only the oath sworn by his daughters that keeps him from knowing the truth. Taking matters into his own hands he advertises a bargain to any young nobleman who can discover where the princesses dance each night. Several suitors come in hopes of winning Azalea's hand and the possibility of being the future king. But will the one who discovers the secret be too late?

I have a great passion for well-done retelling of classic fairytales and Entwined falls into that category with ease. Beautiful, atmospheric and intense it was difficult to put down. The characters were all so well sketched and consistent I felt like I was right there with them. Azalea was a heroine flawed and lovely, motherly and yet youthful. Each sister had a personality of her own and Dixon managed to balance them well considering how many there were. The different fellows who came to try and discover the secret were each unique and amusing in their own ways. The King in particular really won my heart with his growth as a ruler and father. Keeper was one of the most chillingly creepy villains I have read to date and this was done with such subtlety and flare he made my skin crawl, literally.

The plot does run a little slow at times, with the princesses stuck in the palace for mourning there are times when you could feel their frustration, their boredom. The magic within the plot is interesting and explained just enough to be useful for the plot but not heavy. Romantic elements are subtle throughout the first two-thirds of the tale but become an important part of the story as the suitors come to attempt figuring out where the princesses are dancing. If you love a romance there is more than one happening in this story which for me made it that much more enjoyable.

With Entwined I was thoroughly entertained, pulled through many emotional highs and lows. I loved this book. I would recommend it for fans of romantic fantasy but especially for readers who like fairytale retellings. While this is a young adult book I think it would be suitable for all ages, keeping in mind it might be a bit scary for the youngest readers. I will be looking forward to more from Dixon, whom I hope plans to write more retellings with the same imaginative twists and romantic undertones she pulled off so well here.

Other Reviews:
Amy on Reading Teen
Confessions of a Book Addict
Icey Books
The Serpentine Library
Proud Book Nerd


Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.

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