review: entwined by heather dixon

Author: Heather Dixon
Publication Date: 03/29/2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins)
Pages: 480
Source: Library

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.. (goodreads)

I adore Grimm's Fairy Tales, full stop. So when I saw that this book was a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses I was all over it, although everything about just looking at this book makes you want to pick it up. The cover art is gorgeous and the silver foil leaves and ivy coiling around the front are incredibly striking. Another book with great art direction.

The book starts out with a description of Azalea and her sisters' antics at glimpsing a peek of prior annual balls which really sets the stage for a host of twelve individual personalities. Although Azalea is our narrator, you do get a feel for most of the sisters, and with twelve of them I found myself really impressed by Dixon's ability to have each be unique. By the way, all of the sisters are named for flowers alphabetically from oldest to youngest, by the wish of the King, which I found incredibly amusing and quite apt to describe his character. This year Azalea is of age to attend her first ball: here she meets a curious new guest, some interesting presents under the tree, and receives some terrible news that sets the stage for the rest of the book.

Entwined is really an incredibly sweet and touching retelling. The first 60 or so pages of exposition are a bit slow, but from there the pace really gains speed. After I hit that sort of sweet spot I couldn't put it down. One of my favorite things about it was her ability to write it in an old sort of rather proper English that would seem out of place most everywhere else but fits perfectly and aids the tone of the story. By the end of the book I found myself wanting to learn how to properly dance. No, I'm not kidding - doesn't the Entwine sound like fun?

I will happily and heartily recommend this book to just about anyone who loves a good story - and I read this book outside on a sunny day, but it would be perfect to curl up with on a rainy day, too. And - don't give up on the King! He's my favorite character and he will surprise you!

4 comments on "review: entwined by heather dixon"

Sara wrote: Fri May 13, 04:43:00 PM

I loved this one. I read it at the height of my fairy tale retelling kick so it was perfect.

kaye (paper reader) wrote: Fri May 13, 10:16:00 PM

Do you have others that you would recommend? These sort of books are perfect for rainy day reading and I wouldn't mind reading some others in general anyhow. ENTWINED was was completely feel good and so well done. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

We Heart YA wrote: Sat May 14, 10:25:00 PM

Yay, the post is back!

We're so glad you liked ENTWINED. It's one of our favorite reads this year.

They're not fairytale retellings, but we highly recommend THE BLUE SWORD and THE HERO AND THE CROWN by Robin McKinley, if you haven't read them already. Heather Dixon reminded us a lot of a "Robin McKinley lite" hehe. (Also, PEGASUS by McKinley is amazing, but it's a part 1 of 2, and 2 doesn't come out till next year.)

kaye (paper reader) wrote: Sat May 14, 10:37:00 PM

I just looked THE BLUE SWORD up on goodreads and it has such glowing reviews - immediately added. I'm going to make a note to read PEGASUS at the end of the year closer to publication of book two. Thank you so much for the recs!

ENTWINED is on my to-buy list as I like my bookshelf completely overflowing. ;)

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