By Heather Dixon
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.
Why I Picked This Book: I love fairy tales. When searching for a new take on an old thing, I came across Entwined and decided to give it a try.
Entwined was an enchanting read. Heather Dixon took a well-known fairy tale, and gave it something more than just its bedtime appeal. I have been searching for a magical, fairy tale read. And this one stuck true to that need.
The kingdom is broke. Magic barely exists anymore, except in strange tea kettles and the clock tower bell. The only thing that provides any sort of magic for the eleven princesses is dancing. But when their mother dies giving birth to princess number twelve, the king banishes dancing. The castle goes into mourning. No windows can be open. No colors worn except for black. And most of all: No Dancing.
Azalea, the oldest of the princesses, now has to step up and take care of her sisters as their father disappears off to war, lost in his own grief. It isn't long until they find a hidden, magical passageway. One that leads to a dance hall kept by the mysterious Keeper. The girls have found their release, their escape to dancing, but at what price?
Dixon has a way with words, and builds this world from the ground up. It was easy to get lost in the story. The story did feel like it ran rather long. Still, it captivated me and pulled me along.
Azalea was a well rounded protagonist. Learning to become mother to her sisters, fighting for what she needs in life, and still full of weakness and tenderness. It was kind of sad to see that the other sisters never got a chance to be as well defined. I know. There were twelve of them. Still, I felt at many times that I was mixing up who was who and never could really connect to this sister bond they all shared. It was more Azalea, and the sisters.
As for Keeper. He has all the potential of a dark, menacing antagonist. You never know what to expect from him next, and he lures the girls in with ease. Sadly, he fell short for me. There was something I couldn't quite place that left this character feeling hallow at times. I just couldn't fully be afraid of him like I felt I should be. Still, I enjoyed his dark, twisted self.
There are love stories in the mix too. I would have liked to see some of them explored a bit more. But with how long the book was already, I know that would make it too much.
I think the only other reason that this story didn't fully grab me and make me fall head over heels in love with it... was the time era. I have never been a fan of Jane Austen era stories. Entwined rings of that era, which instantly put me off a bit. Not enough to stop reading. But just enough that it made it a little harder for me to stay in touch.
All in all, I did enjoy this book. I will no doubt be buying it in paper copy soon. If you enjoy anything from the "Price and Prejudice" type era, or are just looking for a nice fairy tale to get lost in, give Entwined a chance.
(3 out of 5 stars)