Friday, 6 January 2012

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Title: Entwined

Author: Heather Dixon

Date Read: January 3rd

On TBR for: 2 days

Format: ebook

Source: Bought

Challenges?: 2012 Outdo Yourself, Off the Shelf 2012, Fairy Tales Retold

Entwined is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses Fairytale. We start with Azalea preparing for a ball – her first one! – and dreading having to dance with the King, who is a very stiff dancer. But her mother is ill and someone has to take her place, and being the oldest of 11, the job falls to her.

But the ball never goes as planned – first the King never appears, then it ends prematurely. There are bad news, the eleven princesses become motherless. But they gain a little sister. The house enters in mourning, meaning that all their dresses are dyed black, the windows are draped in black, they cannot go out except on Royal Business, and *gasp* they cannot dance. And if there is something that these sisters like doing, it is dancing.

But this is a world with magic, and with magic they find a perfect place to dance – a silver forest with a magical pavilion, with music aplenty, and a guardian – Keeper, who is trapped there and wants their help to escape.

What first stands out on this book are the sheer number of characters – of course there would be many, it's the 12 Dancing Princesses, after all, but all of them get to be rather different from the others. And I really liked that they were so neatly named – bless the King with his organization and rules complex! – it was easier to set them apart this way. And what is this revolutionary technique? Well, they are named in alphabetical order: Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Eve, Flora and Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale and Lily! The older ones got more action, of course, and more screen time. But the young ones were adorable as well!

As for the story, it was sweet, not without its sadness and perils. But in the end, the feeling I have of this book is that it was sweet. I really liked the King and his part on the story, and was glad that the fact that he was mourning his wife was not forgotten. He was stiff, and it was understandable that the girls felt unloved, but all the time I couldn't hate him for it. And the more the story progressed, the more I liked him as a character – he did love his daughters, although I think he didn't really know what to do with so many of them and that he was overwhelmed by their energy and liveliness.

Keeper's part of the story did make my brain churn since he first appeared – there was something in him that put me on guard (unlike, for instance, Fairweller, who is despised by Azalea and Co., and who I did like him from the start). But Keeper's mystery soon became rather obvious, although I wasn't sure how it was going to play out. In the end it worked out fine (better than I had hoped) although it was a bit a cheating there to get to the happy ending – but I'm glad it ended that way.

I also liked the writing on this one – there was a hint of humour throughout it that I enjoyed, from arguments with magic sugar teeth, to sisterly gossiping and teasing. I loved the interactions between characters, especially between sisters. There were, however, parts where I felt a bit lost about the surroundings and about who was holding the little ones, especially Lily, who kept changing hands between sisters.

To sum it up, Entwined is a really sweet book, with very good characters. Well worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: Bewitched Bookworms | Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing | Confessions of a Book Addict | Cuidado com o Dálmata | Curling up by the Fire | Good Books & Good Wine | The Nerd's Wife

Similar Readings: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier [LT|GR]

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US

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