Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon



OhmygoodnessOhmygoodness.

I've been on a kick for fairy tale retellings and this one was amazing!

Look at that cover art. That dress is to die for.  I'm shopping for wedding dresses right now and while I wouldn't necessarily wear *that* one, it has probably influenced what I'm loving on designer websites.

The cover shows what I think is part of their little kingdom they have with Keeper or maybe what they long for in their real kingdom with their father.  Keeper has a garden and I love the idea of Azalea running through it in a beautiful dress.  Running to something or running from it?

The plot was wonderful. It follows the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses which is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale originally. I had completely forgotten the plotline of the story, despite being in a play of it when I was younger.  This felt like a unique interpretation of it.  It doesn't feel like a copy of another story though. While I could easily recognize the original plot line, the characters were intense and it was easy to forget that I had heard the story before.

Azalea is the oldest sister and all of the princesses are named after flowers, alphabetically. They live in a structured world where their father maintains strict rules and guidelines. Her sisters are mischievous though, ranging in age from 16 to a newborn and love getting into all sorts of unapproved trouble. Azalea and her sisters focus mostly on balls, beautiful dresses, and dancing the night away without a care in the world. 

Their mother teaches their dance lessons and all of the girls want to dance the nights away but most of them are not old enough yet.  The most complex dance is called the Entwine where a lady and a gentleman dance with a strip of fabric between them and the turnings of the dance can lead to the lady being "caught" by the man.  Only great dancers can avoid being wrapped up in the fabric and the Queen was one of the best in the kingdom.  Their lives are magical and lighthearted.

Tragedy strikes though and Azalea has to step up and take control of everything, even her newborn little sister. Their father, the King, goes off to take care of a war, leaving them to their own devices under intense scrutiny and more rules to follow. This means no parties, no guests, no frivolity and worst of all, no dancing.

Their only refuge comes in the mysterious Keeper, locked away for centuries under the castle.

He lets them dance. Every night, the princesses descend to the hidden ballroom and dance the night away, cheering each other and lifting their spirits. When they sneak back into bed, their dancing shoes are worn and they have temporarily forgotten the despair that is over the household.  They faithfully repair their dancing shoes but eventually find themselves going barefoot.  Keeper is not altruistic and has hidden motives though. Like his name suggests, he likes to keep things and he doesn't like letting go.

I loved the way this book was written.  It didn't necessarily feel like a full on fairytale all the way through.  It was mysterious and creepy.  While I knew the plot and the story was somewhat familiar, I was still frequently surprised by the twists the author put into it.  Sometimes fairytales and retellings can fall flat because there isn't enough depth to the characters but this wasn't so with this book.  All of the sisters had personalities and time was dedicated to each of them.  You came to understand them as humans and people interacting with the world.  They had motivations and jealousies and all the things that make a character well rounded.

This book was magical in every way. It was not bogged down in detail and the characters really came to life. While it was true to the original story, it gave reason and meaning to it.  If you are going to go for a fairytale retelling, this is a good one.  The story isn't as familiar and overdone as Cinderella or Snow White and is subtle in its roots.  Honestly, this book would have been just as enjoyable if I hadn't heard the fairytale it is based on.  It can stand on its own.


6 comments:

  1. OMG!! I have been looking for a 12 dancing princess story forever!! Great review i will def be picking this one up!
    ps - that dress is gorgeous!
    ~ Britt

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    1. This book is a really fun read :-) The girls have a lot of personality.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I've heard a lot about this one... and as you've also given it 5 stars, I guess even I'll have to read this :)
    BTW great review... :D

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    1. You definitely should. It's an interesting take on the story line and one that hasn't been corrupted by Disney.

      Thank you so much!

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  3. Yes, that is a very lovely dress!! I'm on a binge of re-tellings right now, it's all I've been reading. Looks like I have another book to be added to my list! xD
    Azee @ UnderCover Critique

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    1. Me too! Re-tellings are absolutely wonderful sometimes and absolutely horrid other times. This one was a gem!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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