Saturday, July 2, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Greenwillow, 472 pages

"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 of 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."

What first drew me to this book, besides the beautiful cover, was that it is based on my favorite childhood fairytale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." I thought that "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" would be an interesting fairytale to base a novel off of, so I decided to give it a try. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

The book starts off with the mother of the twelve princesses dying. This means that the entire castle has to be in mourning for a year- all black clothing, curtains drawn, and worst of all, no dancing. Azalea, the eldest princess, is left to take care of all eleven of her sisters, even when the king, their father, is too grief-stricken to care for them. He is soon off to war and Azalea is completely in charge, and determined to keep her sisters not only healthy, but happy. With her every effort at this thwarted by the palace caretakers, Azalea is forced to take desperate measures, leading the girls to the Keeper.

One of the things that makes Entwined so entertaining is its unique blend of genres- historical fiction and paranormal. While the setting is primarily a castle that might remind you of the late 1800s, there are also magicked objects and people. This allows for just the right amount of chivalrous charm and adventure mixed together. The blend of genres makes Entwined an interesting read.

Heather Dixon also does a fantastic job with comic relief- an element that some young adult literature lacks. Humor is thrown in at just the right moment when the plot starts getting intense or sad, and I found myself laughing out loud at this book. If you like sarcastic humor, you'll probably love this book.

Most of the funny remarks come from the second eldest sister, Bramble, who is by far my favorite character. Bramble is a little bit of a contrast to Azalea, who is the main character. While Azalea is refined and tries her best to be polite and proper, Bramble tends to throw all caution to the wind and completely be herself. She is the schemer of the sisters, and is usually persuasive enough to get all eleven of them to go along with her plans. She is stubborn if not somewhat disrespectful, which adds a lot of humor considering the era in which the story is set.

Entwined is beautifully written. The plot goes at just the right pace, and Heather Dixon's word choice gives the story an easy flow. This book is definitely a page turner, and is worth reading.

Rating: 4 stars- I really liked it. Worth buying.

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