Entwined by Heather Dixon
Published: March 29, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
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.
This is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I had a picture book when I was young and I loved it. I’m not sure what the official version of the tale is, and according to the ever-trustworthy internet, it isn’t a Grimm fairy tale. Anyway, this book is enthralling, with a villain who sugarcoats his sinister nature.
Reasons I love this book:
- Azalea – I love how feisty and hot-tempered Azalea got whenever someone dared wrong one of her sisters. She has so much responsibility, watching out for 11 younger sisters while the castle is in mourning, and she refuses to let the King intimidate her and fights for her sisters’ right to choose who to marry. Another thing I loved is how she never let Keeper get his clutches on her sisters. She knew something was off about him and she protected them.
- Lord Bradford – Here is a wonderful gentleman who is kind without being perfect. He isn’t everything Azalea had hoped, but he makes up for it in other ways.
- no love triangle – I am so happy that the villain of this story is almost always seen for what he truly is by Azalea (and by her sisters to some extent). For once, the heroine doesn’t shove aside the off-putting traits of the guy to have a romantic encounter. She actually trusts her instincts.
- grand finale – When everything comes to a head and a battle of sorts breaks out, it is anything but disappointing. There is plenty of time devoted to this conclusion, and there’s just enough back and forth between the 2 sides to keep you guessing.
- Bramble & Clover’s love lives – While it’s nice that not everything focused on Azalea, I never really got into her sisters’ love lives and wasn’t emotionally invested in who they ended up with at all.
- Keeper – He’s dark and elegant, the creepiest gentleman you could imagine, a smooth-talking, good-looking guy who seems to offer you everything you want, while he silently takes everything you have. So creepy.
- routine – The princesses’ days are so repetitive and, as this is a pretty long book, we are treated to many of their days. It seems like each day something special happens, but the book dragged a little more each time I had to read about them eating breakfast. Maybe if more than 1 special event happened in a single day it wouldn’t have dragged as much.
- “Sorry. I just had to apologize. About tonight. Honestly, we don’t kick or bite or throw potatoes at all our guests.” A crooked smile touched Lord Bradford’s lips. “Your family has spirit,” he said, taking his hat from Azalea. “I enjoyed the evening.” “Well, yes, you’ve just come from a war,” said Azalea. – Azalea & Lord Bradford pg. 175
- This was a masked ball, something Azalea had only heard of. In her imagination they had been more innocent; gentleman dressed as hussars and ladies with white, glittery masks attached to a stick. Not this chaotic meshing of gilded beasts and opulent monsters. – pg. 258
An enthralling fairy tale with a dark side.
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