Author: Heather Dixon
POV: 3rd person by Azalea, past tense
Genre: YA fantasy, fairytale retelling
Source: Physical Copy
Release: March 29th, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 4 Stars
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. 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.
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This book had some new elements I've never read about!
Entwined is a retelling of the fairytale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. As a child, I really liked that fairytale, so I was intrigued. This story features Azalea, the eldest of the twelve princesses, and future queen. All the sisters love dancing, but suddenly, everything is taken away with the death of their mother. As dictated by the laws, the sisters are confined to the palace for a year of mourning, not allowed to dance or go outside for fun. That is, until they meet the mysterious Keeper, who lets them dance their sorrows away every night in his secret pavilion...
I really liked how well thought out this book was. The basis of the fairytale is that twelve sisters dance the night away in secret, wearing their slippers to shreds. The author is able to cleverly set up the stage for these events, formulating the circumstances that allow the sisters to find the secret passage and the reasons they have for wanting to dance every night. We also are introduced to the Keeper, who brings a new set of conflicts to the original tale, ultimately driving the plot of this book forward. Very clever, indeed, and very well thought out!
Azalea was easy enough to like. As the future queen, she has a lot of things on her mind. The aspect of an arranged marriage isn't something she takes lightly, but she also must handle her sisters. She bears a lot of responsibility, trying to do the right thing and be a good role model for her sisters. She also becomes the prime target for the Keeper, as she has the power to convince everyone to either go dance or not dance. And when danger does come, and her family is threatened, Azalea does not hesitate to jump into action.
One of the themes I enjoyed was the theme of family. Azalea is the eldest of the twelve sisters, which all their ages varying to being one year old. It's not easy to keep track of all the sisters, but Azalea does her best, and she looks out for them like their mother used to. She loves her sisters very much and does what she can for them, including finding their dancing slippers and mending them for everyone to wear. Another aspect was the sisters' relationship with their father, the King. At the beginning, everyone calls him "Sir" rather than "Papa," and he retreats from his twelve daughters when the queen passes away. He doesn't help the situation when he leaves for war immediately after; rather than being their for his family, he gives the impression that he willingly leaves everyone for Azalea to deal with, which causes all the sisters to hate him. The story develops their relationship with the sisters (particularly Azalea) and the King, how the go from distant to close. A good family story!
This was a neat book, filled with such details of the various kinds of dances that exist out there. Waltzes, jigs, polkas, reels, there were so many! It was definitely neat to read about these different kinds of dances, and for Azalea to knew every single one of them. I would have preferred to see a little more magic and bravery in the book, along with a slightly faster pacing, but it still was a good read! Pick it up if you're looking for something a little different, and for a story about magic, family, oaths, and of course, dancing!
I also want to thank Cindy from The Chronicles of A Book Maniac for recommending this to me! Thank you! :)