by Heather Dixon
Release Date: March 29, 2011
2011 Greenwillow Books
Softcover Edition ARC: 474 Pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father's grief. What they don't understand - although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in - is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose.
Entwined was a fun, delightful read, loosely based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" ("The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes") published in 1812. While I found this novel to be enjoyable and lighthearted fun, it wasn't one of those novels that gripped me or developped any of the darker elements that can be found in the Brothers Grimm story. To be honest, I had difficulty continuing this novel in one sitting, and actually had to put it down for a while before reading it through to the end.
While Azalea was intended to be the main character in this novel and she grew on me as the novel progressed, I actually found myself more impressed with Bramble and the way she constantly fought against everything; she wasn't as willing to take everything as given fact and just go with the flow as Azalea was prone to do. Azalea did begin fighting back more and more as events unfolded, but I still wished she had more of a backbone to her as she will be queen one day; it's not a position I can actually see her in. And while I liked how Ms. Dixon tried really hard to give all of the characters individuality, it seemed a little forced at times; how many times can Azalea dig her nails into her palms without blood seeping down her arms? I also found the focus on the dancing to be a little much; while it's central to the novel, I found the constant talk of dancing, and solving all of your problems through dance to be a bit much. Don't get me wrong, the dance between the Keeper and Azalea was necessary and fascinating, but some of the other dances seemed to be space fillers rather than important to the story.
While I enjoyed the plot, there were some things that did bother me. First of all, the issues with the royal palace and the lack of money were never really explained. It was kind of ambiguous as the girls were lacking food and clothing, yet they had servants and other things that were very contradictory to the state in which they lived. I also had a problem with some of the language and the short forms. Things like R.B. (Royal Business), and modern lingo were used constantly and for some reason it bothered me as it didn't seem to fit into the setting of the story. I never did figure out exactly how some of the enchantments occurred in the novel as it wasn't fully explained. And sugar teeth? I never figured out what those were exactly. In the end, I found the plot to be loose and full of holes, but at the same time, there were still many elements that were enjoyable and fun. Unfortunately, some of the negatives did impact on the many positives for me. The story was either too slow, or contained too many irrelevancies that interfered with the flow of what could have been a really great story.
Entwined was an enjoyable read, and while I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read re-worked fairytales, for me the plot was simply too shallow, not containing enough depth to really grab and hold my interest for long. I found the novel to be fairly repetitive and while I did enjoy some of the magical enchantments and some of the dancing elements, I thought the modern dialogue interfered with the more Victorian setting. Ms. Dixon writes with an engaging style however, and while I was not crazy about this one which is perhaps more suited to a younger age group, I would definitely pick up another of her novels based on her writing alone.