Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Entwined

It's no secret that a writer friend of mine and I frequently haunt book stores. We search YA sections looking for something different ... and that's when I found Heather Dixon's Entwined, which is a retelling of the fairy tale, the twelve dancing princesses. I hadn't thought of that story in years, and so I picked it up.
Here's the synposis: 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.


What I liked:
The fairy tale quality of this book is wonderful, the writing is well done, and Dixon's strong suit is her world building. The hidden room where the Keeper lives is vivid, and I could clearly see the clock tower, the castle, and even the fight scenes. Also, I loved the fact that the princesses danced as a coping mechanism for grief. It's so true that the arts give us an outlet in the darkest times of our lives. It only made sense to me that the girls would want to carry on something that their mother did so magnificently.

*Spoiler Alert!* 

My pinch points:
I love a good strong lead, and our girl, Azalea, simply doesn't fit into this category. I couldn't believe for one minute that, even finding a place to dance, any older sister sworn to take care of 11, yes 11, younger sisters would take them to a place so full of danger. Too, Keeper, the mysterious man they meet in the magical room, leaves bruises on her and puts her through quite a bit of mental anguish and yet she kept going back. Also, while I understand what the author was trying to do with the king's character, he came off as two dimensional and boorish. There is a great opportunity here to flesh out his character, really show his angst as a leader who had just lost the love of his life, and yet he just seems not to care about anyone or anything. My last bone to pick is a pretty big one. One of Azalea's younger sisters, Clover, is a beauty. She is shy, has a stammer, but despite that one of the king's closest confidants ends up falling in love with her. Ewww... she's like 14 or 15 and he's in his thirties. I don't care if "that's how they used to do it" just ... ewww.

If you're looking for something that will satisfy a fairy tale need, then I think you would enjoy Entwined.  If you more of a paranormal or contemporary fan, I'd skip this one.