Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 29 2011
My Source: ARC from publisher
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.
Entwined is a re-telling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses (link to the wikipedia article here if you've never heard the original story- which I hadn't before reading this book). Knowing it was a fairy tale retelling- which is perhaps my favorite genre ever because it's filled with the 2 best things- fantasy and romance- I was so excited to get an ARC of this book.
The main character, Azalea, is the eldest of 12 sisters (all named after flowers or plants and also alphabetical to their birth order which is very clever and cute of the author). She was a fantastic main character because of the way she carried the responsibility of being the oldest unselfishly but struggled with pursuing her own desires. I could relate to Azalea and really rooted for her. Her sisters were also just as charming and 3-Dimensional- Bramble, the second eldest, was a hilarious trouble-maker, and Clover, the third eldest, who was the most beautiful but had speech issues which she worked to overcome. All the younger sisters were very cute and funny as well.
The thing that lacked in this book was a rich world building. I was never sure if we were in the real world or a fantasy land (most likely some combination of the two) and for all the political stuff this book contained it didn't explain much about the kingdom at all. I would've loved to see an in-depth world being built, but it just wasn't there. So I had trouble placing this story and figuring out what the real stakes of losing the kingdom were.
The romance was subtle, but very sweet. Rather than love-at-first-sight, it was a gradual build up that culminated at the end of the book where I couldn't stop turning the pages. I found myself rooting for all 3 of the eldest sisters to find love and squealing in delight over the fairy-tale ending that was not entirely predictable.
One thing I struggled with though was the lack of a plot for about the 1st half of the book- it took me awhile to get into it because all that was happening was the girls mourning their mother's death and hating their father. Even when the plot and conflict arose, I found it seemed very simple and uncomplicated and like the world-building, it could've been way more in depth.
The writing quality itself was relatively simple, so it wasn't hard to read but it wasn't that fantastic or lyrical either.
Overall, I enjoyed the princesses characters and their love interests the most, but I disliked the lack of depth in plot and world building. I would still recommend this book to anyone who likes fairy tale re-tellings, though I would probably recommend a few better ones first. Still, I'm glad I read it and overall I liked it.
3.5 out of 5 stars