Thursday, June 16, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

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.

I have been wanting to read this book forever, it feels like. I first heard about it quite a while ago, and it piqued my interest when I found out the author is the older sister of some of my old high school theater buddies. She actually grew up in the same small town as me. Wild, right? But then I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, to be honest. What if I hated it?? What if I was forced to write a bad review about it that would be forever floating in cyberspace? The logical response to this is "LIE THROUGH YOUR TEETH!", but I've never really been the lying kind. I'm just not good at it. Bummer, right? Well, lucky for me, a major crisis was averted-- I loved this book!

Entwined is actually a rather long book--just shy of 500 pages-- and it's based on a fairytale, I'll admit, that was completely unknown to me until I read Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (Read my review of it by clicking HERE) last year. Though Entwined has many of the same basic elements, these two retellings were strikingly different. Actually, if I can share a small secret with you, I think Entwined was far better. In this version, the princesses don't dance because they are forced to, they dance because they need to. Their mother died, they are stuck inside a dark, quiet house day in and day out--forbidden from opening curtains, winding the clocks, wearing color or comfortable footwear, going outside, and especially dancing--due to restirctions of mourning. To add insult to injury, their father, the King, has abandoned them all to head to war. Being the oldest sister, Azalea becomes her siblings' impromptu guardian practically overnight. When Azalea discovers a passageway that leads from their room to a magic silver forest, along with a pavillion that is the perfect setting for dancing, the twleve princesses can't resist. The handsome Keeper of the pavillion allows them to dance there every night, as long as they want. For the first time in months, the girls don't feel so sad and alone. Dancing was something they shared with their mother, so they feel close to her again when they visit the pavillion each night.

Soon, the Keeper reveals who he is and tries to bribe the girls into helping him get what he wants. The book gets quite dark as it progresses, but I loved all of it. It was so beautifully written that I completely lost track of time and pages as I read. As I said, it's nearly 500 pages long, but I would find myself reading along and suddenly one hundred pages had passed me by, then another hundred, and another. I don't feel like it dragged at all, and I thought the story tied up nicely.

Even if you don't care for fractured fairytales, this is a book you don't want to miss. It's beautiful!

Happy Reading!

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