Entwined by Heather Dixon Review

19 Feb

Entwined is a glittering fairytale retelling of the 12 Dancing Princess.

Every night Azalea (our main character) and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in a silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper (who watches over all of the enchantment that is locked within in vaults of the palace) likes to keep things. Azalea is no exception, and she may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Growing up the twelve dancing princesses was one of my favorite fairy tales. I always found the tale of twirling skirts, and glittering forests all concealed in secrecy enchanting for lack of a better word.

I was rather put off by the way the tale was presented. It sounded very good in my head “Oh yes a YA novel based upon my favorite fairytale! Finally someone recognizes how great a story it is!”, but honestly I found myself having mixed feelings about this novel.

Which lead me to giving it a borderline 2.5 stars. (Give or take a half star.)

For some reason, this story, when retold, came out stilted and a bit awkward. I was constantly in a muddle trying to recall which sister was which (as the distinction between the 12 sisters was very faint).

I also thought the emotional impact was kind of watered down. At times I found myself flipping a few pages ahead to see if ‘a good part’ was coming up. Or rolling my eyes when Azalea would say something to a ‘Gentlemen’.

Azalea and her sisters spent much of the book arguing with their father about dancing, and the other parts fawning over gentlemen, and then fleeing off into the magic realm to dance when things got too bad, only later to find that things down there weren’t precisely what they seemed. It came out melodramatic and a bit boring if you ask me.

Besides that, I had issues with the way Azalea and her sisters thought of themselves in this book. I’m not sure what time period this was set in, but it was at least 1800’s; maybe earlier? Still not sure. Anyway, Azalea and her sisters had a ridiculous view of modesty. Being embarrassed when The Keeper saw their ankles while dancing, and flushing whenever a gentlemen even glanced their way. Normally I would have taken this in stride. After all, that was what it was like once, but it ended up just confusing me. One moment the girls would be protecting their lady like virtue, and the next Azalea was careening out into a rainstorm on horseback NOT riding side-saddle, making out with Lord Whats-his-face, and mouthing off to her father while in mourning.

I was utterly confused.

I suppose I’m being a bit hard on this book. I had high expectations going in, and was a bit let down by the outcome. I didn’t hate it though. The cover is lovely(and rather redeeming for some of the melodrama), and I really like the dance that was invented by Dixon called the Entwine. It’s a dance where the man try’s to ‘capture’ the lady with a scarf while dancing. And, the book also did a nice job of pulling in some new elements of magic and horror into the old tale.

Overall, I would only recommend this book only if you’ll sacrifice a bit of melodrama for glittering forests. Though I wouldn’t spend the 17.99 to buy the hardback!

I hope you all enjoyed the review. Be on the look at for my next review on: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater!


11 Responses to “Entwined by Heather Dixon Review”

  1. Brigid February 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Ooh, it has a gorgeous cover. But sounds like it might be covering up a not-so-great-book, eh? 😛 The Twelve Dancing Princesses is one of my favorite fairytales, too. You should check out Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier if you haven’t already; that’s definitely my favorite retelling of the story that I’ve read.

    And I’m curious to know what you think of The Scorpio Races. I just finished it a few days ago. I thought it was kind of slow-going, but the world-building was cool and I liked it over all. 🙂

    • nkeda14 February 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

      Yes… The world building and the lot was underdone. I haven’t heard of Wildwood Dancing, but I’ll definitely put it on my list now.

      I love Maggie, and TSR wasn’t an exception, but it wasn’t what I expected at all either!

      • Brigid February 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

        Ah, too bad. Yes, definitely look out for it! I thought it was very good. 🙂

        Same, I’ve read and enjoyed all her books. The Scorpio Races was definitely very different from her other books, but in a good way!

      • nkeda14 February 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        Yes, it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. At first it put me off, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I came around.After I finished I felt like I needed to read it again, like it didn’t sink in or something. Is that odd? Haha Not in a bad way, just like it all passed in a blur of awesome.

      • Brigid February 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

        No, I don’t think that’s odd. Haha. I kind of felt the same way. Like, maybe I skimmed a lot because I wanted to get to the more action-y parts. 😉 If I went back and reread it I’d probably appreciate the whole atmosphere of it more.

      • nkeda14 February 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

        Yes! That is exactly what I meant to say. Excellently worded! She always does a good job with the abstractions of novels, mood, atmosphere, etc. She’s too clever… I want to be able to do that!

      • Brigid February 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

        Yeah, totally. Her books are very atmospheric, and I love her style. 🙂

  2. harmamae February 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Oh, I did always think someone should re-write 12 Dancing Princesses too! Too bad it wasn’t quite as good as you hoped. Their attitude towards modesty sounds pretty accurate for the time period (if it was intended to be set around Jane Austen’s time), but I agree with you that if that is the case, riding without a sidesaddle and mouthing off their father does not fit with the time period at all.

    • nkeda14 February 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      I’m hoping another recommendation of a the re-telling I got will be better!

    • nkeda14 February 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks Gabs! I just read the post, and you are a doll and much too nice to me!

      Thank you bunches!

      I’ll have it up soon!

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