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Entwined Hardcover – March 29, 2011
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*Starred Review* In the half-magical world of Eathesbury, Azalea is the oldest of 12 daughters and heir to her father�s throne. When the sisters� mother dies after a long illness, the siblings find a hidden passageway to an enchanted pavilion under the castle where they can dance all night, secretly breaking the rules of mourning. The mysterious and alluring Keeper makes this possible, but he also seems to have less-than-honorable plans for the girls, especially Azalea. The tale�s atmosphere becomes increasingly dark and brooding as the truth from ages past comes out, and Azalea realizes just what evil they are pitted against. With several unexpected twists, the story, based on the original Grimms� tale �The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes,� plunges toward a harrowing conclusion. This first novel is richly imagined with a gothic feel, and Dixon�s descriptions of the many dances are thrilling. Although the general story line will be familiar to readers of Jessica Day George�s Princess of the Midnight Ball (2009), this romantic fantasy is darker in tone, and the villain resembles the faeries in Nancy Werlin�s Impossible (2008) and O. R. Melling�s The Hunter�s Moon (2005). The story gracefully explores significant themes of grief and loss, mercy and love. Full of mystery, lush settings, and fully orbed characters, Dixon�s debut is both suspenseful and rewarding. Grades 7-10. --Melissa Moore
“Full of mystery, lush settings, and fully orbed characters, Dixon’s debut is both suspenseful and rewarding.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Readers who enjoy stories of royalty, romance, and magic will delight in Dixon’s first novel.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Dixon balances the suspense with generous helpings of humor and sparkling dialogue…[A] charming, romantic story, told with a light touch.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoy fairy tale retellings, as a rule, and this one was no different. The world was nicely historical, while still having some sense of being a fairy story. I don't know how Dixon did it, but the setting just somehow lent itself to that vibe.
The characters. Keeping in mind Dixon is working with TWELVE protagonists, she did a remarkable job of making that each unique. That being said, none of them stirred me particularly. Nothing was wrong, I just didn't identify with or feel passionately attached to any of them.
Three major romances, all of which brought a smile to my face and were well done.
I took off a star because even though this book has EVERYTHING I love (fairy tales, princesses, romance, ye olde times, etc.), I didn't find myself emotionally invested in it. I felt like I was going through the motions of feeling as I read this book. It just didn't speak to me, I didn't connect with it.
That being said, the book still deserves five stars, it was nicely done and I recommend it. The four stars were more for my own experience of it. I purchased Illusionarium by this author, so that goes to show that I do like her, I just didn't have an earth-shattering experience with Entwined.
Azalea was a good main character for this story. She was a strong older sister, but also compassionate and still young in some ways which allowed the reader to understand some of her choices. Her relationship with all the other characters really added to the humanization of the fairytale. The reader gets to see a loving mom, a caring and responsible older sister, and a loving, but at times harsh father. The three different suitors that appear in the book are also interesting. Although I was under the impression that all three might possibly be suitors for Azalea, I quickly figured out who the actual suitor was suppose to be.
The only problem I seemed to have with the novel was some storyline issues involving the sisters. In the beginning of the novel there are only 11 girls. But soon into the novel, a twelfth one arrives. My issues begins when the sisters bring the newborn of only a few months down dancing with them. Some of the actions involving the youngest sister seemed a little far-fetched for my liking.
Other than that particular problem, I found the novel enjoyable to read. It only took me a day and into the night to finish it. I liked the added darkness of the novel involving the antagonist as well as the darker feelings seen in the father and the natural setting. Not to go all English-major on you all, but I just finished taking an 18th-century British Lit course and we learned about Edmund Burke’s Sublime and Beautiful as well as the Gothic novel–all of which I see working within this novel. It definitely was a nice little read and I encourage you to pick it up for a try if you are interested in the fairytale retelling or a novel with some old time supernatural elements. It was a creative and definitely seemed a more darker take on the story and I enjoyed it!
I’m going to be honest, at first I couldn’t stand this book. It literally took me about 100 pages before I actually started to like the book and the characters. I couldn’t stand that Bramble was so outspoken, I was annoyed that every single conflict or happy moment related back to a dance (and I was a ballerina for 13 years!!) and I absolutely HATED the way in which Ivy just ate and ate and ate and all the characters were all “oh father let her be (obese)” it honestly turned me off to where I almost put the book away and marked it as a “did not finish.” However, I was intrigued enough and kept going and I am so happy that I did. After the mother dies, and the girls meet Keeper, the book starts to get good. Keeper was all kinds of awesome; he was handsome, mysterious, compassionate and evil. That’s right, EVIL! There comes a point in the story where Azalea finds out that there are people who’s souls have been captured, these "people" have had their mouths sewn shut so they are bound to live forever trapped in this in-between world with the inability to speak. How horrific?! I loved this. Then, the evil comes to the castle and there is this epic battle and all of these love pairings come about in a non-obvious way and it was so sweet and refreshing from the immediate I-have-to-have-you-now that comes in most YA romance novels. Also? I cried. This alone makes me like this book because it was so unexpected. The relationship between the girls and their father is even better than the romantic relationships in the book, which is rare and beautiful.