Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Genre: YA Fantasy (Fairy Tale Retelling), Romance, Historical Fiction

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Azalea is the eldest daughter of the King, and has 11 other little sisters, all named after flora. After their mother passes away, the girls  escape the mandatory grief that has been put onto the kingdom by going into a secret passageway where they can dance their sadness away in a forest of silver. And there’s the Keeper, who watches them as they dance, and hosts them. What they’re missing is that the Keeper is tightening his deadly hold on them, with no intention of letting them get away. On top of all of this, a captain of the army and the son of the prime minister is showing interest in Azalea. Will Azalea see through the Keeper? Or are she and her sisters done for?

My initial thought of Entwined was “I wanna read it, I wanna read it, why can’t I get it yet?!” I mean, looking at that cover and reading the blurb, it seems so great. The cover is undeniably amazing. For a girl like me, pretty dresses tend to catch my eye, and the curlicue font added to that. When I found out that it was a retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, I was ecstatic. I absolutely love fairy tales, and usually expect that the books based off of them should be good. It helped that I watched every animated Disney Princess movie at least once (excluding a couple of the sequels).

When my teacher ordered this book, I was like still ecstatic, and dibbed it right away (that’s right, dibbed). I finished the book in two days, and to see my thoughts, scroll down.

There were a couple good things about the book. Heather Dixon did a good job describing the story. She used descriptive language to make the settings come alive, and to give the characters some personality. The words flowed well. It had an interesting beginning. But that’s all I can think of right now. Don’t get me wrong, though. This book set itself up for a lot of potential, but I don’t think it was realized much.

Okay, so here are a couple things that I didn’t enjoy as much. The story arc of the book in the beginning, like I said before, was strong and caught my attention. However, as the story progressed, the storyline stayed the same. There wasn’t a lot of excitement, it didn’t ascend steadily and it didn’t build up well to the climax. It was like (there are no other ways to describe it) a straight line.

The climax, like the rest of the storyline, fell flat, for me. It’s not the edge-of-your-seat, biting-your-nails type of climax. I think if you actually were put into the situation, if you actually were Azalea and that was happening to you, then it would’ve been that type of climax. But as a reader, I felt that it was slightly prosaic.

Lastly, the characters. Since there were so many sisters, it was hard to keep them straight, especially the younger ones. You know, the oldest ones; Azalea, the responsible one who has to take care of everybody; Bramble, the tempestuous sister who is very lively; and Clover, the typical shy girl. Think Beth from Little Women, but without as much goody-two shoes. The younger ones all jumbled up with one another, because you forget who’s who since they’re not mentioned much. The most mentioned younger siblings are Delphinium, and Lily (only because she’s the baby of the family). The character who I felt had the most personality was Bramble; she was always leading the charge, whatever the cause.

Aside from the sisters, the other characters stood out a little bit more. Lord Teddy is my favourite, he’s so weird. Mr. Bradford seemed alright, just not interesting too. His flaw was that he was practically perfect. Real characters that are relatable have 3 necessary things: strengths, weaknesses, and goals. He just seemed like a jack of all trades, with nothing bad about him, but his goals were a bit unclear. Marry Azalea, maybe? The Keeper was your typical shady bad guy, who started out nice and likeable, but had a hidden agenda.

In my opinion, Entwined had lots of potential, and had set itself up for it at the start, but fell short of my expectations. However, if you as a reader want to try something new and don’t know princesses in pop culture like the back of your hand, then I suggest reading it! You might find that you like it better than I do.

Thanks to my teacher, Google images, and Heather Dixon for making the book!


2 thoughts on “Entwined by Heather Dixon

  1. Really? You didn’t like Entwined? I’m a little surprised, I have to say, because I have read a bunch of reviews of this book and this is the only one I have found to be semi-negative where the storyline is concerned. I heard about the book and developed the same expectations as you, but for me, it struck a chord. I was in sync with that story. I’m just gonna be honest; I’m obsessed with that book. I love retellings of classic fairy tales and am rereading it for the tenth time. (Not even a joke). I urge you to give it another chance. I know where you’re coming from on a couple of points, such as the younger sisters’ characters not being as developed. But you must also consider that Heather Dixon had to balance twelve main characters, so getting all of their personalities to shine through had to have been a challenge. And at the end of the book, I found the climax to actually be quite thrilling. When I read the ending for the first time, I was in tenth grade in math class. And I seriously don’t remember anything of what my teacher was saying because I was so enthralled. I am now a twelfth grader and am still in love with Entwined.

    You can find my full review on this book on my new blog, here: http://story-boats.blogspot.com/2013/08/entwined.html

    I told you, I’m a wee bit obsessed :)) P.S. Do you have any other suggestions for good fairy tale retellings? I’m reading Enchanted right now so we’ll see if that’s good.

    • I think that the main reason why I didn’t enjoy Entwined as much as I thought I would is because I expected too much; I shouldn’t have let myself get too excited. Also, I’ve only read this book once, back in 2012, so I think my opinion of it could change if I read it now…
      As for book recommendations, have you read Cinder by Marissa Mayer? It’s set in the future, with Cinder being a mechanic. You should check it out on Goodreads, since they’ll probably describe it better than I do. I’m guessing that you’ve already read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, since that’s essentially a must-read for fairy tale lovers, but if you haven’t, you should read it. I’ve also read Enchanted, and I’m wondering what you’ll think of it.

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