Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Michelle who wanted nothing more than to just read a good, simple fairy tale. She had already read everything by her favorite writer, Shannon Hale, so she was looking for something new. Then... she was lucky enough to get an advance copy “Entwined” by Heather Dixon, a retelling of the fairy tale of the dancing princesses. And so, we tell the story of this young woman and her adventure in Ms. Dixon’s fairy tale.

Entwined” draws the basic elements from the original Grimms fairy tale. There is a family of twelve princesses who love to dance. They sneak off to a magical land every night through a secret passageway in their room. So, to the outside world, they go to bed and somehow, the next morning, their dance slippers are all worn out. Ms. Dixon’s version of the tale is focused primarily on the eldest princess, Azlea. However, every princess is given a unique voice which is very impressive considering how many characters there are! Twelve princesses, a king, three romantic interests, a villain, and some other minor secondary characters. PHEW! I get tired just thinking of how much work Ms. Dixon must have gone through working to keep each character defined for her readers. The pacing is a tad slow at times, but once the ball gets rolling, things really pick up.

She was a dancing queen..err...princess (aka things I like):
  • I loved the dark, evil villain twist on this retelling. It really kept with the fairy tale styling of this novel and made for good conflict.
  • I loved the chemistry between the three older girls and their romantic partners. Again, with how much character work Ms. Dixon had to do in this story, she really handled it all well. It’s a fairy tale so the romantic stylings are simple. We don’t get to see a lot of the relationship development, but it’s enough to relate to and want to see the men succeed in winning the princesses they love!
  • My favorite character was actually not one of the princesses, but their father, the King. He had a lot on his plate in this story... the loss of his wife, a war, and being on his own with twelve rebellious daughters in a poor household (despite being a King, they were on a fixed income). His character goes through a lot transformations and I really enjoyed seeing him develop as the story went along.
  • The addition of the mother’s death really added some very nice layers to the character relationships and the plot. The girls aren’t dancing just to be dancing. They are dancing because it connects them with the mother they’ve lost. It’s very touching.
Ms. Dixon’s twist on this classic story is refreshing, fun and adds some depth to the original while keeping the classic fairy tale tone. Anyone who enjoys a good fairytale should pick up a copy as soon as possible.

I was provided with an ARC of “Entwined” by the publisher for review. It is published by Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) and was released in March of this year.

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