Author: Heather Dixon
Genre: Twisted Fairytale
“It should have frightened her, thinking of the palace as once evil and magicked, with the candelabras and ceiling murals alive, but it didn’t. It was hard to be frightened of a building that smelled of old toast.”
― Heather Dixon, Entwined
NOTE: In order to keep up with my ever growing TBR pile, once a month I will now post a review of older releases.
I wanted to like this book. I say that a lot, but in a perfect world I would love every book I read. Entwined was recommended to me by a friend, so the bar was set higher than normal.
Azalea is the crown princess of Eathesbury, and the eldest of twelve daughters. When they lose their mother, the girls are forced to go into mourning under the strict guidance of their distant father. In an effort to continue dancing, the one activity that brightens their days, the girls start attending a secret ball hosted by a mysterious man known only as the Keeper.
I don’t know if you all remember my fangirl rant about To Kill a Kingdom (GO READ THAT BOOK!) but this story did the exact opposite. It took a beloved fairytale, and mutilated it. Excuse me while I go weep in a forest dusted with diamonds.
À la Twelve Dancing Princesses style, the girls dance sneak out every night and the King posts a proclamation seeking the answer to their whereabouts. Dixon uses Entwined to fill in some of the more elaborate plot holes from the original story, such as how they find the magical forest and its back story.
She also includes her own special twist on the narrative, which is pretty much where I wanted to stop reading. It was boring. My entire reading list took a hit while I was struggling through this one.
Let’s start with the positive:
There was a playful wit to the prose that had me laughing out loud at times. Heather Dixon also does romance well, at least the few scenes that there were. It was embarrassing and flirtatious, a perfect portrayal of a newfound love interest.
Dixon also did a wonderful job at distinguishing each of the twelve differences, although that also had it’s downfalls in its execution. The dance motif that constantly appears throughout the story is masterfully executed and remains consistent.
On to the negatives:
The relationships felt shallow. For example, Dixon utilizes the King’s title as a plot device to demonstrate their relationship arc. This failed attempt creates a shallowly written character who doesn’t recover as much as his relationship with his daughters does.
Furthermore, the characters were annoying. Each of the twelve princesses has an extreme characteristic to express their personality, and none of them are done in moderation. Azalea is steadfast (read: stubborn), Bramble is rambunctious, Clover is sweet, and so on. Their names are also in alphabetical order by birth, and all flowers. While this may be a useful tactic to help the reader remember each princess, it results in one dimensional, static characters.
The magic system looked like it showed some promise. I loved the idea of silver gaining power from the people who possessed it, and the thought of dancing having inherent power. The entwine, a dance in which one partner attempts to catch their partner with a sash, seemed like a wonderful way to incorporate these ideas. So I waited.
The other shoe never dropped, ladies and gentlemen. There is a big twist, but it feels like some of the magical elements were forgotten halfway through the story. I almost want to reveal the ending so you know not to waste your time, but I won’t do that.
Seriously though, WHO STOPS TO DANCE IN THE MIDDLE OF A BATTLE?
Overall, Entwined didn’t live up to it’s hype. There were parts that were promising, but the execution was poor. The few enjoyable moments weren’t worth the time I lost by reading this book.