I've always loved fairy tales. I especially love books that retell my favorites with their own personal spin on things. I started with Zel by Donna Jo Nopali back in Junior high. I then made my way to Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. After that I discovered Robin McKinley and her magical way of creating a whole new world on classics with stories like Beauty, Spindle's End, and Rose Daughter. Beauty and the Beast is probably my all time favorite but the Twelve Dancing Princesses comes in at a close second, both of which Juliet Marillier did retellings of in Heart's Blood and Wildwood Dancing, I highly recommend both. All of this brings me to Entwined, the book I'm reviewing. Here's the description from Goodreads:
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
I can't put into words how much I love books that introduce me to a world such as the one presented in Entwined. Heather Dixon did a great job of recreating our world into one of magic and mayhem. It felt real, solid, and possible. This story probably stays more true to the original 12 Dancing, but it never felt mundane. I was excited about what was going to happen next. And I really liked the main character, Azalea the oldest of 12 daughters, which can be hard to pull off. Sure thre were times I wanted to shake her, but for the most part I think she was a solid character who followed stayed true to herself. I loved the character of the King,a man of mystery who slowly unravels into a more well-rounded character as the story progresses. The romance was sweet and made me smile. Then there was Keeper, a guy whose motives are shady from the beginning. I always like a good bad guy, and I found one in this story. There was also an innocence in this book that I can appreciate, it made feel young again. Also, if you love dancing, this one has a lot of it. The title comes from a particular dance that Ms. Dixon cleverly created for this story. Heather Dixon did a great job, her writing was wonderfully woven, and her description of the enchanted forest transported me. I loved that the 12 daughters were given names alphabetically. I have a hard enough time naming just a few characters, but twelve girls? Yeah, tough one. But I loved all the names Ms. Dixon chose. And the alphabet thing gives you some insight into just how much the King likes organization. This book had no cursing or compromising sexual situations, which I found refreshing. Sometimes I need a break from both those things. All in all, a fun read. If you enjoy retellings, this one is great, and like I said, pretty true to the original.