Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon
Everyone loves fairy tales, especially those that are given neat and interesting twists on the original. Heather Dixon succeeds in twisting the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses into a young adult action love story called Entwined.
Azalea is the eldest princess, and is at the age where men are very important, but not as important as balls and dancing. The night of a Christmas ball she is hosting, her mother dies giving birth to the twelfth princess. The princesses’ father, the king, drapes Mourning over the castle: no color, no leaving the castle, and no dancing. The family mourns, and during their mourning, the girls discover a way to dance without anyone finding out: a magic passage in their room that leads to an enchanted forest and dance floor, kept by a man named Keeper. Meanwhile, the king leaves for war and his daughters are unsure he will return. Their only escape from the outside world is the enchanted dance floor in their bedroom.
I felt exactly like the girls in the story, where I could escape just by reading about theirs. Dixon, who wrote the novel in 2011, has a very fluid writing style that makes people want to continue reading. One of my concerns was that there was a lot of repetition of words and phrases that aren’t common, which sometimes causes you to get tired of reading. For example, the main character Azalea’s name was used on average probably five times per page. Her name is extremely uncommon when it comes to reading a novel for young adults, and therefore should have been used much less in order to allow readers to savor the rarity of her name. Another common image used was the king sucking in his cheeks. This was used less, but still nearly every time the king was in a scene.
Another concern was the character development. While there are plenty of characters well rounded within the novel, the twelve princesses were not always developed well. The eldest I felt were the best developed characters, and I think this is only because they had the most dialogue of the twelve. Azalea was obviously developed well as she is the main character, but Bramble and Clover were both filled out nicely. After that, however, the girls become more and more of a blur. Dixon mentions different characteristics about the different girls, but because there are so many it sometimes got hard to track which she was referring to. After a certain point, though, I just left them in the blur and it was no problem. Maybe in the future, Dixon should tackle less characters, or better develop the characters if she plans on keeping such a large amount.
Overall, the novel flowed nicely and felt real even though it was a magical story. Young women will love this novel because it allows them to really understand how a girl’s life can change in a matter of a day, and how her responsibilities can pile on until they are as high as a mountain. It will also attract young women because of the love story, which is hard to avoid with girls. Hopefully Dixon can continue her success and keep girls all around the world interested in stories.
This novel is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble stores and online. It is also available at Amazon.com.