Greenwillow Books, 2011
The cover of this one caught my eye months ago, and I eagerly awaited it's release and my library's acquisition. Even before I realized Entwined was a retelling of 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses', I knew it was right up my alley - I mean, look at that cover? It just screams 'fairy tale adventure,' in a princess-y way, of course. Book in hand, and knowing it was going to be a revision of a fairy tale I've read several versions of (two of my favorites being Wildwood Dancing and Princess of the Midnight Ball), I was very interested in seeing how Dixon would make it work - and make it her own. I was not disappointed.
Entwined takes the basic story of twelve princess sisters who mysteriously wear out their dancing slippers every night and makes it a richer story about family bonds; the power of dance as language, expression, and 'therapy;' and the ultimate power of Love. There is intrigue, mystery, dimensional characters, and magic. Lots and lots of magic. What begins as a simple secret adventure becomes a much darker and more significant 'quest' of sorts for Azalea and her sisters (all with garden names, alphabetically by age). Dancing suddenly becomes more than just a way to feel happy or free again, and as the stakes rise - everything they thought they understood about their family and relationships will be tested and tried.
I was quickly caught up in the story, waiting and watching to see just how everything would play out. The theories I developed early in the reading were disproved later, and I found I didn't mind. I liked the way the story unfurled better - it had more depth, more surprise. I loved the characters - Bramble made me laugh out loud, and I enjoyed the way Dixon made each of the sisters different. It'd be so easy to only focus on one or two for 'fleshing out,' but each of the twelve has a unique approach to life, and together? Oh man, if I had a pack of sisters like that ... Azalea did make me want to shake her a few times, but not so much that I stopped reading. And she grew through the story, so by the end I was happy for her. The supporting characters, a.k.a The Guys, are also diverting and well-rounded, surprising and delightful. Quite a nice handful of heroes for such a fairy tale.
I wasn't real sure what to expect going into the reading, but Entwined definitely satisfied my desire for a rich, detailed retelling of a familiar fairy tale.
Book provided by my local library.