Book Review: Entwined
By: Heather Dixon
Narrated By: Mandy Williams
Published By: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 2011
Audience: Young Adult
Entwined is a retelling of the old story of the twelve dancing princesses. I honestly don't recall much about the original tale other than it involved 12 royal sisters who liked to dance a lot so I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. The story follows the twelve sisters as they navigate the world of mourning when their mother passes away on Christmas Day from a long standing illness. During mourning, people are not allowed to leave the home, have visitors, dress in anything other than black, or do anything that could cause joy. The girls have trouble sticking to the strict rules that mourning requires and they long to break free and dance. Dancing can't possibly be something bad since their mother loved it so much. They feel closer to her when their feet are moving to a rhythm.
However, the girls soon learn that dancing in the palace is not safe. They are always caught and long for a way to find a place where they can dance in secret. A random discovery reveals a secret passageway in the princess' room that leads to a large pavilion at the edge of a silver forest where the girls can dance the night away. However, they soon learn that nothing comes without a price and the demand of the man who controls the magic world might be more than they can afford to spare.
Entwined is a novel full of magic and mystery told mainly through the oldest sister, Azalea's perspective. Azalea promised her mother on her deathbed that she would watch after her younger sisters so throughout the novel you see her taking risks in order to protect the others from harm. I really liked her character and how protective she was of her sisters. However, I didn't like that Azalea always assumed she understood her father's actions and that she was constantly berating him for things. I don't think she once stopped to think about how hard it was for him to lose his wife. She was extremely upset about her mother's death so I am not sure why she never chose to consider how it effected her father.
I also really enjoyed the plot of this one. Every time I would think that things were about to be resolved the author would throw in yet another twist. There also was just the right amount of romance to balance out the action. I had a gentleman picked out for Azalea from the start and couldn't wait to see if the two would end up together. Furthermore, this read reminded me a little of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Magic objects that moved about were the main thing that triggered this concept in my mind, but there were other elements as well. Once that got stuck in my head, I could only visualize the Beast's castle as the setting.
The audio version of this one, while entertaining, did allow me to zone out in parts. I am not sure if this would have happened if I had been reading the book myself, but I did get annoyed when I would miss whole segments and have to rewind. The narrator didn't do a bad job, but she wasn't the most engaging voice I have heard on audiobooks. Also, her accent made it difficult to understand certain portions of the story. I think if I were going to rate the audio only on this one I would give it a 2-3 rating. Readers may want to opt on reading this one on their own rather than listening to it.
One Last Gripe: I don't understand how the other girls couldn't see that Keeper was bad news.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The castle fight scene and the eerie atmosphere
First Sentence: An hour before Azalea's first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.
Favorite Character: Azalea
Least Favorite Character: Delphinium
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.