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Nine Ladies Dancing, More Like Twelve Ladies

A review of Entwined by Heather Dixon, a lovely retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Nine Ladies Dancing, More Like Twelve Ladies

BOOK REPORT for Entwined by Heather Dixon

Cover Story: Almost There
BFF Charm: Make It Rain
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talky: Lush, Yet Funny
Bonus Factors: Retelling, Sisters, Dancing
Relationship Status: Just What I Was Looking For

Cover Story: Almost There

I actually DO like this cover. Mostly. I love the gardens and the castle in the background with the silver leaves that are shiny on the real life copy of the book. The girl in the ball gown running? I could do without that. But overall, it is kind of cheesy in the way you would expect a fairy tale to be.

The Deal:

Azalea is the eldest of 12 the princesses of Eathesbury. But life isn't all balls and gowns and prince charming for Azalea. Eathesbury is small and hers is probably the only royal family poor enough to have to eat porridge for breakfast. Azalea will be her country's future Queen, which means whichever man she marries will most likely have to be approved by parliament. When her mother the Queen dies, the King becomes emotionally absent and Azalea must look after her younger sisters. The King institutes a period of mourning -- meaning covered windows, black clothing, no guests, no leaving the house, and no dancing. Taught by their mother, the princesses love to dance more than anything else. So when Azalea stumbles across a long forgotten magic passage, she believes she might have found a place for them to dance in secret. The passage leads to an enchanted forest with a dancing pavilion -- all magical creations made by a mysterious and handsome man named The Keeper. The princesses spend many sleepless nights dancing, against their father's wishes. But everything comes at a price and The Keeper, who has been trapped within the Eathesbury palace for hundreds of years, needs their help to escape.

BFF Charm: Make It Rain

I liked EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK. I mean, seriously, how often does that happen? And there are LOTS of characters here too. TWELVE sisters and I find them all so believable and funny. Azalea is wonderful as a main character. She's brave and stubborn (but not too stubborn) and does a wonderful job of taking care of her younger sisters. Bramble, who is the second oldest princess, may be my favorite because she's kind of bat shit cray. For example, there is a scene where their father, the King, is trying to take away their dancing shoes. Bramble grabs the shoes and runs away from him, shouting:

"Down with tyranny!" Bramble cried. "Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!"

Besides loving Bramble, I also loved Lord Teddy and Lord Bradford. And, against my better judgement, I even ended up liking the King and the Prime Minister! If I could make it rain BFF charms, I would.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

The relationship between Azalea and Mr. Bradford (who, I'm starting to think, doesn't actually have a first name) is innocent and awkward but altogether adorable. Bramble and Lord Teddy are hilarious together. Everything is very tame, as is fitting with the setting (proper courting, guardians watching, etc), but there are definitely some cute moments here are there.

Talky Talky: Lush, Yet Funny

As you would expect from a fairy tale, the descriptions in this book are often lovely and lush. For example, when the Azalea first finds the enchanted forest:

The scene washed over Azalea like a crystal symphony. A forest. But nothing like the wood behind the palace! Every bough, branch, leaf, and ivied tendril looks as though it had been frosted in silver. It shimmered in the soft, misty light. Azalea inhaled, catching the muted scent of a morning fog, with a touch of pine, and stepped through the doorway into the bright forest. Everything sparkled in bits, catching highlights in glisters as she moved. Even the path beneath her feet. She turned to the glass-spun tree on her left. Silver ornaments glowed among the delicate silver leaves-glimmering glass plums. Azalea touched one. It's edging glittered as it swayed. Next to the ornament, strings of pearls swathed each branch in swooping arcs.

What I wasn't expecting was just how funny and cute the dialogue could be. Often the sisters would do something that made me chuckle. Dull or overly formal dialogue could have made this novel drag, so I'm glad to say that wasn't the case.

Bonus Factor: Retelling

This book is based on the Grimm fairy tale called The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It's one I'm not familiar with, but I almost prefer retellings of lesser known (to me) stories. The more popular stories have often been re-done to death.

Bonus Factor: Sisters

I loved the varied personalities of all of the sisters. I cannot imagine being one of 12 sisters; it sounds all sorts of awesome yet alternatively horrible.

Bonus Factor: Dancing

So...I don't like dancing. And before you all go and say something like "Well, that's just cause you CAN'T dance"...well, of course that's why! I wouldn't hate something if I were good at it; that would just be silly. But even though I'm a loser who can't dance without alcohol (and with alcohol, can you really call what I'm doing "dancing?"), this book talked about dancing in a way that was nice. So if you LIKE fancy-pants dancing, then you will especially like this.

Casting Call:

Since there were so many characters in this book, I had to limit myself here!

Lily Collins as Azalea

Rachel Hurd-Wood as Bramble

Keegan Allen as Mr. Bradford

Cillian Murphy as The Keeper

Relationship Status: Just What I Was Looking For

I was out on the prowl, looking for a good fairy tale book. I'd heard positive things about this one, and I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint. It was light and sweet and totally hit the spot (wait, am I talking about food, a relationship, or a book here?) So if you too are in the mood for a fairy tale, I advise you to check this one out.

Megan Crane's photo About the Author: Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.