Katie's Reviews > Entwined

Entwined by Heather Dixon
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Apr 15, 12

bookshelves: fantasy
Read from April 13 to 14, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I have to admit that I didn't believe anyone could write another original rendition of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Despite the many new versions that have been written recently, this one is a fresh and delightful spin on the old fairy tale. The twelve sisters all have distinct personalities. The royal family is a real family (impoverished and small as they are) with realistic joys and sorrows and squabbles. They way the sisters get entrapped by The Keeper is also believable. He is a well conceived villain and fits perfectly into the story. I I liked the small, shabby castle with its bits of magic scattered about. I also enjoyed the three distinctly separate romances developing throughout the story. And who can resist the comic relief of Lord Teddy? He is one of the more delightful princes I have met lately.

My only criticism of the book is how the author downplays the role of Mr. Bradford. He and Azalea, the oldest princess, are both delightful characters and thoroughly likable. In the original story it is the boy who saves the princesses from the Faerie King through his cleverness and faithfulness. Well, Mr. Bradford is faithful and kind but not particularly clever. I can see how the author may be trying to make Azalea a strong female character (which she is for the most part) and have her rescue herself rather than wait for rescue from a male (a common theme in today's fairy tale remixes). However, Azalea herself isn't all that clever either which makes both characters fall a little flat. In the end neither really defeats The Keeper, but instead he ends up fulfilling his oath and disappearing on his own. It is only Azalea's connection to "that third kind of magic" that saves her father. Really? After such a wonderful story that is the best ending we could get? I like my main characters to be clever and do a little to save themselves. I also have no problems with strong female characters, but why can't we for once have a balanced male/female team that actually figures something out and works together to defeat the villain? The current trend to have the female do all the work and the male fade into the background is just the opposite of traditional and not any more fulfilling. Some day I'd like to see an author try to strike a balance.

Although I was a tad annoyed with the ending and the lack of cleverness in the main characters, it did not spoil the book and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys fairy tale retellings.
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