February 20, 2012

Entwined by Heather Dixon: Review

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Soooo, I didn't love Entwined by Heather Dixon. I gave it an "It was Ok" on Goodreads because that's pretty much what I felt once I finished it. Then I see all the reviews over there that proclaim it the biggest deal since Big Wheels and I'm left dateless at the Prom. I had to wade through the 4 and 5 stars to find some fellow 2 starers.

Here's the plot: Entwined is a re-telling of the fairy tale Twelve Dancing Princesses. Azalea and the other 11 are left motherless on Christmas Eve. The King, their Dad, is all "leave me alone!" "Mourning for a year," "No dancing," and then goes off to war. The girls find a magical passageway where they can dance the night away with a magical dead guy named Keeper. But things are never as they seem and Keeper wants something in return. Meanwhile, Azalea must take a husband, once the King returns, and a troop of eligible young men are brought a-courting. It's like The Bachorlette without the hot tub. Somehow the plot stretches out for 12 hours.

Perhaps the beginning of the story reminded me too much of Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which, because of my daughter, I've seen dozens of times. She even had the costume. It's very cutesy how all the little girls have lisps and are adorable. Maybe it's also because I was reading The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, a collection of adult retellings and a creative one at that, at the same time. It's my thinking that if you are going to retell a fairy tale, you should go all the way with it. Make the Beast a shallow high schooler cursed by Mary-Kate Olsen, have Red Riding Hood become a pair of werewolf killing sisters bent on revenge. Entwined follows the Grimm version quite faithfully, with the exception of the bad guy and some angst.

I didn't find there was much depth to the characters, even Azalea. Other than liking Bradford for his warm brown eyes and crooked smile what else was there about him? I thought for sure Bramble was about twelve years old because of how she acted (I expected her to put frogs in people's beds next), instead of a girl of marriageable age. None of the girls think mourning for a year is fair. Not one says, this is our duty as princesses so we should just do it. No, they all collectively believe they have the right to dance all night long with a guy they feel is creepy. If he's creepy, and a few times made them uncomfortable, why keep going back? If they were under a spell, I could understand it but they want to dance so they do.  Even the bad guy's plan was rather pitiful. That's the best he can come up with after thinking about it for 200 years? 

Several plot points weren't explained satisfactorily. Why was the Kingdom poor? Why was there a war that lasted about five minutes and seemed to happen just so the princesses were left alone to sneak off to dance?   I could go on but I won't.

On the other hand, this is the sort of book I could give to my nine year old and not have any qualms about it. There's nothing controversial about it. It's a straight up happily-ever-after story.

Anyway, I missed the boat on this one. Maybe you won't.

About the Audio: First of all, Entwined is really long and by the end I just wanted it to be over. An abridgement would have been nice. The narrator is Mandy Williams, who has a pleasant enough voice though the younger girls voices grated on my nerves and if I had to hear the King say "Just so" one more time I would have screamed.

Ratings:

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12 comments :

  1. I agree that fairy tell retelling shouldn't be half-assed. I was pretty impressed with and entertained by Beastly. Red Riding Hood was a valiant attempt with a good twist at the end, but it was so slow I had a hard time enjoying it.

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    1. Have you read Sisters Red? I had mixed feelings about it but it was very creative.

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  2. I think I got the ebook copy of this book when it was only 99 cents. I can't remember any more.

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    1. I seem to remember it being on sale for that.

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  3. I don't really care for fairy tale retellings so this probably isn't for me.

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  4. Hmm, I'm thinking I might have bought it at 99 cents, too. I'll have to look. Sounds kind of blah.

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    1. Oh, good. At least it's worth that. :)

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  5. I bought this for 99 cents during Christmas. Maybe some day when I'm super-bored I'll get to it. :P

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