Entwined by Heather Dixon
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
I don't really remember how this book came onto my radar, but I was super optimistic when I picked it up. Going in, I knew it combined three of my favorite things: pretty covers, fairy tale adaptations, and a strong female protagonist.
I shouldn't have gotten so excited. This book was extremely hard to get into. It took me over a week to read the first half of the book, and I am a quick reader. At times I contemplated just giving up, but then the certain doom of needing to read something serious while preparing for trial overtook me and I decided it was a bad idea.
The basic premise of this book is that Azalea (yes, that is really her name... and her sisters have similarly awful names, including my personal favorite, Bramble) and her 11 sisters (all alphabetically named, coincidentally) need to go into mourning for their mother, the Queen, who dies giving birth to Lily, princess number 12.
As part of the mourning process, horror of horrors, they need to stop dancing until mourning is over. To them, this is a fate far worse than death and hands down the worst thing about their mother dying. Also, did I mention, they are terribly poor even though their country seems wealthy and it makes zero sense whatsoever why they would be poor. Really that's pretty irrelevant to the overall plot, but so much is made of it by the author that I figured I should mention it too, just for kicks.
They figure out how to dance secretly, but that's not enough for them! Instead, they need to find a secret (and magic- did I forget to mention this book has magic, but only some magic, and only when it is convenient for the author) passageway where a creepy dead spirit named 'Keeper' lives. Not smart enough to be put off by his obvious shadiness, the girls are all too happy to come dance with him every night so that no one can, God forbid, put a stop to them dancing when they are supposed to be in mourning for their mother.
When this all goes south, it is a total surprise to them, despite the fact that the stupidest five year old child could have seen it coming a mile away.
While this may seem like me giving away the whole plot, this is all basically background information in the context of this 500 page tome that could have probably, now that I think of it, been cut to 300 pages. How the girls get out of their tangled web is where the real fun begins.
I am only giving this book 2 stars because, as we all know, I'm a sucker for a good romance, and the tail end of the book had three of them, with three smashing resolutions and delightful quotes that made my sappy heart sing, like the following:
"He's around the twist," said Azalea. "Breaking all the windows? He's mad."
"Ah, no," said the King. "It's only madness if you actually do it. If you want to break all the windows in the house and drown yourself in a bucket but don't actually do it, well, that's love."
That's love indeed.