Entwined, by Heather Dixon

August 17, 2011

Entwined

I often end up with mixed feelings about novels based on fairy tales, and this retelling of one my old favorites, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, is no exception.

I liked Azalea’s interactions with her sisters, and I especially liked that she seemed to mature as the story went on. Unfortunately the story was so packed with princesses and suitors that only the heroine got much attention. One of the secondary relationships was adorable, but the main romance felt tacked on.

The princesses got caught up in a cycle of sneaking away, being tired, and getting into trouble with little other movement in the plot. It all started to feel like “dance, rinse, repeat.” The antagonist took a turn for the menacing in the end, but that mostly managed to make me wish he’d managed more than blandly creepy earlier.

The setting was interesting and well-described, and the author did a good job of revealing details slowly. Certain other aspects of the writing didn’t work for me, though. Moments of pretty fairy-tale prose kept clashing up against modern slang, and things tended to get muddy during the action scenes.

I guess I like it best when adaptations go deep into the characters or add an unexpected twist to a classic story, and despite its promise, this one really didn’t do either of those things.

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