REVIEW: Entwined by Heather Dixon

025. Entwined by Heather Dixon
Publication: Greenwillow Books (March 29, 2011), ebook, 480pp / ISBN 0062001035
Genre: YA Fantasy

Read: February 1-2, 2012
Source: Bought

Summary from Amazon:

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to “keep” things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.


Okay, so: remember when I read Princess of the Midnight Ball and said that I loved the 12 Dancing Princesses story? Still true. I also still love fairy tale retellings! And, joy of joys, Entwined is the sort of retelling that changes things enough to keep it interesting without losing the important bits of the original story.

I complained that in Princess of the Midnight Ball the princesses were too passive and prone to fits of crying. In Entwined, they’re much more active in getting themselves out of the trouble they’ve put themselves in, and though they cry a lot it was somehow less annoying than it was in Princess of the Midnight Ball. (I’m not sure why.) Maybe it’s because they get themselves into that trouble in the first place? But it’s very refreshing to have a fairy tale where, while the romantic hero(es) are there for support, aren’t the ones who actual rescue the damsel(s) in distress.

The author

The focus is mainly on the older princesses, which I can kind of understand as it’s not very interesting reading about a baby sitting around all day. Bramble, the second eldest princess, is snarky and tempestuous and she’s totally my favorite of all of them, though Azaela isn’t all that bad, either. Even Clover, who is shy and quiet and kind of invisible, is fun to read about! For a nearly 500 page book, Entwined went by really quickly, and I think that’s because of the characters.

One of my favorite things about Entwined is the relationship between the princesses and their father, the king. It starts off a bit rocky, but watching them work through their problems with him while dealing with the magical problems as well was very enjoyable. I love stories that incorporate family relationships in a realistic and interesting way!

I suppose the villain could have been more overtly villainous, but that’s just a quibble. The romantic heroes are all adorable, and the princesses– the ones that get to have actual developed personalities, anyway– are feisty without, I think, being completely anachronistic.1 The actual story itself is fantastic, and the writing is obviously pretty darned good as well. Entwined is definitely one of my favorite YA fairy tale retellings that I’ve read this year. Yay!


I loved it! If you like YA fairy tales, you’d probably like it, too.


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Other reviews

Bewitched Bookworms: “I loved Azalea and every one of her quirky, very well written sisters. Each of the twelve of them, even the baby, Lily, had such distinctive, real personalities. Their individual characters felt real to me, particularly in their interactions with each other. I love the way they acted like sisters: crabby and consoling, loving and irritating at the same time in only the way sisters can be with one another.”

Bookshelves of Doom: “Just when I thought I’d rather pull an Oedipus (the eyes, not the mom) than read yet another re-telling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, along came Heather Dixon’s Entwined, which somehow managed to feel fresh and original and charming AS WELL AS adding humor and suspense to a story that we all know every in and out of WHILE STILL staying true to the original.

Seriously, I’m still not sure how she managed it. This book was pure enjoyment.”

All About {n}: “Ms. Dixon has a sense of humor – with laugh out loud moments, you could really see her wittiness shine through. I loved those silly moments where I found myself giggling or with a big goofy grin on my face. It really gave this story – which from previous re-tellings I’ve found dark and gothic, to be something fun and carefree.”


FYI, the romance in here is lovely but, I think, not the focus of the story. Just in case you’re looking for a YA fantasy book with romance but not too much romance. 😉

The author’s photo comes from Goodreads. It’s not mine! Book cover comes from Amazon. It’s not mine, either.


  1. Apparently it’s set in the Victorian era?

5 thoughts on “REVIEW: Entwined by Heather Dixon”

  1. I love fairy tale retellings as well and really enjoyed this one. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning but by the end I couldn’t put it down and I was rushing to the end. I can’t wait to see what Heather Dixon writes next

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