Like many of you, I am a cover shopper. If the cover sticks in my mind, I pick up the book and read the description to see if I'm interested. In the case of Heather Dixon's novel, the cover alone sold this novel to me. I knew looking at it that I would love it. After all, I love Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series, so how could I go wrong with this choice?
After sitting on my shelf for many weeks, I saw Entwined as an audio at my library. I decided that since I really wanted to read it but I have so much going on with teaching, I would give the audio a try.
Summary (from cover):
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.
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.
Azalea is cast in the middle between doing what is right by her sisters and what is right by expectations. She is in charge of caring for the well-being of the eleven youngers, and Azalea takes this job quite seriously. But she also knows there are rules that must be followed, and she walks a fine line between following those rules and breaking them (but for the right reasons).
Dixon creates an interesting world for readers. We are privy to RB (royal business) within the palace, but we are also initiated into a magic that grows within the user. One that requires an oath, an oath that may cost some their lives. While the plot itself is fascinating and perfectly paced, the world created beyond the palace walls in the one that will capture readers, much like Keeper is trying to capture his freedom.
Dixon's "other world" brings a Gaimanesque quality to it, creating perfect juxtaposition between the intention of Azalea and her sisters and that of Keeper. Those who have read any of Gaiman's work will immediately pick up on the macabre creation of Dixon's within the magical world, a world that is meant to keep all twelve girls safe, not tear them apart.
But do not be fooled readers. While the girls do spend time in the magical world dancing, while the girls do find themselves in a precarious situation, this is not the focus. This is what enhances it. There is plenty of fainting, romance, fainting, romance, fainting, and romance to keep you turning the page as well. All of this fainting, romance, and magical world make this worth you reading.
Like Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy, Entwined casts an enchantment over readers.
A final note about the title - let's just say that it is clever, and the reveal of the title's origin will be a clever surprise to readers.