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Author: Heather Dixon
Published By: Greenwillow Books (2011)
Synopsis: Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. 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. (Taken from Goodreads)
Not sure what I thought of this book.
Yes, the writing was good. The author’s descriptive language was great, and she did a great job with the aspect of fairy-tale retelling—giving a well-known fairy tale like Twelve Dancing Princesses a distinct, unique, individual feel, so much so that it was probably halfway through before it connected in my mind that it was a retelling at all. The author wrote it so uniquely and beautifully, staying so true to the original story while still giving her own crazy spin.
The characters were good. Azalea was relatable enough, and considering there were eleven sisters, they were all developed well. I liked Bramble best, because I found her personality was the strongest pull on the story.
A few things didn’t make much sense to me, such as Lily, who seemed to go from newborn to somewhat independent in three pages. Maybe it was just fairy-tale life, but it didn’t seem too realistic that a newborn could just sit in her bassinet and grow perfectly into a happy, toddling toddler without extended and extra help from her sisters. In that sense, this book could seem stereotypical. Similarly, lots of things happened really fast and were kind of unbelievable.
My main big problem with the book was the ghostly, spiritual aspect. Characters talk about souls, and they see ghosts, and a dead king kept alive for years is plotting to kill someone. A character morphs forms to pretend to be a dead mother with her mouth sewn shut, then tries to decieve Azalea. A conflict during this part of the story—and I guess the rest of the book too—was the scare that “someone would steal their souls”. It wasn’t portrayed in exactly positive tone, and it became very strange very quickly, without much warning. It didn’t really reflect the good things, I felt, but rather painted it creepily just for the sake of creepy. Maybe some people like this, but it had too much darkness in it for me.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad book, but I found it just didn’t exactly portray the right/positive things but instead seemed to dwell on the negative and dark side of things. True, Azalea and her sisters definitely know the wrong from the right; overall, though, the story, despite its good points, just had too much darkness in it for me.
Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
Recommended to: Not recommended.