Entwined

Entwined - Heather Dixon I liked Azalea. She is a unique character to be created (at least as a main character) in this day and age. She's strong enough to cope with her mother's death, and being forced into a mother-like role, and comfort her sisters, yet weak enough to throw tantrums, actually be endangered by the villain, and need the help of other characters. To need the help of the male characters. I found the tantrums very annoying, so I didn't like that part of her, but I did like that she was vulnerable--something I haven't seen as much of lately. I don't have a problem with strong female leads, I actually do really like them, but not every woman is strong in the way this culture values, and it's nice to see another kind of character represented for once. Especially since people are offended when a woman is rescued by a man, but think it's the greatest thing when a man is rescued by a woman (why can't there be both).

That said, Azalea was strong in her own way, the way she cared for her sisters, and the way she was forced into the role her mother should have held. People forget or don't realize how much strength that would take. Even though she wasn't what is considered a 'strong female lead,' Azalea was a strong character. As I said before, Azalea's tantrums were the place where I think her character, as a character, suffered greatly. She was (understandably) upset with the way her father treated her, and more importantly, her sisters, but the tantrum she threw nearly got her entire family killed. If she hadn't sworn, and made her sisters swear, not to tell anyone about the pavilion, then they would have been able to tell their father the moment they realized that the Keeper was dangerous, but no, Azalea made them swear, on silver that just happens prevents them from breaking their oaths to spite for her father making her feel unloved. I'm not quite sure why she didn't try to put herself in her father's shoes to feel his pain, and realize that, wrong though it was, pushing his daughters away was how her father dealt with his grief.

The king was foolish enough as well. He, like Azalea, was guilty of not putting himself in his daughter's shoes to realize that they too were feeling the loss of their mother, and his pushing them away made them feel unloved.

Bramble and Clover were nice characters who weren't explored very deeply, and I had trouble keeping the rest of the sisters straight. Bramble and Clover's love interests were interesting, but their potential was left relatively unexplored. Bradford was a stereotype. This was disappointing, but I still liked him. He had so much unplumbed potential, and I think with a little more development he could have been a really strong and an un-stereotypical character.

The villain was creepy, mysterious and sinister. But then he stopped being mysterious, which sucked away his sinisterness, leaving him just creepy and evil. I wish that it would have taken a little longer for him to reveal his motivations to us.

The plot is excellent and the writing is good. What the author needs to work on is her characters. Please excuse that I am mostly pointing out the things I didn't like in the book. For some reason it's really easy to do that. I really did enjoy this story.