Publishing: March 29, 2011/ Greenwillow Books/472 pages
Format Read: Paperback
Classroom shelfability: Yes
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.
My Thoughts: Before I get started I need to make it clear that the 12 Dancing Princesses is my all-time favorite fairy tale. I love finding books that retell the story in a different light but usually find myself disappointed with the retold versions. I felt pretty underwhelmed by this book. Perhaps I hold 12 Dancing Princesses spin-offs at too high a standard or just assume I’m going to adore them and don’t… Either way, this turned out to just be an average read for me.
First: hot dayyummm, that cover is SWOON WORTHY. I love it!
To be fair, there were a few really good things I liked. I thought the characterization of the king was WONDERFUL. He really made the book for me and I loved watching the girls’ relationship with their father change.
I also really enjoyed the concept of hidden passageways, swearing on silver, and those adorable sugar tongs. In addition, Dixon is very skilled at description writing- there are some very beautiful pictures tied up in her words! Her description of the forest was downright stunning.
What I didn’t like: the girls. For some reason, Azalea really was irritating to me. She was feisty which I appreciated but just didn’t strike me as the heroine Dixon was trying for. The rest of them? Pretty boring.
I usually don’t have a hard time with suspending disbelief but I had a hard time believing everyone was a-okay with the final, VERY MAGICAL part of the book. I know that our main characters were aware of magic but for some reason the fact that all of the other characters were cool with (spoiler) girls being trapped in mirrors just felt not believable to me. I feel like Dixon needed to clear up whether or not everyone was aware that magic still existed or not. But, alas, I am not an author.
Keeper was just okay to me. He could’ve been creepier and I was sometimes unclear what was actually happening at his soirees.. were other “dancers” there? Speaking of dancing, the girls absolute adoration of dancing got a little too involved for my taste. In my mind, just because the book is based on dancing doesn’t mean the characters have to be obsessed with it. But, again, see comment: I am not an author.
Overall, I just felt a little let down. Dixon weaves a beautiful, somewhat boring story. Many people describe her writing as relaxing but it made me more sleepy than anything. The plot was fairly predictable (I knew exactly who Lea, Bram, and Clover were going to marry when their respective partners were introduced). That said, there were some really nice, new elements that she explored.
Like I said, maybe it’s my affinity for this fairy tale that always makes me score re-tellings lower than they probably should be. I think many people would enjoy this book (that cover is gorgeous!!) and it most certainly has classroom shelfability.