MINI REVIEWS: “Entwined” by Heather Dixon & “Kringle” by Tony Abbott


Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Pages: 472

Released: March 29 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 3.87 (of 31,933 ratings)


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.


Entwined is a loose retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I don’t even know where that tale originally comes from so *pause* while I Google. AND okay, it is by the Brothers Grimm, which explains why I am familiar with the original since I own THIS complete collection and have come across the tale before. (Would recommend, 10/10.) In Entwined, Azalea’s mother dies in childbirth on Christmas Eve. Now the oldest of twelve (very rambunctious) sisters, Azalea must come to terms with her mother’s passing during the required year of mourning. AKA one year in all black, with absolutely NO dancing. (so, tragic).

If you love books with a family themes, Entwined has this in spades. There are twelve sisters, so not every one of them is fully fleshed out (I mean, some are also four years old), but older siblings Clover and Bramble have wonderful arcs. Not to mention how close the sisters all are. They’re constantly sneaking about to spy on parties (and hiding in the bushes to do so) and plotting ways to snatch extra desserts. This is the cutest and best knit book family out there. I mean, if these are the options, I’m down for twelve extra sisters.

Azalea’s mother adored dancing, and passed this love on to her children. Entwined tackles the topic of death and mourning by showing how Azalea and her sisters learn to accept their mother’s death by dancing (and escaping into the magical realm of the Keeper to do so). At the same time, their father grieves by strictly following the rules of mourning … and pulling away from his daughters. The family will need to learn to communicate and find shared understanding to escape Keeper. Dixon’s magical prose and family love make this a shining retelling perfect for winter months (especially with all the snowy imagery and magic!!)



Title: Kringle
Author: Tony Abbott
Pages: 324

Released: October 1 2005
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 3.82 (of 919 ratings)



Unlike the traditional Santa Claus myth, KRINGLE is a coming-of-age story about an orphan who becomes a force for good in a dark and violent time. It is a tale of fantasy, of goblins, elves, and flying reindeer — and of a boy from the humblest beginnings who fulfills his destiny.


I got this book sometime in elementary school through the Scholastic book pamphlets. You know, the ones teachers distribute and you take home to your family like, “Hey, hi, I want this book and this book and that book,” and if you’re lucky you get *one* and THIS was the one I got and to this day, no regrets. Kringle is an orphaned young boy, raised by Merwen (family acquaintance) in around 500 AD. (Don’t worry too much about the date, you basically just need “a long, long time ago.”) At this time, goblins roam the lands snatching children for some devious unknown purpose and Kringle and Merwen are attacked and separated.

Kringle is only twelve years old (and this is a middle grade novel) but the world-building is so strong that young adult readers will more than comfortably dig into his quest to reunite with Merwen. Kringle’s determination grows as his journey progresses, slowly making him into a completely believable “Santa Claus” (that name is never used in this book though) by its end. Also, I prefer his origin story and Kris Kringle-esque feel than the normal Santa Claus pitch — and if you’re a high fantasy fan, you will adore this as well.

A huuuge holiday favourite of mine and a perfect Christmas read. I would recommend to anyone looking for a book with a Christmas twist, fans of fantasy, or for parents with kids who are losing their taste for holiday magic. Kringle shows the light of the holidays through an unexpected fantasy flair sure to have Santa non-believers giving second guesses. 


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What are some of your favourite winter reads?


5 thoughts on “MINI REVIEWS: “Entwined” by Heather Dixon & “Kringle” by Tony Abbott

  1. I have Entwined from many moons ago, and I think I knew it was a retelling, but I did not know it was a grief and loss book. I love those! Glad you enjoyed it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You HAVE to read Entwined! I adore so much. It’s very different from the fantasy that is currently dominating the YA market right now, not as dark or heavy but still super magical. Glad you liked the review!! I haven’t read Illusionarium… I’ll have to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

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