Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OMG, awesome sword!

I was looking forward to hunkering down with Entwined by Heather Dixon, a 12-dancing-princesses fantasy that has gotten plenty of enthusiastic reviews.

And I loved the opening pages - a ball is about to begin in a castle that was once ruled by a crazed High King who so abused magic that it had to be banned.

But then, on page 3, comes this exchange between Royal Steward Mr. Pudding and Princess Azalea as they're cleaning up some stray pine needles off the floor:
"It's all right, Mr. Pudding," said Azalea. "I've got it."
"Right you are, miss, so you do," he said, collecting the needles with gnarled hands. "It's only...your mother wants to see you, miss."
Azalea paused, the needles pricking her palms.
"She does?" she said. "The King is all right with it?"
 This threw me right out of the story and back into my own world with a jolt.  'The King is all right with it?' Does this not sound jarringly 21st century?

But I was already enjoying the story, so I counseled myself to be more tolerant.  On I read - until disaster struck on page 6.  Azalea is visiting her sick mother before the ball, all dressed in her finery.  She has just told her mother that her little sisters are in the garden.
"Oh," said Mother. "Well.  If they are having a jolly Christmas Eve, then... I'm glad for it. Ah, but look at you! Princess Royale! You look a picture print! The green makes your eyes pop.  I knew it would."
 I had a tiny problem with the word 'jolly' and then I puzzled for a moment over the phrase 'you look a picture print,' which seemed nonsensical.  But 'the green makes your eyes pop'?!  What is this, Seventeen magazine?  Good lord!!

At this point, I sadly put Entwined aside.  If the language annoyed me this much by page 6, there was no way I was going to get through the whole book.  The language of fantasy is really important to me.  Have any of you read Entwined - or any other book that used jarring language?  What are your thoughts?

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