Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Author: Heather Dixon
Release Date: March 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 13 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
Year/Setting: The Kingdom of Eathesbury
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate (Fantastical Violence)
Heather's Website/Blog: www.harperteen.com/authors/37209/Heather_Dixon/index.aspx
Attention!! All Readers!!! I have not read a YA so good since Harry Potter came into being. This is a debut novelist who has, literally, hit the nail on the head.
This fantastic story is set in a kingdom called Eathesbury, and follows Princess Azalea and her ten younger sisters. When we first meet Azalea, she is getting ready for her very first ball. This is one Princess who is an extreme beauty, like her mother, and she is so excited about being able to hit the dance floor. She and the rest of her sisters love to dance; they get lost in the spell that music and dancing creates within them.
Before the ball, Azalea goes upstairs to speak to her mother. Mom is a very special lady, who is pregnant and not feeling very well, but always has a smile for her daughter. Oddly, Mom asks Azalea to make her a vow - to always look out for her siblings no matter what, and then hands Azalea a handkerchief made out of real silver thread.
When the ball arrives, her siblings hide in the Christmas trees placed in the ballroom so they won’t miss a second, but her father - the King - doesn’t arrive to lead her into her first dance. A very cold Prime Minister by the name of Fairweller is her first dance, explaining very coldly that her father and mother are together inside the castle and can’t be a part of the ceremony. Azalea is frightened. She not only is scared for her mother, but she knows that if she doesn’t make a romantic connection, Parliament will end up choosing her husband for her.
That night Azalea comes across the perfect man; a new sister, Lily, is born; her father, the King, disappears; and, her mother, tragically, passes away. Azalea’s life turns into a huge mess - living in a castle that was once the home of a King who practiced black magic, leaving behind some very twisted rooms within the stone.
Azalea must suddenly take over being head of household while her father abandons her and rushes off to war. Finding an odd doorway within a fireplace that sits inside the girls’ bedroom, Azalea enters and discovers a magical pace where you can dance all night, every night, and is run by a handsome gentleman named Wentworth - the Keeper of the Pavilion.
The magic, the drama, the mystery, the romance, the race against time to solve puzzles and save souls - absolutely every plot is fantastic; every single page of this novel is truly overwhelmingly. There is not a bad or boring moment, or a useless character. This writer has done the impossible and created an absolutely one hundred percent perfect debut novel.
I, for one, can’t WAIT for what Heather Dixon thinks up next! Run to Amazon or your local bookstore and get in on this woman’s amazing career right now!
Until next time,
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