Monday, November 5, 2012

Read This: Princess Academy Palace of Stone

Princess Academy Palace of Stone
by Shannon Hale

The Short Story
Miri is in Asland, helping Britta get ready for her wedding to the prince and attending the university. But there's a lot of talk of rebellion and she gets caught in the thick of it. Miri has to navigate between her loyalty to her home and the new opportunities and people in big city. 
Very different from the original, but a thought-provoking and entertaining read.

Come for the....
grown up Miri! I loved Princess Academy, with its unexpected smartness. Miri was such an interesting, kind, and influential character. So I was very excited to see her in a new setting. I'd heard this book was far more political than the original, and since I knew to expect that I think it was easier to enjoy. For a middle grade book, it raises a lot of mature issues. I liked watching Miri struggle to decide what was right with government and equality. Her conclusions are perhaps more simplistic than they would be realistically. But I was impressed that Hale took that on.

I also liked seeing a lot of the things that I enjoyed from the first book: the little poems at the beginning of each chapter, the use of quarry speech, Miri's friends from the original Academy. I loved the continued idea that Miri (and Britta) could be powerful by using intelligence and kindness. I like my kick-butt heroines, but it's nice to see a powerful female figure that doesn't succumb to the popular tropes.

Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • The writing wasn't quite as good in this one. Occasionally I felt like Miri almost fell out of character. Sometimes it seemed like she was channeling the mom from The Actor and The Housewife.
  • The love stor(ies) in this one were a little weak, but it is a middle grade book.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: not an issue
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: some shooting and mobs


    1. Princess Academy is always one of those books that I swear I'm going to read someday, but I never seem to get around to it.

    2. I'm always interested in books where the heroines are able to success without physically kicking butt. It's something that's really hard to write. Middle grade books are often so surprising in this aspect. I am going to add this to my TBR.

    3. I haven't read ALL of Shannon's books yet but if I'm being honest, I wasn't over fond of the first book in this series. I don't really have any desire to read this one but that doesn't mean I won't. ;)