Book Review: Princess Academy Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale + Giveaway
PROS:Miri and the rest of the beloved characters from book one do NOT disappoint; added excitement and danger of revolution; Asland and political intrigue; sweet romance
CONS:You are left at the end with a familiar Princess Academy ending pit in your stomach—when is the next one?
A perfect, deeply satisfying addition to this beloved tale.
You know when you reach the end of a perfect fantasy story, and everything is just as it should be? All the drama is wound down, all the tensions soothed, each of the characters nestled snugly into that perfect place the author found for them? In your book memory, that moment is perfect, and it feels good to think back on your beloved characters frozen there forever. Or continuing to live their lives not too far from that moment, doing very them things, saying very them words.
Princess Academy was a smart, whimsical fantasy with crackling, unforgettable characters, and it ended in a wonderful way. As enamored as the reader may be with Miri, Britta, Esa, Gerti, Frid and Mount Eskel, the story felt finished. It was easy to imagine Miri being her inquisitive, fun-loving self—cracking jokes and making people smile around her mountain village—into perpetuity.
But loving the way a story ends doesn’t stop you from wanting MORE—wanting to know what happens after happily-ever-after. Luckily Shannon Hale wasn’t content to leave us hanging.
In Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, Miri and her friends are called to Asland to prepare for Britta’s wedding, and Katar hints to Miri that there are troubles in the capitol. When Miri and her friends arrive, they find a city full of opportunities and distractions.
Miri is dazzled by all the knowledge within her grasp at the Queen’s Castle university, and her friends find their own trades to learn, and eventually, to bring back to Mount Eskel. Best of all, Miri gets to spend QT with Britta, doing lady-in-waiting wedding prep.
But not everyone in Asland is as excited about the wedding as the Mount Eskel girls. Commoners are none too happy about this noble girl in commoner’s clothing becoming princess, and they despise the king’s required tributes, which leave many in the kingdom on the verge of starvation.
The idyllic future with the prince the girls vied for in the last novel is revealed to be a childish fantasy. The reality of the monarchy is not as pretty as its Princess Academy symbol—the silver dress the girls wanted so badly to wear to last year’s ball.
In the same way new knowledge and experiences changed Miri’s outlook on the world and caused her to want to spark change on Mount Eskel, her newfound knowledge of Danland’s history and the injustice of its monarchy gives her an urge for action. But can she spark a revolution when it would hurt her best friend?
Miri is the same intellectually curious, radiant girl we loved in Princess Academy—but she’s wiser, more thoughtful, more self-possessed. All of the features that made the first book so enchanting show up in the sequel in some form—the friendships borne out of competition, the thrill of leaving home and being part of something bigger, the yearning for the home you left behind, the magical whispers of quarryspeech, the mystical powers of linder and Mount Eskel, and the tentative, sweet romance.
This sequel puts friends in opposition to each other, tests loyalties, and causes the reader to question everything in the way that Miri would them want to, were she writing her own story.
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone is a perfect, deeply satisfying addition to this series!
Check out the trailer:
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