Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale: Review

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Palace of Stone
By: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy

note: There will inevitable spoilers for The Princess Academy in this review. However, there are no spoilers for Palace of Stone here.

After completing her time at the Princess Academy and even setting up a school for the children at Mount Eskel, Miri is given the opportunity to attend school off the mountain at the Queen's Castle in Asland. Miri is delighted to be with her friend Britta again, but soon learns that there is serious unrest in the kingdom. Between being faced with the big city, new friends, and challenging new ideas, Miri's loyalties are torn.

Oh yeah, and Peder is there.

Though I trust Shannon Hale implicitly to tell a good story, I was very.... curious to see how she would continue Miri's story when I felt like Princess Academy wrapped up so well. And it went in a direction that I absolutely was not expecting. And I mean that in the best possible way.

For some reason, I read the acknowledgements first. And I immediately knew that this book was going to be something special. Hale mentions that a portion of the proceeds of the book will go to LDS Humanitarian Services to help those who can't meet their most basic needs.

And on that note, I began the book. And I was bowled over by the most expert way that Hale handles complex situations like revolution, poverty, loyalty, and love. I've often felt that the best children's writers are able to take a sensitive issue and pose it in a way that is both thoughtful and respectful. There are so many ways that this book could have become preachy or false. But, it was handled so beautifully that I really think that I loved Palace of Stone more than Princess Academy. Which I didn't think was possible.

Miri is a strong girl. She has a strong, sound mind. Though goodness knows I love a girl that kicks butt ala Katniss, I really loved that Miri is most definitely not violent. But she is equally as strong. She comes off her mountain and out of her comfort zone. And she is stretched and tested in many ways. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but she does a darn good job of using her head and trying her best to help in a situation that is most definitely not black and white.

In regards to Miri and Peder. Peder comes with Miri in order to work as an apprentice to a stone carver in Asland. While Miri immerses herself in her studies, Peder works with equal fervor in his job. In fact, Peder becomes so entrenched (and exhausted!) by his work, Miri starts to wonder if he really does care for her. Which allows the sneaky addition of another character that opens Miri to questions about where she really does belong.

If you enjoyed Princess Academy, you are going to ADORE Palace of Stone. But, if you haven't read Princess Academy yet, you'll definitely want to get on that.


want a signed copy? check out The King's English!

10 comments:

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE PRINCESS ACADEMY!! I was unbelievably freaking out when I heard there was a sequel!! And, I'm so glad you loved it!!! I can't wait!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I freaked out too! And then I freaked out when I got a copy. And then I freaked out after I read it. I did a lot of freaking out.

      Delete
  2. She really did a fabulous job of joining hard topics and issues with writing that tweens and even younger kids will be able to understand. She has so much talent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I don't know how she does it!

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Can't wait to hear what you think

      Delete
  4. Yay for liking it better than the original! (You're the first review I've seen that said that) I'm so excited to read this one because Princess Academy is my favorite of all of Shannon Hale's books. And that's so cool that some of the money will go towards Humanitarian Services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so very well-done. The Goose Girl will still always be my favorite, but I thought Palace of Stone was brilliant. Obviously.

      Delete
  5. I was really surprised by this too, and I really liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I came across Princess Academy at a garage sale this weekend--score!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment! I always respond to comments, so check back later, or subscribe to the comment feed.