Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale: Review

Posted 7 August, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 10 Comments

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale: ReviewPrincess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA on August 21, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Royalty, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Friendship
Pages: 321
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

I received this book for free from Bloomsbury Publishing USA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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five-stars

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. Picking up where Princess Academy left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for.

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.

Emily

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10 Responses to “Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale: Review”

    • 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.

  1. 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.

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

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