Monday, November 26, 2012

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale [REVIEW]

TITLE: Palace of Stone
           (Princess Academy #2)

AUTHOR: Shannon Hale
PUB DATE: Aug 21 2012

Summary from Goodreads:

"Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting... until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself 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. Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom."


Miri has known no other life than of Mount Eskel. A simple but fulfilling life in these mountains only got better when their little village was divined to be the home of the future princess of Asland.

After spending time learning at the Princess Academy, Miri ventures into an even more challenging experience than before. She, along with a handful of girls, and Peder, are set to go to the city and help Britta (the chosen princess) to prepare for her wedding.

With the overwhelming life in the city, Miri is torn between a new and brighter world, and the comfort and security of her old life…

Shannon Hale truly is one of the best in creating fairy tales. As much as I thought I enjoyed Princess Academy, I didn’t expect the kind of change Palace of Stone presented readers with.

I found Miri relatable when it comes to, somewhat, a career growth. Before the academy was set up, Miri had known nothing more than to tend to goats and do house chores. Once she learned to read, write and discover means of making life in Mount Eskel much better for everyone, the possibilities for greater things seemed endless. Having the chance to be a scholar in the city, who would think twice about it? Here lies in the thought of succeeding and yet never forgetting where you once came from; staying grounded in spite of all the many privileges you gain through your accomplishments.

I kind of feel that Miri isn’t the same girl I met from Princess Academy. She changed quite a lot. I guess I can’t blame her given that she’s experiencing an entirely different world. There’s the feeling of being out of place, trying to fit in, meeting new people, learning new things… it’s a lot to take in. And I guess Miri is simply confused most of the time.

I don’t understand the need for another guy to be in Miri’s life though. I mean Miri already likes Peder, even though he wasn’t exposed much from the first book but I think it’s already fitting that they belong together. The girl is already swamped with all these new things, not to mention a sort of culture-shock, but you have to let her feel a sense of infatuation to top it all of? Poor girl. I just wish I could’ve seen more Peder-Miri moments than see Miri ogle over Timon. He just came out very manipulative.

Palace of Stone really took a whole other leap from Princess Academy. But the question is, was it a good or bad change? I’d have to say it would be in between. The change was good and fresh but it didn’t come out extremely exciting. If you are planning to read this book [and Princess Academy], be forewarned that these books really are set for a younger audience. If you’re a more mature person and you’re not used to this kind of writing approach, you’ll probably find this a bit shallow.

Since I’m accustomed to Hale’s writing style, I was sort of prepared for what is installed, and the familiarity made me enjoy this book just as well.

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