Title: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Originally Published: 2012 (Release date 8/21/2012)
Format I Read: Kindle eBook (via Netgalley)
Princess Academy is one of my favorite books by Shannon Hale (with The Goose Girl narrowly edging it out of first place). So, I was overjoyed when I found out she was penning a sequel. And what a sequel Palace of Stone is!
Miri and several of the other graduates of the princess academy are headed to the capital for a year to be ladies of the princess-to-be, Britta. Miri is going to enter the Queen’s Palace as a scholar and hopes to learn enough to make her family proud. She also hopes to continue her relationship with Peder, who is also in the capital as a carving apprentice. But things get more complicated that she thought possible, when she learns of the political situation in the capital and the rumblings of a revolution.
This is a fitting sequel to Princess Academy. I loved being back in this world. I love Miri. And Peder. I even enjoyed the politics. And I sympathized with the confusion and pressure Miri feels throughout the book. She is a great heroine – naive at times, but also smart and honorable.
The writing is well done, of course. I’d expect nothing less from Shannon Hale at this point. Here’s a lovely quote that also highlights one of the themes:
Unlike numbers, words were rarely just one thing. They moved and changed, camouflaging and leaping out unexpectedly. Words were slippery and alive, words wrestled out of her grip and became something new. Words were dangerous. (Ch. 12)
The plotting was deftly done and well paced. And it packed an emotional punch too. I unexpectedly cried at the end. (Oh, one small note on the plot. This may just be because I happened to be listening to the audio of Enna Burning at the same time I was reading this book, but the plots struck me as very similar: friend of princess established in prior book goes back now to help and save the kingdom with her special powers and personality. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, but it is interesting.)
Anyway, if you enjoyed Princess Academy, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one. And though Palace of Stone could technically stand on its own, I would definitely recommend reading Princess Academy first.
Palace of Stone, Shannon Hale [rating:4]
I’m giving away a copy of Princess Academy to one lucky reader! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post listing all of the Shannon Hale books you’ve read (or that you want to read). U.S. and Canadian addresses only please. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, August 27, 2012.