View from the window seat:
Warning: This is the sequel to Princess Academy, and my review inevitably contains spoilers from the first book. If you don’t want to know the ending to Princess Academy, read no further!
I love Shannon Hale. Her Bayern books are some of my favorite books ever. I love how she took a classic fairytale and then created an entire world with real people who live outside the conventions of a single story. So when I was casually browsing booths for ARCs and saw Shannon Hale on the title of one, I grabbed it so fast my hand my was probably invisible. In Palace of Stone, we get to continue Miri’s journey from Princess Academy as she travels to the lowlands to help her best friend Britta marry the prince and to study at the Queen’s Castle. Miri is a truly wonderful character, a strong, clever heroine who loves her mountain village and acts to change the world around her. This book is no different, with Miri quickly becoming swept up in the whispers of revolution as she meets with rebel commoners. What I loved so much about this book is Miri’s actions and reactions, all of which were so genuinely human. She becomes enamored with the idea of change for the common people, so much so that she inadvertently puts her friends in danger. I loved that through her actions, we see how words have power and how dangerous they can be. Miri stands up for what she believes in, she stands up for her village, and she stands up for those she loves. Miri is a girl of action, and though she makes mistakes, she always ends up doing what’s right. Simply being who she is changes the world around her forever, and that is a very cool thing.
Shannon Hale never fails to make her worlds magical. She enchanted me in Princess Academy with Mount Eskel, its quarry, and its villagers. The city of Asland wasn’t as enchanting, but what the author does so well is make the reader feel wonder through Miri. She continues to be surprised and awed by the richness of buildings and rooms, such as she has never seen in her poor village. I liked that she never got used to such richness.
Another delightful tale from Shannon Hale. Fans of Princess Academy will not be disappointed with this sequel.
Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.