Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Princess Academy

Shannon Hale

Publication Date: April 17th 2007

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 336

Genre: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

Princess Academy was the first book I read by Shannon Hale and quickly sealed my love for her writing. It succeeded at completely surprising me with the direction it went and thus pleasing me greatly. It succeeds at not being cliché within a story that is predisposed to being that way. When you read the synopsis and then you start reading the book you expect it to be a classic fairytale story where the main character gets the prince and lives happily ever after. The book however is not about that, it's about eyes opening because of knowledge.

As a bookworm myself and someone who likes to have a children's book focus on something other than the girl gets the boy because she's beautiful and they love each, I enjoyed this direction.

The fantasy element that is added in to the story is also very well done. It flows naturally into the story and is not forced at all.

The only thing that did bother me in the story was Miri's age, and that was mostly because I kept imagining her younger than fourteen, I do think a portion of this is because of the cover on the paperback which features a younger looking girl (possibly eight) and I do know the new version of the cover being released features an older girl and I'm interested to see if that would have changed my perception of Miri's age. (The newer version is the cover I feature above)

This is one my all time favourite books. It is an MG book I recommend to anyone who loves MG fantasy and those who want to share stories with younger friends, siblings or children with nice messages in there, yet a fun sense of adventure.



Unknown said...

Couple of typos in your review
'I enjoyed the this direction.'
'version of te cover'

Your reviews are as enjoyable as ever :)

Sam said...

@Rose: *laughs* Thank you, you'd think I'd be better at catching typos considering how many times I read over the reviews before I post them. And I'm glad you enjoy my reviews, thank you for reading them :D

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