Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ARC Book Review: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone

Shannon Hale

ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with). 

Review of Princess Academy (prequel)

Publication Date:
August 21st

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 336

Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult

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. 
A few years ago I somehow decided to by a book by the name of Princess Academy. The synopsis had intrigued me, and I loved the cover, yet they did very little to prepare me for how much I would enjoy reading it. It has possibly become one of my most reread books over these last few years, with my enjoyment increasing each time.

Needless to say I bounded around the house in excitement when I learned that Hale had decided to continue Miri's story, which at the same time felt finished, yet open ended. For about two months I sat around dying to get my hands on this book, and then I realized that it was up on NetGalley and furthermore that Bloomsbury had accepted my request for a galley once before, so it's not hard to guess what happened after that.

What is funny is that Palace of Stone did the exact same thing to me that Princess Academy did; It somehow completely exceeded my expectations. We have the return of the most interesting academy girls and with the narrowing of the characters, each girl finds her place in the world, including Miri who is invited to attend the best academy that Danland has to offer.

On top of all these characters growing up, a very fine play of politics is examined throughout the book. The idea of revolution, something that Miri created in Mount Eskel, is explored and debated and us as the readers follow Miri as she finds herself having to place an opinion on the issue of ethics.

Hale's prose, as always, is magical and easy to follow. The characters are well developed, the world expanded, the plot riveting, the pacing well done, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who loved Princess Academy.

I don't regret spending a second of my time reading this book. When it is released I plan on buying it and I'm sure it will become just as worn as my copy of Princess Academy. Palace of Stone has grown with its readers, and is more of a YA novel. I recommend it to people who love fantasy and medieval stories. I do think Princess Academy should be read first, but Palace of Stone is enough of its own story that I think it could work on its own.



Post a Comment