Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication date: August 2012
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from ALA
For: Review
Series: Princess Academy, Book 2

When Miri is invited to visit the city for a year, to attend Britta's wedding, she is both excited and nervous. Leaving her family and her mountain are hard, but the new and exciting things in Asland quickly help her adjust. She attends school and learns so much more - she also learns that all is not well in the kingdom and there are some who want change. Miri finds herself stuck in the middle, trying to decide where she stands, before events turn dangerous.

Things I Liked:
I'm so happy to have more of Miri.  I love seeing her and some of the Eskel girls make their way in a new place, a place very different from home.  I thought the ethical questions in the book were really well done, really thoughtful.  Hale truly didn't make things seem black and white, but many shades in between.  Miri, as she tries to decide what is right, makes mistakes and changes her mind, and doesn't know quite what to do, but she learns and grows.  I was really impressed with how the book ended.  Hale did not try to tie things up neatly with a bow, she didn't have everything magically and instantly work out.  In fact, what you think is the climax and denouement turn out to be only the beginning of the end.  This is a great sequel and a complex look at the politics of a kingdom, but without being dull.

Things I Didn't Like:
A few times I was distracted from the story by some of the obvious things going on Miri didn't see (though, to be honest, I am not the intended audience and think this might be part of my annoyance).  There are clear signs pointing, but there are also more surprises that aren't entirely evident at first.  This will be loved by those who enjoyed the first book, and by tweens interested in dipping their toes into court complexities.

Start with Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
some minor scary parts, nothing too violent

Overall rating: ****

Are you one who must reread a book before the sequel or do you just wing it, hoping you'll remember?  (Guess which one I am :)

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I usually just hop right into the sequel and hope I remember what's going on. I'm not sure if I'll read this one, though. The first one wasn't my favorite.

    1. Yeah, I hop in too. Well, if you didn't like the first, you might not like the second. It is rather different, though, but still a MG book.

  2. This is one I'll need to read!

  3. I love reading all the reviews for this! Princess Academy is one of my most favorite MG books, so my hopes have been so high for the sequel. It's good to know some things are obvious. I think plot flaws bother me less when I know to expect them, if that makes any sense.

    1. Makes perfect sense to me, kathy. I hope you enjoy this one as much as Princess Academy!

  4. I usually wing it. It's been so long since I read Princess Academy but I'd probably just jump right in to this one.

    1. Glad to know I'm not alone in my wing-it issues :)


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