Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) by Shannon Hale

Published date: August 21 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 336

From: Publisher via Edelweiss

Summary: (Goodreads)

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.

Review: The familiar mixed smells of goats and mountain air hit me once again as I returned to Miri’s wondrous mountain world. I never knew really how much I missed the little flower until now.

Miri’s story picks up right after the ingenious, yet simple change that she enacted in the first book. Mount Eskel seems a little bit more prosperous. All thanks to Miri's bravery and her wit as she applied her studies from the Princess Academy to her life on Mount Eskel. Everything is how it was left, everything still in its place. I'm still not quite sure if I liked this or not. I was expecting Miri to have matured more, having been older. That is not the fact in the Palace of Stone, the sequel to the beloved Princess Academy. Miri is still the little girl we left her as. 

Miri, I will say, is one of the most admired characters of all time. From the time I first read Princess Academy while in elementary school all the way to the present, I have always looked up to Miri no matter her age. She's sweet, caring, and has a heart bigger than the stars. Miri, in every sense of the word, is a very radical person. She always strives for change and she indeed has a heart for people who don't have what she now has. She remembers quite easily how empty a stomach can be. So when a revolution stirs up things, Miri somehow finds herself in the middle of it. How am I not surprised? 

Miri and some of the princess academy girls travel down off their mountain into Asland. But Miri soon finds out as she comes to live at the palace that some people have no heart at all. The king is a blundering thing, with no respect or love for his starving people. The queen is too timid to speak up for herself or anything she might believe in. Miri soon realizes that the world off her mountain isn't as glorious and perfect as she once thought. Tributes are high and the people have nothing to pay them with. After studying at the university, Miri comes to have a second heart set in Asland. And yet another for its people. A question looms on the horizon. 

Will Miri ever return to Mount Eskel?

The writing was beautiful, lyrical even. I thought the letters to Marda at the end of almost every chapter was such a brilliant and wondrous idea. Some parts of the Palace of Stone albeit where awkward, but I figure it was to keep the younger audiences away from questions their parent don't want to have to answer. In example, Miri is kissed at least twice when this happens and she just sits there, eyes wide. I can only understand Hale's reluctance to share anymore with younger kids. I guess since I am a part of the older audience I see a lot more than just kisses in literature these days, sadly. 

Hale is one of the most amazing authors of this generation's literature and should be applauded and awarded with awards stacked so high she has her own real life Mount Eskel. Miri teaches all of us, young and old, that it's okay to choose both. To strive to hold on to what we have and not to choose sides so readily as we might want.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! This is definitely my most anticipated book to be released this entire summer! >_< Shannon Hale's writing has always been just so graceful and lyrical, I agree! Fantastic review!

    ~ Vivian