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Princess Academy: Palace of Stone Paperback – February 24, 2015
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“Palace of Stone . . . proves once again that with quick wit and brave words, one person really can change the world.” ―School Library Journal
“Powerful and deeply engaging. . . . Readers who have been waiting since 2005 will find their patience well rewarded.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Hale's skill as a storyteller will charm her audience . . . nobody else has quite the same knack for seamlessly segueing between the folksy, intimate charm of an extended fairy tale and the larger canvas and more epic scope of high fantasy.” ―Horn Book
“Hale is a master of fantasy. . . . A gorgeously-written sequel.” ―Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss
“Shannon Hale's books reignite my love of reading--that joy of having the time of my life with a great story.” ―Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight
“Shannon Hale writes deft, lyrical wonderful fantasy.” ―Holly Black
“Hale's skill as a storyteller will charm her audience…nobody else has quite the same knack for seamlessly segueing between the folksy, intimate charm of an extended fairy tale and the larger canvas and more epic scope of high fantasy.” ―The Horn Book on Palace of Stone
“Shannon Hale writes deft, lyrical wonderful fantasy” ―Holly Black
About the Author
Shannon Hale is the Newbery Honor–winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Academy series; Book of a Thousand Days; The Books of Bayern; Dangerous; and the graphic novels Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack. She also wrote three novels for adults, including Austenland, now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell. She and her husband, the author Dean Hale, have four children and live near Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit Shannon online at www.shannonhale.com and on Twitter at @HaleShannon.
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Top Customer Reviews
I finished this book some time ago and waited awhile before deciding to leave a review. I've been debating with myself whether or not my expectations were too high. PRINCESS ACADEMY is probably one of my all-time favorite books, and Shannon Hale is absolutely one of my favorite authors.
Let's put it this way: If this were a debut novel by a new author, I would probably give it four stars. Pretty good effort, and so much YA fiction published recently is not that great. A lot of it is over-hyped, primarily because booksellers have discovered that YA is a booming market, and terrible books like The Twilight Saga have done shockingly well, while "pretty good" books like The Hunger Games have practically smashed records.
But this is a Shannon Hale book, and the sequel to a Newbery Honor book. At best, it's a two star read. But I can't bring myself to give a Shannon Hale book two stars. She's too amazing a writer for that. So three stars it is.
I follow Ms. Hale on Twitter (being the perhaps slightly obsessed and devoted fan that I am) and saw her tweeting countless times about how much she shaved off from her original draft. Well, maybe this knowledge colored my reading of the book, but this really showed. The transitions between scenes are lightning fast and often make very little sense. The atmosphere of the city is NEVER explored, not in the way Miri's village or the academy was. I have no idea what the city is like, other than "generic fantasy novel city."
Characters are not given time to develop. There is a tutor who was basically as fleshed out as the wallpaper in Miri's new classroom. A revolutionary turns out to be a "bad" woman. A new love interest turns out to be a rascal. I didn't particular care when these two revealed their true colors because they didn't really have any colors to begin with.
And yes, you saw that right. A love interest. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to see PALACE OF STONE succumb to the Twilight and Hunger Games obsession with love triangles. I ALMOST stopped reading the book. And no, it was not a well-written triangle. Might I also add that Miri and Peder's friendship basically transitions from "friends who are shyly interested in one another" (Princess Academy) to "okay, I think we're engaged" (Palace of Stone). This is incredibly frustrating to the reader. How did this come about? Very little of their friendship/relationship is actually IN the book. As soon as they arrive in the city, Peder returns to his apprenticeship and is practically never heard from again. Miri visits him once or twice, but these scenes are not memorable. The same goes for her friendships with her fellow princess academy graduates. One girl basically "turns bad" for no particular reason at the very end of the book. Katar's anger is diminished, rendering her lifeless and dull. Gerti disappears. Frid disappears. Esa disappears. Britta -now an actual princess, and apparently Miri's best friend (since when...?)- also disappears. Prince Stefan... who's that?
The theme of revolution is rushed (why are the "shoeless" angry? TAXES! And...? And...?) and poorly, almost ridiculously, resolved. I finished and actually felt as if it tainted my experience with PRINCESS ACADEMY.
I cannot really recommend this book. I recommend all of Hale's other masterpieces: PRINCESS ACADEMY, BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS, GOOSE GIRL. I'm certain this one was just a dud... Ms. Hale herself said she had been reluctant for a long time to write a sequel to PA. (FYI: I think sequels may just not be right for her wonderful narratives. The book that follows GOOSE GIRL has been equally difficult for me to get through. Some of the magic has just been... lost.)
I hope this review can be helpful to someone considering reading the book, and I hope I've explained why I didn't care for it, but that my esteem for Shannon Hale remains strong. A disappointment is just that: a disappointment.
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. (Goodreads)
I guess Palace of Stone could be called pretty good. It's disappointing though, especially if you've just finished reading Princess Academy. You might want a good year or so before reading Palace of Stone if you loved Princess Academy to pieces. I think Palace of Stone is a great book, but it's just nowhere close to Princess Academy. I guess there's nothing else to say about my feelings now.
I absolutely hated the love triangle. Shannon Hale had so much freedom when writing Palace of Stone, yet she just had to put in a love triangle! It's pretty obvious that Miri would choose Peder; that happens in every single novel. However, if Miri really had chosen Timon, I wouldn't have anything to complain about. Don't get me wrong, Peder is the perfect boy. It's just that when you have a perfect boy, there's really no need for a love triangle.
I feel like Miri's not as strong of a character anymore. In Princess Academy, Miri came to be a strong character. She really developed and became a heroine. In Palace of Stone, Miri's nowhere near as strong. She still strong in terms when compared to other protagonists, but that doesn't cut it. She's annoyingly clingy and underwhelming. She doesn't have the right mindset to solving all the problems. She's just not as great of a character anymore.
However, I did love all the elements with the linder and Britta and the magical touches that are only in Shannon Hale's books. It's nice to read about Mount Eskel again, no matter how morphed the plot is. I missed Peder a lot, and I guess the romance wasn't too bad. You have to keep in mind the words "too bad," though. It's not as if I love Peder's inability to express his feelings for Miri. Another thing to keep in mind is that Katar, Gerti, Esa and Liana aren't really in the story. They're blank characters for you to remember, and that's about it.
I really hate giving Shannon Hale a bad review. It hurts a lot, but I feel as if Palace of Stone deserves it. It's not cool how it's a step down from Princess Academy, but I guess that's partly my fault that I'm a picky reader. I just really hope that Peder and Miri's next adventure is more exciting than the one they just had. I miss them already.
This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
This book like Princess Academy was perfect. It's politics and philosophy inside a pretty package with a sweet heroine who wants the best for everyone. I tore through this book always excited to see what was next while reveling in the magical world.
Appropriateness: This is a sweet book that will appeal to a broad audience. It is written for the middle grade audience (10-14) but is interesting and deep enough for older readers if they can get past the title of the book. The romance is sweet and innocent, nothing that would turn off young readers. I would recommend this book to readers 10+