Sunday, August 12, 2012
Palace of Stone (review)
To me, Shannon Hale's books always feel like fairytales. They aren't re-tellings or remakes, but stories in their own right. They are deceptively simple and surprisingly deep. Palace of Stone is no exception. I was a little nervous. The Princess Academy was so wonderfully perfect that I wasn't sure how she could continue the story.
But Hale did something smart. She waited before writing a sequel, not just immediately writing her first idea but letting the story of Miri grow. She waited for the right story and you can tell that this is not some hastily thrown together sequel, but a fully realized novel of it's own.
In this sequel we find Miri and the academy girls spending a year in Asland to help prepare Britta for her wedding. They're surprised to discover that all is not perfect in Danland, but there's poverty and starvation everywhere.
But even more important than that, there are whispers of revolution. Miri, while attending Queen's Castles to become a scholar, meets some of the would-be revolutionaries. She discovers that she agrees with a lot of their ideas like equality and representation for commoners, but finds herself stuck between her princess best friend and the growing discontentment of the poor.
The Miri of Palace of Stone is more grown-up than the Miri of Princess Academy, but she's just as charming. She studies ethics and rhetoric, then makes goat jokes with the others from Mount Eskel. She's still the same Miri, but discovering more about herself and Asland.
This is a worthy sequel to Princess Academy. The book is sweet, even while dealing with the threats of revolution and assassination, it maintains the fairytale like quality that we've come to expect from Shannon Hale books.
An advance reading copy was provide by the publisher through Netgalley for an honest review.