Book Review: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

How Excited Was I To Read Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale? This book is the sequel to Princess Academy, which I loved. Kinda goofy name, but a great book. It’s a Newbery Honor book, for crying out loud! Needless to say, QUITE excited!

Book Rating: 8. I enjoyed this book, but I have to admit that I enjoyed Princess Academy more.

Book Jacket: 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: Let’s start with things I didn’t like about this book. I want to get those out of the way. Hopefully y’all won’t judge me too harshly, because Shannon Hale is an author who generally can do no wrong in my book!

One of my favorite parts of Princess Academy was its rich cast of supporting characters. Several of these characters return, but they do not play as large of roles in this book – and they sort of blend together. I missed each girl with her distinct personality. Except Britta. Britta really had some moments where she shone here, and that made me really happy.

My other quibble: there’s a love triangle. And it kind of made me nervous! Even though he says it’s because he felt so comfortable with her, I felt like Peder really needed to communicate better with Miri and not take her understanding – or her as a person! – for granted! This love triangle was not my cup of tea.

On to the good stuff. I was so excited to see Miri again! Seven years have passed in the real world since Hale published Princess Academy, but barely any time has elapsed in Princess-Palace world. And I liked that. Miri continued to grow as a person and as a character in this book, just as you’d hope.

I also enjoyed the politics! Revolution! Salons! The shoeless! All very French, and all very exciting. It also means that this book was quite substantial in certain respects – at least in its themes. And I think Hale’s readers were ready for that.

Overall verdict:  If you loved Princess Academy, you kind of have to read this one! And you will probably enjoy it too. Just manage your expectations a bit, and you’ll be fine!