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Review - Palace of Stone

Monday, August 20, 2012
Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2)
by Shannon Hale

Publication: August 21, 2012
Pages: 336
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

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.

Miri's story didn't leave Shannon Hale, so she wrote a sequel. Yay! I adored Princess Academy and its sweet ending. Much more than that, I love Shannon Hale's writing and decided to place my trust in her and read this as a separate book with the power to stand on its own. I'm delighted to say that I love this book in its own way.

Miri is still in the process of growing up. While the Princess Academy has educated her and she threw a revolution of sorts at Mount Eskel when she convinced the villagers to demand fair trade for the linder that they quarry, she is still a teenage girl and human. Her emotions are conflicted. Since Peder kissed her cheek, making his feelings for her clear, they haven't had any romantic encounters. Girls are getting betrothed back home, but they haven't had any progress in their relationship.

When some of the girls of Princess Academy go down to Asland to help Britta prepare for her wedding, Miri also pursues a further education, and Peder goes with them for an apprenticeship as a stone cutter. The girls learn about many things that have evaded Mount Eskel for centuries. The girls pursue their various interests, and Miri learns more about life in Asland. At the academy, Miri meets a young man involved with a revolution that is sparking in Asland, and he introduces her to people working at the heart of it. His interest and attention to her gives her tingles and almost makes up for Peder's detachment; however, she still cannot forget the boy she grew up with.

I wasn't happy with Miri's actions for much of the book. She gets in much trouble with her inconsistency and indecision. However, she's a teenage girl upon whom much burden and hopes are placed. Everyone believes that she can come up with a solution to their woes, and she doesn't believe she can live up to their expectations. It is in Asland that Miri first encounters the idea of Ethics and finds herself troubling over an ethical issue, as she considers the problem of who Mount Eskel should side with (the revolutionaries or the crown) with the newly made province's may lose its new wealth.

Over the course of the novel, Miri learns more about herself and who she wants to be. Revolution, love, and questions of morality come together in Palace of Stone as the girls of Mount Eskel bring change to the kingdom of Asland. I would recommend this quaint and inspiring book to fantasy readers of all ages.

Come back Friday for an author interview with Shannon Hale on the Palace of Stone blog tour and the chance to win a copy of the book!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
8 comments on "Review - Palace of Stone"
  1. sounds of a great book, can wait to the interview. love the cover too :)

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    1. It is! I love the cover too, especially how it ties into the book. The way that Miri is wearing her hair on the two covers (in Princess Academy and in Palace of Stone) is symbolic in a way.

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  2. I can't wait to read this. And so awesome you're part of the blog tour. I'll be back on Friday.

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    1. It's a wonderful book. I hope you enjoy the interview :)

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  3. I'm looking forward to the interview! I haven't read this series yet, but I may have to check it out!

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  4. I've read both the Princess Academy and Palace of Stone... wonderful books! I completely agree with your review.

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