CATCHALL I enjoyed Palace of Stone, but I don't love it the way that I loved Princess Academy. It was a cute fun, but it...more***FINAL RATING: 3.30 STARS***
CATCHALL I enjoyed Palace of Stone, but I don't love it the way that I loved Princess Academy. It was a cute fun, but it was by no means light. It was much darker and heavier than PA and not in a way I liked very much. It wasn't nearly as fun as I was hoping and somewhat of a disappointment. Don't get me wrong—I definitely liked it—but it just wasn't what I was expecting.
THE HEROINE MIRI I did enjoy seeing Miri's growth in this book. For most of the book, she's really innocent and conflicted, and she doesn't seem to understand the way life is when she's not on her mountain, which is realistic and understandable. She really matures in this book in a way she doesn't in PA. However, in some ways she is also a bit too naïve in a way that borders on irritating. Still, I admire the way she grows up, and how she learns to stand up for what's right.
THE LOVE INTERESTS PEDER So, we actually don't see much of Peder in this book, so I don't have a massive amount of things to stay here. However, what we do see of him is undeniably sweet. He doesn't change much, but that's okay because I've always liked him the way he is. He obviously loves Miri, and is pretty much willing to do anything for her. Peder seems to be aloof and distracted at times, but why is he this way? Well, you'll just have to read and find out! TIMON This guy just set off my smarm alarm from the moment he showed up. From the beginning, something was wrong with him. Even though he sometimes seemed like a decent guy, he would turn around and do something so creepy that there was no way I could bring myself to like him for more than a moment.
THE BEST FRIEND BRITTA We don't see a whole lot of Britta, but I want to mention her because I really liked her in this book and I admired the role she played. She wants what's right for the people of Danland, but she also doesn't want to back down. She's also a wonderful friend to Miri, and she does a lot for her.
THE PLOT Like I said, it was mainly the plot of Palace of Stone that didn't pull me in. When I first read Princess Academy years ago, I fell in immediate and unadulterated love. Yet when I picked up Palace of Stone, it failed to draw me in the same way.
That aside, it was a good plot. The revolution builds up nicely, if it is resolved a bit too quickly. The transitions are smooth and realistic, and it isn't built in a day. It also reminds me vaguely of the French Revolution. Not that I know much about the French Revolution, except that Robespierre pretty much just went around chopping people's heads off and there was a lot of blood everywhere.
Since this is a book for younger people, there obviously isn't blood everywhere, although plans involving blood and death are mentioned in passing, and that's enough to scare Miri into finally picking a side and taking action.
However, until Miri finally takes action, the plot moves rather slowly. For a long time, nothing that interesting happens and it takes about half of the book, give or take, for something entertaining and important to happen. I think if it had moved faster it would have been more enjoyable for me, but at the same time I understand why Shannon chose to take her time developing the revolution.
THE ROMANCE The romance in this book was light and sweet, with a love triangle that wasn't really much of a love triangle. Still, Miri's feelings for both Peder and Timon are realistic and so is the way she gets torn between them. It isn't always an easy choice for her to make until the end, when it becomes clear to her. Every part of the romance builds sweetly, and there's more romance here than in PA, which is an aspect I did like.
THE WRITING Shannon's writing is as gorgeous as ever—no complaints here. I really don't have much to say. The description is as gorgeous and delicious as always—she makes everything sound almost edible. Her descriptive voice is strong without being overbearing. Miri's feelings really come though, too, and even the feelings of those around her are usually clear.
THE ENDING The ending I actually really liked. It connects Miri both to her home on Mount Eskel and her new life in the city. At the same time, the story is resolved, if a bit too quickly and prettily for my taste. Still, it tied everything up nicely, and by the end Miri has matured into a strong and likable character. The ending really pulled everything together, past, present, and future, and it would have been difficult not to admire that.
WRAPUP I would definitely recommend this book! There were some things that I personally didn't like, but I think that some of the things that I didn't like won't bother other people as much as they bothered me. This was a fun read, and I'm glad that Princess Academy had a sequel. I love Shannon's books, and this was no exception!