Mitch's Reviews > Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
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Dec 24, 13

Read in August, 2012

Miri and Princess Academy grow up in this sequel, and I'm not sure I really like it. Part of the charm of the original Princess Academy is the innocence of the characters, these simple mountain girls being exposed to the extravagance of royalty and court life for the first time yet finding inner strength in their own simplicity, and while Miri does grow as a character here, it's just not the same. A good book but without what made the original great.

According to Shannon Hale, the keyword here is revolution so I expected a lot of changes in the wind. Some of them are good, like Miri finding Asland not to be the shining city by the sea she's always dreamed of from poor, isolated Mount Eskel, but some not so much, like the massive amount of politics that's thrown into the story. I have the feeling Hale took a lot of inspiration from Les Miserables for this sequel, from the discontented masses of urban poor on the streets of Asland to the whispers of plans to overthrow the king in salons around the city, it all makes Palace of Stone a very different book from Princess Academy, a far more mature book. And that's one of my problems, Miri isn't Cosette, the way she goes around the city and things she does here just felt completely alien to her character from the first book, like she's swept up and deposited in a story that's not her own.

And for a sequel, I'm disappointed by all the returning characters except Britta. Every one of the girls who made such a huge impression in the first book, Katar, Gerti, Esa, Frid, Liana, and Bena, they all felt like they're here in name only. Princess Academy had little parts that made each of the girls feel individual, interesting, and unique, there isn’t anything here like that and I really miss it. I miss Katar as the dissatisfied girl with the chip on her shoulder, I miss Frid and her strength despite the amputated arm, I miss vain Liana, gentle Esa, little Gerti. Britta's the only returning character who gets much to do, and at least she shows the trust and respect she earns from Miri in the first book isn't misplaced. But Peder, somehow, like the girls, he's in the story without really being in the story, I just didn't feel the connection between him and Miri as I did before, even if he steps in at the right times for her.

As for new character Timon, yeah, I know Hale has a tough balancing job, he can't be way better than Peder, but he can't be much worse either. It works at first just because the story requires Miri to spend time with Timon while Peder's off doing his own thing, but the resolution between Miri and Timon I felt really weak. And Miri herself, yeah she grows as a character and learns something about the kings, the history, the politics of Danland. But in Princess Academy, her growth is only part of the story, her community of Mount Eskel also grows. Palace of Stone, maybe because the story is so familiar to me already, I didn't feel the same way about what happens with the royal family, with Asland, with Danland.

I think I would've liked Palace of Stone way more if it wasn't the sequel to Princess Academy. It's just too different of a book from the original, without any of the charm, and the changed tone and writing style felt very jarring. I guess Palace of Stone is a good book, just not a good sequel for Princess Academy.
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Comments (showing 1-7)

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Mitch Yup, I was reading this with my sister, she's a huge fan of the first book and constantly rereading it, but we were both surprised at how different this is. The ending is good though.

message 6: by Mitch (last edited Sep 22, 2012 03:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mitch Rida wrote: "Ha, I'll have to get back to you on the ending. I'm not quite there yet. ;)"

I was really surprised, even though it sort of contradicts the last book (view spoiler) it totally works for her character development after all that's happened.

Hmmm, the more I think about it, I really do think I'd have enjoyed this much more as a standalone.

Brittany Agreed that PALACE had a totally different feel. I would have a hard time recommending to a young tween as a duo set. I think it's for an older audience than PRINCESS ACADEMY was.

Shelby Incognito I completely agree. It didn't feel like Shannon Hale. And this book did remind me of Les Miserables. That was my first thought as soon as the revolution was mentioned.

Mitch Shelby wrote: "I completely agree. It didn't feel like Shannon Hale. And this book did remind me of Les Miserables. That was my first thought as soon as the revolution was mentioned."

Thanks. And I see that's your picture too. Very appropriate.

Alexa ok u people r just friggan mean im 15 almost 16 and i love the first one and this on i read the first chapter online and i cant wait to read the full book im trying to get it online but i cant seem to find the full book online so stop being mean shes a great write

Mitch Uh none of us are being mean. We're just discussing how we feel this particular book hasn't lived up to the quality of her past books. Hale is a great writer, in fact, I gave the book 3 stars, which means I liked it.

P.S. The full book is on Amazon, Kobo, and lots of sites where ebooks are sold.

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