Friday, August 24, 2012
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
My Rating: *****
This is a reread for me, since the sequel is coming out (hooray!) and I wanted to make sure I was up on my Princess Academy world for that. And, since I've never mentioned it on my book blog, I figured I'd give a quick blurb.
If you have yet to discover the magic of Shannon Hale's fantasy novels, Princess Academy is the perfect place to start. Therefore, get thee to a bookstore. Just buy it. It's a beautiful addition to any library and one of my favorite stories.
The writing is beautiful and in Shannon Hale's trademark poetic style. Her similes and metaphors and to-die-for gorgeous. Her magic system is subtle and powerful. Her characters, perfect in their completely human imperfections. Watching Miri come into her own and discover herself, her talents, her past, her own little romance - it all makes me want to cheer, jump up and down, and hug her. The whole story is thing of sheer beauty.
Read it. You will love it. Then follow up with her Books of Bayern: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born. And don't forget Book of a Thousand Days, another of my all-time favorites.
I can't wait to read Palace of Stone!
Which cover do you prefer? I love the first but I own the second, a fact I've always lamented until now because at least my cover will match the Palace of Stone cover (except not perfectly because they came out with another Princess Academy cover where the model matches the model for Palace of Stone)