Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life....
Princess Anidori-Kiladra of Kildenree was born with a word on her tongue, and a secret magic....
When Lady Saren defies her father’s command to marry the vicious Lord Khasar, she is sealed in a tower with only her serving maid, Dashti, for company....
Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing....
Here is the timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world's favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family....
For 12-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation....
Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land - and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere....
"I'm going to believe in magic as hard as I can," said Gerald firmly when they found the beautiful garden with its lake, its yew hedges, and its roses...
Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this virtuosic, genre-defying tour de force from storytelling maestro Pam Muñoz Ryan....
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been forced into a life of crime....
Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil....
In all of Tyme, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine....
New York Times best-selling author Robin McKinley has won numerous awards for her writing, including the prestigious Newbery Medal....
Life is boring when you live in the real world instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world's homework and chores....
Visit the magical animal world of Brian Jacques in this thrilling prequel to Redwall....
Every year the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch is kind and gentle....
Avi’s swashbuckling tale of murder and mutiny on the high seas has a fascinating twist: the heroine is a 13-year-old girl.....
Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates....
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding. There, Miri also has a chance to attend school - at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans.
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 looks to find her own way in this new place.
Picking up where Princess Academy left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for.
4.5 stars. Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Palace of Stone is a sequel to Shannon Hale’s excellent Newbery Honor-winning Middle Grade novel Princess Academy. You’ll definitely want to read Princess Academy first, and to avoid spoilers, you should read it before you read this review. So, if you haven’t read Princess Academy yet, go away and read it now. (Then come back, please.)
In Princess Academy, we met the poor hard-working uneducated families of Mount Eskel who survive by mining and carving linder, a valuable type of stone that they export to lowlanders. Their culture was changed when it was determined by lowlander priests that the next princess should come from Mount Eskel. To get the girls up to snuff, a “Princess Academy” was formed and all eligible Mount Eskel girls were enrolled.
(Here’s where spoilers for Princes Academy start. I hope those of you who haven’t read it yet are gone!)
Miri was one of the candidates for princess, but she wasn’t chosen by Prince Steffan. However, she did learn to read and write, to do math, and she learned a lot about commerce. She used her knowledge to help her village negotiate better trading terms for their linder, and Mount Eskel has prospered.
In Palace of Stone, Miri is invited by her friend Britta (the girl who was chosen to be princess) to come to the capital city and attend school at the Queen’s Castle. Peder, the boy she hopes to marry, will also be going to the capital to begin an apprenticeship with a master stone carver. As Miri travels to the city, she realizes that she is ignorant and rustic, and she’s worried about how she’ll represent her community. When she arrives, she not only experiences culture shock, but she discovers right away that the city is in a state of unrest and there are rumors of revolution. Soon she meets a boy named Timon who is eager to enlist Miri in the rebels’ cause. Miri is torn because the princess is her dear friend, yet she sees that the King and his nobles have been unjust as they lord it over the commoners and demand taxes and tributes that leave the people destitute.
Fortunately, Miri is studying history and ethics at her new school and her position as a student and a friend to both the princess and the rebels will give her the perfect chance to practice what she is learning. The problem is that this is not just an academic exercise. Peoples’ lives are at stake. If Miri speaks up, she endangers herself, the princess, many friends, and her community back home in Mount Eskel. It’s a weighty challenge for a teenager.
There’s a touch of romance in Palace of Stone, too, including a love triangle for Miri. She always thought she’d marry Peder, the sweet solid boy who just wants to learn to be a master carver and go back home to live on the mountain. He represents home for Miri. But Timon, who is kind, educated, well-traveled, and wants to make the world a better place, is equally appealing. Miri is torn between these two boys just as she is torn between her love of her mountain home and her desire to see and change the world. Miri’s romantic struggle is sweet and realistic but, while it takes up a lot of Miri’s thoughts, it’s (fortunately) not the focus of the plot.
Palace of Stone is an excellent Middle Grade story that will be enjoyed by both boys and girls, and by adults, too. It features strong female characters who make good role models for teenage girls. As with the first book, the value of education is emphasized while the importance of the usual “princess” qualities — especially beauty and femininity — are down-played. Even the importance of intelligence and wit is de-emphasized. Miri asks knowledgeable adults for advice and she struggles to solve problems by applying the lessons she has learned in school, especially from her studies of history and ethics. She worries about the ramifications of her actions and is not always courageous. She realizes that her motives, ethical standards, and feelings of bravery change depending on whether it is strangers or the people she loves who are suffering. Miri spends her time thinking about all these things rather than worrying about how her hair looks or what she’s going to wear.
Palace of Stone is an exciting and thoughtful story which I’ll be passing on to my young daughters. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I listened to the audio version produced by AudioGo and Full Cast Audio. It was narrated by Cynthia Bishop and a cast of performers. This was a wonderful 8-hour production and even included music and singing. I highly recommend it.
The Forgotten Sisters, the third PRINCESS ACADEMY book, comes out in a couple of weeks. You can be sure that I’ll be reviewing it soon.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I began with the first Princess Academy book and I loved it. Overall, Shannon Hale, with her other books (Enna Burning) is a great author.
The second book is a nice continuation of the first.
-I enjoyed the cute narration and musical quality that comes with Shannon Hale's audiobooks. The whole thing is a sensory experience and drew me into the story. I enjoy Full-Cast audio, multiple voices and sound effects. If you do too, then you will probably like this version.
-Cynthia Bishop, the narrator, emphasizes in the right places and shows that she really understands what she is reading.
-Teaches good morals for young girls (there is talk of muscles and dancing and kissing, so take that into consideration before letting young girls listen to this : ) *
-At times, the story felt boring. There is action, but it felt a little forced and I was left wanting more.
-Sometimes the music in the beginning was a little cheesy, even for me, because the songs at the beginning of some chapters sounded almost ridiculous (like someone imitating an Adam Sandler's Opera Man!)
-Many times when I thought the story would end, it kept going, as if the author couldn't decide on how to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion.
Overall, this was not Hale's best book (try Enna Burning), but it will not stop me from listening to her other titles. I enjoy the light-hearted purity of all of her stories. *It would be great for 6th graders to listen to.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Maybe a child wouldn't mind the terrible, stilted performances of the various voice actors...
Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved Miri, as always. She is smart and real.
How could the performance have been better?
Let one person, an actual actor or voice-over actor, do the reading!!!! The people doing the various voices were so wooden and bad that I finally had to stop listening and just check the book out at the library.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
The book was great. Shannon Hale never disappoints. However, the reading performance made me more and more irritated, to the point that I couldn't stand to listen another minute.
Any additional comments?
I LOVE Shannon Hale and I love most audiobooks. But this recording was almost as bad as listening to Lemony Snicket read his own books--in other words, unpalatable!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I love it👍❕😍
Easy to read
I read it in a day
I like the other books in the series
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Oh I am given more space hear good,anyway.This book has taught me things I will never forget . I love the relationships Mery experienced and the fears and problems she faced. I could not stop listening. this book was frightful, encouraging, pushing to get its thoughts out, never have I experienced such romance, and the jokes were divine, you do like my large vocabulary I've been working on it, but that's not the point. A book so he as this should be honored and set to be read, and yes reading is an honorable thing. I really liked the letters and my only complaint is that they didn't do the hole betrothal thing in front of the king. I really hope I not completely screw up this review thing and thank you Shannon Hale fore writing your books and the appreciation of books inside this book it was touching, man I really seem to like books whare the authers name starts with Shannon. Now since I've been writing to long and must end I will now end...
I love this book! so many funny parts and so many intense parts:) I would tell anyone it read it:)
This book is awesome series is very well written and read enjoyed it all love to hear more
I really enjoy the story but it really bothered me that they changed the cast.
Miri is brave and wonderful like the book. I will enjoy the very next series!!!
I really enjoyed this book. I've read all of Shannon Hale's books and have enjoyed almost all of them. I particularly like alternative forms of magic and quarry speech feels like one of those. Who would have thought that up? Not me. Anyway, I enjoyed the ethical and governmental questions as well as the love interests in this book. I thought it ended well and wonder if there will be another. I think this book could easily stand alone, but it would probably be best to read Princess Academy first. I also thought it was interesting how much power quarry speech had in the palace as well as other interesting effects on those who live there. Interesting and fun. All of Shannon Hale's books are clean. The children's books are very clean. That is a relief to those of us who worry about the books available to children everywhere. If you enjoy light fantasy written for the young and young at heart, you will probably enjoy this book.