Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
When Miri and five other graduates of the princess academy are invited to the capital to help the princess prepare for her wedding, Miri's thoughts are conflicted.

To finally see and live in Asland and attend the university there seem like a dream come true for Miri. What a privilege to live in the castle with princess-to-be Britta, her best friend. And Peder, Miri’s “almost” betrothed, is to accompany the group for his apprenticeship to an artisan.

But Miri’s beloved home, Mount Eskel, is never far from her thoughts as she embarks on this new adventure. The grand city of Asland fascinates and terrifies her, but she soon acclimates and immerses herself in her studies.

Whispers of a revolution against the king and his court (including the unpopular but misunderstood Britta) intensify, and Miri becomes secretly embroiled in the conflict. The “shoeless” (poor and hungry) of the kingdom plan to murder their indifferent leaders and establish a new government. Miri’s heart is torn between the mistreated citizens and her role as a lady-in-waiting of the court.

I thought this sequel to Princess Academy was really terrific. Many important themes are addressed—loyalty to friends, romantic love, hunger and poverty, education and keeping records, revolution for change, and home and family.

Hale’s writing is as beautiful as ever; I especially enjoyed the lines of poetry that open each chapter. Abby was dying to meet her and in September we were able to get to Barnes & Noble for her book signing, which included a Q & A and was really interesting!

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