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Princess Academy

March 8, 2009

Princess AcademyMiri, a young “mountain girl” from Mount Eskel, a remote mountainous region of Danland, lives with her father and older sister. She has always dreamed of working at the quarries like her other family members, but instead her father insists that she stay behind to tend to the home. Miri’s world is turned upside down one day when it is announced that the future princess of Danland will be picked from one of Mount Eskel girls. Suddenly, Miri and twenty other village girls find themselves in an academy set up to teach them about royal life. Run by the very harsh Tudor Olana, Miri is having a hard time adjusting to life outside of her mountain village. She is shunned by some of the other girls after getting everyone in trouble (even though her intentions were good) and is beginning to have conflicting feelings about possibly becoming the future princess. When the girls in the academy find themselves in terrible danger, it’s up to Miri to use her intelligence and wit to save them all.

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale is one of those feel good stories in which the heroine, at first an unassuming girl, rises up in the face of adversity to defend herself, her friends and her beliefs. Miri is a lovely role model to read about. She is strong, intelligent, selfless and caring and is one of those characters that everyone roots for. Miri’s character is well-developed, as are most of the other characters in the book. This seems to be Hale’s strong point. Along with interesting characters, there were even a couple little plot twists towards the end that had me surprised.

I read and enjoyed Hale’s novel The Goose Girl last year (you can see my review here) so I was not surprised to find The Princess Academy just as delightful. What I was surprised to find out was that I had the same issue with both books – a leisurely plot development. From my review of  The Goose Girl:

Hale writes in the Q&A at the back of the book the following “I’m so impressed with writers who grip the reader from the very beginning, but I can’t seem to do it. I’m cursed to have to build a story slowly, it seems.” This would be my only minor quibble with The Goose Girl, the fact that it took me a while to really get into the story. Once I got through the first quarter though, I was totally hooked.

Yep, I did initially have a hard time getting into both books, but once I settled down with the stories I was hooked.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2009 3:26 pm

    One of my favorite books of all time! I love Shannon Hale. Great review!

  2. March 8, 2009 9:12 pm

    I had a little trouble with the slow pace, too, but once I got into the book I loved it. So far, I think my favorite Shannon Hale book is Austenland. I just loved that book.

  3. March 9, 2009 1:34 am

    My mom works at a library and bought this book after she proscessed it. I’m so glad she did. I loved it.

  4. March 9, 2009 7:28 am

    I loved this book. It was the first Hale I read. I had to go buy it. 🙂

  5. March 9, 2009 11:20 am

    I really need to get around to reading some of Hale’s books! This one sounds really good too 🙂

  6. March 9, 2009 1:30 pm

    Bookfool – I agree, Austenland is a great read!
    Ladytink – Hale is a really great writer and I would highly recommend reading her books.

  7. March 10, 2009 9:56 pm

    Great review! This one has been on my radar for a while. I enjoyed The Goose Girl, although, as you said, it was slow to start.

  8. March 10, 2009 11:44 pm

    My favorites are Princess Academy, Goose Girl and Book of A Thousand Days.

  9. March 29, 2009 8:25 am

    I bought this book at the school’s book fair last month. I just read it and really liked it. I really like Shannon Hale’s books.

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