Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (Princess Academy bk 2)

Normally, I like Shannon Hale's characters and the development they go through. Miri does change in this novel but it seems superficial. Princess Academy (book 1) has each girl character from the academy overcome some handicap, whether it is physical or emotional, but in this one they just exist as props for the most part. The villains are one dimensional and the characters lack the depth I normally see in Hale's books. That said, I know kids will enjoy the reading this sequel even if I found it disappointing.

Miri travels with the girls from the academy to help Princess Britta with her wedding. She goes to school and learns different subjects while becoming embroiled in a plot to overthrow the king. The people are being taxed too much and starving. When Britta becomes the target of an assassin, Miri realizes that she caused part of the problem and must help right a wrong. 

This story has quite a bit of romance with Timon, a scholar in the court, who has a crush on Miri. He seeks her out along with a group of rebels interested in overthrowing the king. This part of the plot seemed rushed and the characters too googly-eyed over Miri, especially the lady. Later it becomes clear why but it rang false with me, but not with Miri. In hindsight, the author probably did this intentionally but it turned me off to the story. I needed more tension and suspicion from Miri or hints of duplicity from others. There wasn't enough intrigue that comes with political dissension. The resolution with Timon seemed rushed too. He was a major character and I expected more depth in his comments rather than less. Peder frustrated me too. He literally sits and whittles wood on the sidelines and is usually too tired to talk. He could have played a bigger part in the love triangle to create more tension.

Shannon Hale is a good writer and I have high expectations when I read her books. This just wasn't her best effort. 

Reading Level 6.0
3 out of 5 Smileys

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