Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Audience: Grades 5-8
Review Copy: Digital ARC from NetGalley
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Description from Goodreads: Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself 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. Picking up where "Princess Academy " left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.
Review: Miri once again shows her strength as a young girl looking for her place in the world. She feels called to go beyond her small mountain village to learn more even while knowing it will be hard to be away from her family. She is excited about visiting a bustling city and meeting people, but doesn't realize that she is stepping into a palace filled with intrigue and danger. Miri discovers that there is a revolution brewing and she is faced with many complex choices. I appreciated Miri's courage and the honest questioning she engages in as she tries to understand what it is she wants in life and where her loyalties lie.
Palace of Stone builds on the original Princess Academy so is ideally read in sequence, but it would be completely accessible and enjoyable on its own. I highly recommend this book for those interested in fantasy and books about friendship.