Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale



PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale



Review by Emily, Head Mama of DCR
My other blog: Whimsy Books



I believe Princess Academy was my first experience with Shannon Hale's books. I expected a typical novel about a normal girl who falls in love with a prince, becomes a princess, and lives happily ever after. I was wrong.



What I discovered, instead, was something fresh and unique, something different than all the other princess books I had ever read.



Miri wishes to be helpful in her small mountain community, but her father will not let her work. Miri assumes it is because she is so small. The people of her community work very hard in the quarries to make a meager living.



Soon, their whole world is turned upside-down. The king's priests determine that the prince's bride will come from their little town of Mount Eskel. All eligible girls are sent down the mountain to a makeshift princess academy, where they are to learn how to become princesses. At the end of their training, the prince will choose a bride from among them.



Miri has mixed feelings about the whole thing. Does she want to be the princess? Fierce competition ensues, but Miri is still battling with herself as well. At the academy, Miri finds herself, and, at the same time, is able to save the girls and the whole village.



I think what makes Princess Academy so different is the setting. A beautiful world of light fantasy that feels completely realistic. You won't find mystical creatures in Princess Academy, but you will find magic, magic that stems from the people of Mount Eskel and the mountain itself.



Miri is a well-developed strong female character. She is small in size, named after a tiny mountain flower, but big in heart and inner strength. Her relationships with her father, a mountain boy, her best friend, and the prince are complex and realistic.



I recommend this Newbery-honor book to readers of all ages. It was a pleasant surprise for me, and I have become the kind of fan that reads each new Shannon Hale title as soon as it is released.



PS...Don't forget to leave a comment on any (or all) of the Shannon Hale posts to be entered into the drawing for one of two signed Shannon Hale books!

PSS...We'll be posting the interview tomorrow. See you then!

16 Comments:

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I'll be checking out this book for my neice for Christmas!

Sarah said...

I love this book!
I've read it more than once. :)

jtcosby said...

I read this one first and then moved on to Goose Girl and the rest of the Goose Girl series. Shannon Hale is a VERY talented author and I would love to win one of her signed books!!

Laura said...

I love Sannon Hale's work. She makes the the worlds she creates and the inhabitants there really come alive. Princess Academy was one of my favorites!

Erin said...

This is such an adorable book! I read it for the first time when I was 14, just like the main character. Such perfect timing!

Becky said...

This was my first Shannon Hale read too. :) I really just love getting lost in the worlds she creates. She's great at setting the atmosphere, and her characters....there's just so much to love about Hale.

suprsonic07@wmconnect.com said...

I am going to read this one soon! I love to read a newberry honor book, and can't wait to dig into this one.

Allana: DCR Reviewer

aBookworm said...

Forget the kids, it sounds like something I'd like to read :)

Miss S. said...

I read this after the Bayern books and loved it just as much. She does such a great job with characters and setting--I'm always imagining myself as one of the main characters. :)

All8 said...

I put this book on hold. Can't wait to read it.

Hyperbolypses said...

I have not read this book, but I do believe it will be fantastic. I look forward to delving into it with as much ferver as i did with any of the Harry Potter or Twilight books.

Sarah or someone like her said...

I am in love with this book. I just ate it up when I read it. SH is a fantabulous author and her books are so easy to become absorbed in!

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I am adding this one to my list!

Anidori-Isilee said...

I love this book so much. It's sweet and comforting and so special and totally deserves the Newbery Honor (which goes better with the cover than the Medal). ;)

Framed said...

This is my favorite of Hale's work which I could never have imagined after I read The Goose Girl. She just continually delights me.

Petunia said...

My daughter earned this book from a summer reading program but neither of us has read it yet. I guess I'll have to give it a shot now.

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