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Princess Academy: Palace of Stone (Princess Academy 2) Paperback – 6 Jun 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408834901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408834909
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Shannon Hale's books reignite my love of reading - that joy of having the time of my life with a great story (Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series)

Shannon Hale writes deft, lyrical wonderful fantasy (Holly Black)

A fine follow-up to a novel that already felt complete (Publishers Weekly 2012-08-20)

Powerful and deeply engaging . . . Miri's story comes to a satisfying end; readers who have been waiting [for this sequel] will find their patience well rewarded (Kirkus Reviews 2012-08-01)

Book Description

The New York Times bestselling sequel to the Newbery-Honor-winning Princess Academy continues the compelling fantasy by an author to compare with Cornelia Funke and Eva Ibbotson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
A princess has been selected, and all the other girls have gone back to their homes. The end? They lived happily ever after?

Well... not exactly. "Princess Academy: Palace of Stone" picks up where Shannon Hale's first enchanting tale of potential princesshood left off, now with a darker French Revolution-inspired twist. The plot is a bit scattered at times, shifting from rising unrest to the romantic travails of Miri, but it's a powerful little fantasy story with a heroine that is impossible to not like.

All the girls of Mount Eskel are summoned to the palace, so they can attend to Britta before her wedding next spring. But upon arriving, Miri realizes that things aren't going well for Britta's future in-laws -- all the other provinces send mocking tributes, and a person claiming to represent the "shoeless" tries to murder the king. A revolution is brewing because of the king's high taxes, among the poor and rich alike.

And Miri quickly discovers that the people of Asland are not fond of the Mount Eskel people. Though she lives in luxury and attends a fine university, everyone sees her as a bumpkin who is lower than the servants.

Before long she finds herself suspended between the royals and the rebels -- she loves and supports Britta, but she also realizes what the king's callous indifference has done to his country. But when the rebel leaflets start stirring up hatred of Britta -- using Miri's innocent words against her -- Miri realizes that both sides are acting with cruelty she can't support. But how can a humble girl from Mount Eskel stop a revolution?

Writing a sequel to "Princess Academy" is a pretty gutsy move on Shannon Hale's part -- after all, it won the coveted Newbery Award.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved the first, read it about 20 times! The second is perfectly written and I am anticipating the third! Great teen read.
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l enjoyed the story line and how the characters grew in the story and how the author describes the world they are in.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 185 reviews
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing ... But not bad 31 Oct. 2012
By Bridget A. Whelan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm re-posting this from my Goodreads account. I reviewed the book there, but wanted to share my thoughts here, too.

I finished this book some time ago and waited awhile before deciding to leave a review. I've been debating with myself whether or not my expectations were too high. PRINCESS ACADEMY is probably one of my all-time favorite books, and Shannon Hale is absolutely one of my favorite authors.

Let's put it this way: If this were a debut novel by a new author, I would probably give it four stars. Pretty good effort, and so much YA fiction published recently is not that great. A lot of it is over-hyped, primarily because booksellers have discovered that YA is a booming market, and terrible books like The Twilight Saga have done shockingly well, while "pretty good" books like The Hunger Games have practically smashed records.

But this is a Shannon Hale book, and the sequel to a Newbery Honor book. At best, it's a two star read. But I can't bring myself to give a Shannon Hale book two stars. She's too amazing a writer for that. So three stars it is.

I follow Ms. Hale on Twitter (being the perhaps slightly obsessed and devoted fan that I am) and saw her tweeting countless times about how much she shaved off from her original draft. Well, maybe this knowledge colored my reading of the book, but this really showed. The transitions between scenes are lightning fast and often make very little sense. The atmosphere of the city is NEVER explored, not in the way Miri's village or the academy was. I have no idea what the city is like, other than "generic fantasy novel city."

Characters are not given time to develop. There is a tutor who was basically as fleshed out as the wallpaper in Miri's new classroom. A revolutionary turns out to be a "bad" woman. A new love interest turns out to be a rascal. I didn't particular care when these two revealed their true colors because they didn't really have any colors to begin with.

And yes, you saw that right. A love interest. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to see PALACE OF STONE succumb to the Twilight and Hunger Games obsession with love triangles. I ALMOST stopped reading the book. And no, it was not a well-written triangle. Might I also add that Miri and Peder's friendship basically transitions from "friends who are shyly interested in one another" (Princess Academy) to "okay, I think we're engaged" (Palace of Stone). This is incredibly frustrating to the reader. How did this come about? Very little of their friendship/relationship is actually IN the book. As soon as they arrive in the city, Peder returns to his apprenticeship and is practically never heard from again. Miri visits him once or twice, but these scenes are not memorable. The same goes for her friendships with her fellow princess academy graduates. One girl basically "turns bad" for no particular reason at the very end of the book. Katar's anger is diminished, rendering her lifeless and dull. Gerti disappears. Frid disappears. Esa disappears. Britta -now an actual princess, and apparently Miri's best friend (since when...?)- also disappears. Prince Stefan... who's that?

The theme of revolution is rushed (why are the "shoeless" angry? TAXES! And...? And...?) and poorly, almost ridiculously, resolved. I finished and actually felt as if it tainted my experience with PRINCESS ACADEMY.

I cannot really recommend this book. I recommend all of Hale's other masterpieces: PRINCESS ACADEMY, BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS, GOOSE GIRL. I'm certain this one was just a dud... Ms. Hale herself said she had been reluctant for a long time to write a sequel to PA. (FYI: I think sequels may just not be right for her wonderful narratives. The book that follows GOOSE GIRL has been equally difficult for me to get through. Some of the magic has just been... lost.)

I hope this review can be helpful to someone considering reading the book, and I hope I've explained why I didn't care for it, but that my esteem for Shannon Hale remains strong. A disappointment is just that: a disappointment.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Good despite the disappointments 13 Oct. 2012
By OpenBookSociety dot com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie

Spoiler Alert!

Synopsis:

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. (Goodreads)

Review:

I guess Palace of Stone could be called pretty good. It's disappointing though, especially if you've just finished reading Princess Academy. You might want a good year or so before reading Palace of Stone if you loved Princess Academy to pieces. I think Palace of Stone is a great book, but it's just nowhere close to Princess Academy. I guess there's nothing else to say about my feelings now.

I absolutely hated the love triangle. Shannon Hale had so much freedom when writing Palace of Stone, yet she just had to put in a love triangle! It's pretty obvious that Miri would choose Peder; that happens in every single novel. However, if Miri really had chosen Timon, I wouldn't have anything to complain about. Don't get me wrong, Peder is the perfect boy. It's just that when you have a perfect boy, there's really no need for a love triangle.

I feel like Miri's not as strong of a character anymore. In Princess Academy, Miri came to be a strong character. She really developed and became a heroine. In Palace of Stone, Miri's nowhere near as strong. She still strong in terms when compared to other protagonists, but that doesn't cut it. She's annoyingly clingy and underwhelming. She doesn't have the right mindset to solving all the problems. She's just not as great of a character anymore.

However, I did love all the elements with the linder and Britta and the magical touches that are only in Shannon Hale's books. It's nice to read about Mount Eskel again, no matter how morphed the plot is. I missed Peder a lot, and I guess the romance wasn't too bad. You have to keep in mind the words "too bad," though. It's not as if I love Peder's inability to express his feelings for Miri. Another thing to keep in mind is that Katar, Gerti, Esa and Liana aren't really in the story. They're blank characters for you to remember, and that's about it.

I really hate giving Shannon Hale a bad review. It hurts a lot, but I feel as if Palace of Stone deserves it. It's not cool how it's a step down from Princess Academy, but I guess that's partly my fault that I'm a picky reader. I just really hope that Peder and Miri's next adventure is more exciting than the one they just had. I miss them already.

This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Very sweet 21 Aug. 2012
By S. Power - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Palace of Stone is the sequel to Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. This book follows Miri as she heads to the palace to study in the university there. While there she learns that things are not as good in the kingdom as she initially thought. The people are upset by the selfishness of the royal family and begin a call for revolution. Will Miri be able to save her friend the new princess while also changing what is wrong about their kingdom?

This book like Princess Academy was perfect. It's politics and philosophy inside a pretty package with a sweet heroine who wants the best for everyone. I tore through this book always excited to see what was next while reveling in the magical world.

Appropriateness: This is a sweet book that will appeal to a broad audience. It is written for the middle grade audience (10-14) but is interesting and deep enough for older readers if they can get past the title of the book. The romance is sweet and innocent, nothing that would turn off young readers. I would recommend this book to readers 10+
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Lovely Sequel 4 Jan. 2013
By Rachael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Miri heads to the palace to attend University along with the other members of the Princess Academy, and lovable Peder. Soon she realizes that things in Ashland are not what they seemed from the mountain. The country is in turmoil as the royal family and rich members of society are selfish and luxurious, while the majority of the population is poor and hungry. Talk of revolution surrounds the land, with Miri right in the middle of it. She gets thrown into a radical group that is willing to reform their government by force, even if it means putting the royal family in mortal peril. She wants the best for everyone, but can she save her best friend, now the princess, while also changing the corrupt kingdom?

This book is brilliantly done. Shannon Hale has written a sequel that is unique and original from Princess Academy, while keeping the magic alive.

Unfortunately, you don't see much of the other members of the princess academy, like Gerti, Frid, or Esa. Miri's relationship with Peder stays as it was in Princess Academy, meaning Peder is still keeping quiet about his feelings for Miri, while she is left doubting his affection for her.

You do, however, get a whole new cast of characters, including a boy who, unlike Peder, is outgoing about his feelings for Miri, creating a minor love triangle.

I think that this sequel is slightly more mature than Princess Academy. Instead of worrying about who's going to be the academy princess, or the Prince's choice, there's more at stake. Now, it's about the politics of the country, and how a few wrong words could put someone's life in serious danger.

This book would still be enjoyed by younger readers, but I think it is geared more toward middle grade audience (9-14). It would be a great transition book from younger stories to more advanced literature.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Shannon Hale did it again! She created a book that is magical and thrilling enough to captivate readers young and old.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Timeless fairy tale 13 Jun. 2015
By Shae Has Left the Room - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Originally reviewed at http://www.shaelit.com/2012/09/review-palace-of-stone-by-shannon-hale/

This may seem anti-American (I kid… mostly), but I usually abhor revolutionary plots. I really do. I think of the real-life French Revolution and my insides get all twisted. In a revolution, emotions run high and patience wears thin. Everyone always believes they’re doing what’s right, but what’s right varies from person to person. And sometimes figuring out what’s right falls by the wayside as people try to fix what they perceive to be wrong… or to seize power for themselves.

Miri, spunky thing that she is, manages to land herself in the heart of the revolution. It’s partly by luck and partly by plot, for she’s sent by the Mt. Eskel delegate to ferret out whose side Mount Eskel should take in case things go wrong. Choose the losing side, and all of Mount Eskel suffers.
So Miri plunges in headfirst, befriending those key to the movement, such as Lady Siesel and Timon, a particularly handsome young lad. Now, being a Peder fan and an anti-revolution reader (or at least an anti-twisty-stomach reader), my instinct was to push Timon off the side of Mount Eskel and be done with it. But, as always, Ms. Hale makes her characters just as they need to be. Timon is intelligent, passionate, and demonstratively interested in Miri, whereas quiet Peder hasn’t even spoken to Miri of betrothal, though she’s at the customary age. I can’t say Timon was my favorite character, but Peder didn’t help his cause any, and Miri was her normal, level-headed self. No Bella nonsense here.

Despite my hesitations over the different tensions in the novel (the romantic conflict, the possible revolution, the weight of various expectations placed on Miri), I found this book to be a refreshing change of pace from the normal grit that coats YA novels. You know what I mean. So many YA novels are all, “Yah! I’m YA! I’m real! I’m gritty! I have purposely sharp and crackling details that Make. You. Feel. So. Pumped!”

Both Princess Academy and Palace of Stone, however, have the wonderfully comforting feel of being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a cup of cocoa. It’s a fairy tale. It may set my heart to racing (it did) and my stomach to twisting (it did), but I knew everything would be okay. The bad guys weren’t really so bad, and not all the good guys were really so good. The only way I can explain it is that it felt like the story and the characters were gently being smoothed, rubbed soft like the edges on one of Peder’s sculptures, and I liked it. It made me feel like I was gliding, if that makes sense. It felt innocent. It felt timeless.

Maybe some of the resolutions were too simplistic. Maybe the characters didn’t have enough of the surprising, jagged edges that YA readers have become accustomed to. I didn’t really care. You may keep your cynical, pulsing books for the moment. I’m happy in my fairy tale where love is certain, where home means something special, and where stone sings.

Points Added For: The utterly clever Miri, the heroine not always making the expected or politically correct choice at first (watch for the ocean and the painting), hope and optimism, fairy tales, the songs at the beginning of each chapter.

Points Subtracted For: Miri is a bit dense at times (even if she is clever).

Good For Fans Of: Fairy tales, younger YA tales (as opposed to mature, “gritty” YA), Shannon Hale books.

Notes For Parents: There’s an assassination plot and the various talk of violence that goes along with all that, but otherwise this book is pretty tame.

Disclaimer: I won a free ARC from Bloomsbury in a Twitter contest.
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