Title: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
I will begin this review by saying that one truly must read its predecessor, Princess Academy—not for the mere reason that this novel would make no sense to the reader otherwise, but simply for the merits of the first tale of Miri and her mountain. Princess Academy is one of my all-time favorites, a book I hope to soon have sitting upon my own library shelves. And Palace of Stone is not far behind.
I had prepared myself for disappointment when I found this sequel to a beloved tale, due to the fact that a good number of sequels are so far set apart from the grand beginning. I had recently experienced one of those emotional rollercoasters of anticipation followed by dissatisfaction and did not like to take the ride all over again. But here was a sequel to one of my favorite stories, so I would have to be an idiot not to at least pick it up. I was rewarded both for my reluctance and hope by this delightful read.
This second adventure in the life of Miri, the girl from Mount Eskel—the place where the linder stone sings and the goats bleat and the mountain remembers—unfolded cautiously, like the first flower after the frost, but what a beautiful bloom it made. I cannot, I think, say with any justice that Palace of Stone was quite as good as Princess Academy, but it was certainly a splendid read and a worthy heir. (Aside: Mrs. Hale has me speaking rather metaphorically at the moment. My pardons.) Whereas PA was more a tale of adventure and friendship, PoS was one of intrigue and finding home.
Hale’s works never fail to inspire her reader with the scents of the country, the openness of the skies, the closeness of a forest, or the magic of a language unknown.
Truly, I wish I had more to say, but on the account of this being a sequel—and a beautiful tale—I hate to give anything of the story away. So, I suppose, let it be known that Shannon Hale’s latest novel is a work of art with the tapping rhythm of her verse and the lyrical sweetness of her prose. It carries with it that simple beauty and homely grace and expectant hope which gives a tale warmth and heart and life.
In short, I highly recommend this book—that is, to those who have read Princess Academy. And if you have not then…what are you waiting for?